This disease can inflict a lot of pain and discomfort on patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), osteoarthritis, commonly known as OA, affects over 30 million American adults. The disease causes pain and stiffness on the weight-bearing joints, which means hips, knees, spine, hands, or parts of the feet. If you have osteoarthritis, you will feel an achy pain in your joints. At Houston Pain Specialist, Dr. Hui Kang offers pain management techniques for osteoarthritis patients improving joint functionality.
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Causes of osteoarthritis
At first, the pain stems from inflammation in the fluid around the joints. Later, pain can occur when the cartridge wears out. Cartilage is the smooth substance at the end of bones that cushions the joints, and when it wears out, the bone is exposed.
Most people experience early morning stiffness or stiffness after not moving around for a while. The pain usually subsides after moving around. At times, the joint can be warm, which can indicate inflammation of the joint.
Treatment of osteoarthritis
Since the main symptom of osteoarthritis is pain, most treatment techniques aim to relieve the pain. However, the treatment that is right for you will depend on how severe your pain is and what methods work best for your body.
Treatments options that involve the use of medication
Acetaminophen is commonly used to treat pain. It is taken with or without food. And it is very safe and effective when taken at appropriate doses. Acetaminophen has the potential for liver damage. So if you have any problems with your liver, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking it regularly. Many other medications contain acetaminophen, especially cold medications. Read all labels carefully to see if anything you are taking contains it. If so, adjust your dose to stay within a safe range and avoid an overdose.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include ibuprofen and Naproxen, which you can purchase over the counter. Unlike acetaminophen, NSAIDs are always taken with food because they can be rough on your stomach and even cause ulcers. They can also increase your blood pressure and have been linked to heart attacks and strokes. So be sure to take the lowest dose for the shortest period possible. If you have kidney problems, be sure to let your healthcare provider know because they can be hard on your kidneys.
There are creams you can apply yourself over the affected area, including numbing agents. Your doctor may also prescribe an injection directly into the joint or the spine, some decrease inflammation and pain, and others cushion and lubricate the joint. Your doctor can help you decide what medication works best for you.
Another option for pain relief is transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS machine). This machine is thought to disrupt the pain cycle by delivering a non-painful sensation to the skin around the pain site.
When used in conjunction with physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the joint, these treatments may allow you to avoid surgery completely or put it off for years. But if none of these interventions are successful for you, surgery may be considered. There are various types of surgeries, depending on the joint, the severity of your osteoarthritis, and your overall health.
See Houston Pain Specialists to learn more about osteoarthritis and schedule an appointment to develop a treatment plan that works for you.