Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are not effective treatments for hand or knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new meta-analysis. The drugs are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, but researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) found they were no better than placebo for OA pain. Their findings appeared in June 2018 in Rheumatology.
DMARDs aren’t pain medications. They’re meant to slow the disease and prevent further damage to joints and organs by suppressing inflammation. When DMARDs work, pain usually improves as inflammation gets under control.
Continue reading Disease-Modifying Drugs No Help for OA Pain
If you have osteoarthritis (OA), you know all about joint pain and stiffness. One cause of these symptoms is the fact that hyaluronic acid (HA), a naturally occurring joint lubricant, breaks down in people with OA. To help alleviate the pain, your doctor might recommend treatment with hyaluronic acid injections – sometimes known as gel injections.
What are HA injections?
HA injections replace missing joint lubricant and are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the knees. However, some doctors may use the injections in shoulders and hips as well.
The treatments will most likely take place in your doctor’s office. The HA will be injected directly into the joint. The shots are usually given once a week for three to five weeks, depending on the brand used.
Continue reading Hyaluronic Acid for Osteoarthritis
It is clear that physical activity is one of the best ways to combat osteoarthritis pain—but how important are your shoes, and which should you be wearing?
In addition to traditional treatment methods for OA, which include medication, physical therapy and even surgery, doctors now know that footwear can play an important role in knee OA.
Marian T. Hannan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., has conducted research about foot mechanics and pain in the knee. “It is impressive to think that [footwear] makes a difference,” says Hannan. “Whether it’s their foot or brain or the whole package, it appears to work. As a proof of concept it is very appealing.”
There are a wide variety of shoe options available to consider, including stability sneakers, flat walking shoes, minimalist/barefoot sneakers, and rocker-soled sneakers, and an increasing amount of research that can help you decide which is right for you.
Continue reading Can Your Shoe Choice Help – or Hurt – Your Arthritis?
Studies have shown that racial minorities in the United States undergo fewer total knee replacements (TKR) for knee osteoarthritis (OA) than whites do, but the reasons for this are unclear. A new study sheds light on why fewer black Americans tend to have the surgery – and at what cost. It found that African-Americans are offered the option of TKR in fewer cases than whites are, they accept the option less frequently, and when they do undergo the procedure, they have higher rates of complications. Because of these factors, they lose a large number of what’s called “quality-adjusted life years” or QALYs.
Continue reading More African-Americans Could Benefit from Knee Replacement Surgery
People with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) use oral pain medications more often than nondrug pain treatments, such as physical therapy, knee joint injections and topical creams, according to an analysis of three clinical trials. That’s in spite of guidelines that recommend trying nondrug treatments before medications.
The analysis, which appeared recently in Arthritis Care & Research, looked at trials conducted by researchers at Duke University, the Durham Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all in North Carolina. A total of nearly 1,200 patients ages 61 to 65 participated in the three studies. All participants had knee or hip OA, and most were overweight and treated by a primary care doctor. None got the minimum 150 minutes of physical activity a week recommended for good health.
Continue reading Nondrug Pain Relief Underused for OA
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