Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It causes damage to the cartilage that covers and protects the bones in your joints. Fully intact cartilage acts as a type of lubricant, allowing the bones to slide against each other while absorbing the shock of motion.
The cartilage in someone with osteoporosis has begun to wear away, causing the bones to create friction and pain while rubbing together. This type of stress on the joints causes swelling, change in the shape of joints, bone spurs, and loss of motion. It is also possible for small fragments of the joint or bone to break off and “float” in the joint space, which causes more pain and joint damage. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, which means it continues to worsen over time.
The pain of osteoarthritis can be severe, especially in the weight bearing joints, such as the knees and hips. Arthritis stricken joints also seem to react negatively to rainy weather and extreme cold temperatures. Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and eating healthier, may help to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis. Although these methods help to some degree, the most effective method for treating the pain of osteoarthritis is to work with a pain management doctor.
A pain management doctor will suggest the appropriate treatment options for your specific needs and level of pain management required. Some of the treatment options available through a pain management doctor may include:
- Pain medications and physiotherapy, which are the most common forms of treatment for osteoarthritis pain.
- Non-medicinal pain relief techniques, such as light exercise routines to help maintain movement.
- Diet suggestions, especially for those who are overweight, because the excess weight puts more pressure on the hips and knees, which leads to more pain.
- Complementary and alternative therapies, such as using cold/heat or taking supplements like glucosamine, which may increase the ability to move joints more freely.
Arthritis pain management is a constant routine those who have osteoarthritis. Treating the pain of osteoarthritis is based on your individual needs. Your doctor may combine treatments or routinely change treatments, especially as the disease progresses. As time goes on, the pain of your osteoarthritis may become more intense, so it is important that you visit your doctor routinely to maintain your pain management.