The main goals of treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) are to reduce joint pain and improve (or at least maintain) function. Function includes your daily activities to take care of yourself, mobility, and recreational activities.
Preventing or slowing the progression of changes to the joint tissues can be done with weight loss and exercise. Over-the-counter pain relievers work well for many patients with mild pain.
Some prescription medications may help patients with moderate to severe pain. The goal is to obtain the maximum benefit from the drug with the least amount of side effects or toxicities.
Many studies have shown the benefit of daily, moderate exercise on knee OA. Strengthening, stretching, and walking form the basis for a good, overall exercise program for this condition.
Exercise combined with hyaluronan injections have been shown to provide faster pain relief for patients with moderate to severe pain compared with injections alone.
The more you can do to educate yourself about this condition, the better able you will be to protect your joints and prevent further damage. The Arthritis Foundation offers many ideas for patients with OA and can be accessed at www.arthritis.org.