Article Archive >> Senior Life

How to Get Relief from Knee Pain Caused By Osteoarthritis

How to Get Relief from Knee Pain Caused By Osteoarthritis

(ARA)- As more news comes out linking oral pain relievers such as Vioxx and Celebrex to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and others such as Aleve to serious stomach problems, people are looking for alternative therapies for treating osteoarthritis (OA) pain.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, nearly one in three adults suffer from chronic joint pain and 21 million Americans suffer from OA, the most common form of arthritis, which is characterized by a breakdown of the cartilage and a deterioration of the fluid in a joint.
The symptoms of OA include pain and stiffness, which can range from mild to severe. While, the majority of OA sufferers are 45 years of age and older, OA can be diagnosed at any age due to knee injury and sports-related trauma.
According to Nicholas A. DiNubile, MD, a clinical assistant professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and an orthopedic consultant to the National Basketball Association's Philadelphia 76ers and the Pennsylvania Ballet, "Genetics may play a part in the development of osteoarthritis. Some people may be born with knee alignment problems that predispose them to wear or a genetic problem with their cartilage, which causes the cartilage to break down in the joint as the person ages or in younger individuals who engage in rigorous activity."
Alternatives to Oral Pain Relievers
There are a number of FDA-approved, pill-free alternatives to COX-2 inhibitors (Vioxx and Celebrex) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen and naproxen) that offer OA knee pain relief with less cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects. There are clinically proven options for the millions of patients suffering from OA of the knee, among them a treatment known as viscosupplementation, which is a series of 3 to 5 injections that can provide up to 6 months of pain relief.
The most common alternative treatments to oral pain relievers include:
* Exercise, weight loss, physical therapy
These types of treatments are usually the first step in OA therapy. Often, approaches such as exercise, weight loss, and physical therapy can be combined with other treatments to produce the best results. For example, exercise can help improve range of joint motion and keep muscles strong and properly aligned as well as help relieve pain and stiffness. Weight loss can reduce the amount of stress on a knee joint, and physical therapy can help strengthen knee joints.
* Nutritional Supplements
Products like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis but have little actual effect on knee pain. There is emerging clinical evidence to suggest that these supplements may modify disease progression over time.
* Corticosteroid injections
This treatment can be used to reduce local inflammation and swelling, which may in turn relieve OA knee pain. However, pain relief with these agents is usually short-term and the number of injections per year per knee may be limited.
* Viscosupplementation
In knee OA, synovial (or joint) fluid can break down and provide less cushioning and lubrication. Viscosupplementation is a treatment that replaces diseased joint fluid. Healthcare professionals inject a gel that is similar to healthy synovial fluid into a patient's knee joint, which can reduce the pain from OA of the knee and may improve mobility. Viscosupplementation products have been proven to provide pain relief from osteoarthritis of the knee for a longer duration and are safer than most oral pain medications.
Currently, Synvisc ( is the top-selling viscosupplementation treatment, which can be administered by a knee pain specialist during a series of three office visits, providing relief for up to six months.
Also, in a medical study reported by Dr. J.P. Raynauld and colleagues, patients who added Synvisc to appropriate care such as diet, exercise and oral medications reported significantly more pain relief than those who received appropriate care alone.
* Surgery
In more advanced cases of OA of the knee, surgery may be the last option. This may include arthroscopy to remove damaged cartilage and loose bodies and surgical procedures to replace old cartilage with new cartilage. For some people, a complete joint replacement may be needed.
"The most important thing patients can do to determine the treatment that's right for them is talk to their doctors. Whether cases are mild, moderate or severe, OA of the knee can progress and pain may get worse over time. With the right treatment, sufferers can get the pain relief needed to lead a more active life," says Dr. DiNubile.
For more information about OA of the knee, visit or call (888) 530-7322.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Printable version

<< back to Articles on Senior Life
<< back to All Articles