There are a number of non-surgical treatments for osteoarthritis. Moderate doctor-prescribed exercise and physical therapy are excellent ways to keep your joints moving and to help relieve moderate joint pain. Joints that are not regularly exercised can become tight and painful.
Excess body weight places extreme amounts of pressure on the joints. If you are overweight and able, your doctor may recommend weight-loss to help relieve unwanted stress and pain in your joints.
Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help control swelling and pain. However, it is important to consult your doctor before taking medication for joint pain.
Assistive devices, such as a cane or walker, can help reduce the pressure placed on joints and alleviate some pain. Resting after activity can also help control moderate joint pain.
As osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis become more severe and the cartilage continues to wear away, the increased pain and limited movement can affect many everyday activities such as walking, driving, and sitting. When non-surgical treatments fail to provide adequate relief from the symptoms of arthritis, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend joint replacement. The technique of joint replacement uses implants typically made from polyethylene (plastic) and metal alloy to replace the damaged sections of bone and cartilage in the joint. The purpose of the procedure is to restore function and mobility and to provide relief from joint pain.
Patient Education information provided by Biomet, Inc. - Advanced Science for Real Living™