Maybe you overdid it cleaning the house or sprucing up your garden this weekend. Or you’re using a hot or cold pack on your lower back more often over the past few months. Does the pain come and go or seem to be getting worse? Then, it might be time ask your doctor if you have osteoarthritis (OA) in your spine (that runs from the neck to the lower back).
As you age, the cartilage lining the joints of your spine wears down, allowing the bones to rub together, causing back pain and stiffness. Other causes of spinal OA include injury, infection, obesity, or repeated stress (due to some work or sport activities). You’re also more likely to develop back pain related to osteoarthritis if a close relative had it. OA can form in any part of your spine and is sometimes called spondylosis.
But how do you know the difference between run of the mill back pain and osteoarthritis?
Continue reading When A Back or Neck Ache Means You Have OA
One of the benefits of modern medicine is the large selection of pain relievers available. The challenge is finding the right one at the right dose to reduce your osteoarthritis (OA) pain. With so many available, which is the most effective?
Continue reading Which OA Pain Reliever Works Best?
Experts have long recommended tai chi as a low-impact workout that’s gentle on the joints. Research published in 2016 in Annals of Internal Medicine revealed additional benefits: It may be as effective as physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Continue reading Tai Chi for Knee Osteoarthritis
Just 45 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise may help improve or maintain a high level of function for people with osteoarthritis (OA), according to study published online recently in Arthritis Care & Research.
Continue reading Even a Little Exercise Helps Arthritis Pain and Function
Overloaded or unevenly loaded knee joints can cause osteoarthritis (OA), or cause your OA to get worse. Learning how to walk differently may be able to correct the loading problem and reduce your knee pain. This approach is being studied in people with medial, or inner, compartment OA — which is 10 times more common than other forms of knee OA.
Continue reading Change the Way You Walk to Ease Knee Pain with Osteoarthritis
A relatively new treatment for knee osteoarthritis (OA) appears to reduce pain better than traditional corticosteroid injections, according to a study published recently in International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.
Continue reading New Pain Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis Targets Nerves
Traditionally, treatment for osteoarthritis has been limited to relieving pain. Scientists have found hope that drugs used to treat osteoporosis may be useful in treating not only osteoarthritis (OA) pain, but cartilage damage as well.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone tissue breaks down faster than it is replaced, causing the bones to become brittle and prone to fracture. Bisphosphonates, a class of drugs commonly prescribed for osteoporosis, work by inhibiting cells called osteoclasts that break down bone. Researchers believe they may work similarly for OA, by inhibiting the activity of osteoclasts in the bone beneath the cartilage in affected joints.
In animal studies, bisphophonates have shown to reduce OA progression – as measured by the severity of cartilage damage and bony overgrowth – by as much as 30–40%. Continue reading Potential New Treatment for Osteoarthritis
Widely used by doctors to soften forehead wrinkles and reduce uncontrollably sweaty armpits, researchers are exploring botulinum toxin as a potential therapy for osteoarthritis (OA) pain.
“The Botox story is very intriguing,” says David Felson, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine. “It isn’t just muscles. It can paralyze nerves. Just like celebrities injecting it into wrinkles, it could have the same effect on a hip muscle. Botox could paralyze the muscle that is transmitting pain.”
This toxin may eventually be used to treat OA patients whose pain is not sufficiently controlled by traditional medicines like NSAIDs or analgesics, and for patients who may experience adverse effects from those medicines, says Dr. Felson.
Continue reading Studies Suggest Botox May Ease Osteoarthritis Pain
If you have osteoarthritis, surgery is rarely a first resort. There are plenty of things you can do to avoid (or at least postpone) heading into the operating room. Take care of your knees with these solutions.
Weight loss. For many, weight loss is a basic but crucial way to help avoid knee surgery. Shedding just 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half. And should you need arthritis knee surgery later, you’ll decrease your risk of complications and reduce strain on your knees, which will make your rehabilitation go more smoothly.
Physical activity. The health of your knees depends on movement. Strong muscles support the joint and relieve pressure. Movement keeps tissues within the joint flexible, lubricated and replenished with nutrients that help healing. If you end up having knee surgery, the rehab will be easier if you start strengthening muscles before surgery. Walking is a great way to keep your knees healthy and pain free. Learn more about why exercise is so important if you have arthritis and hope to avoid knee surgery, and get some great ideas for maintaining motivation, stretching, safe moves and more.
Braces. Prescribed by a doctor and fitted by a physical therapist, braces can improve the alignment of the knee, relieving pain.
Corticosteroid injections. Knee joint injections help reduce inflammation, which can alleviate pain without causing side effects associated with oral corticosteroids.
Continue reading If You Have Osteoarthritis, Take Care of Your Knees To Avoid Surgery
Focusing on either aerobic conditioning or resistance training – especially moves that target the quadriceps muscles, which help support the knee – is the most effective exercise approach for reducing pain from knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to a 2014 study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Experts have long known that exercise can help reduce pain and improve function for people with knee OA. But what type of exercise is best, and how much, are subject to debate. The new study, an analysis of 48 previously published trials, aimed to provide answers.
Continue reading What is the Best Exercise for Knee OA?