Non-Surgical Treatments For Osteoarthritis

Non-Surgical Treatments For Osteoarthritis

This blog post was updated for content on December 14, 2020. Existing comments have not been removed or edited.

Chronic arthritis pain affects millions of people in the United States every year. In fact, one in four adults with arthritis report experiencing severe joint pain related to arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition, knee pain affects many people, and sometimes causes so much discomfort that people are forced to rest and limit their usual activities. Knee pain is often a result of osteoarthritis or OA, which is a type of degenerative arthritis that, according to the CDC, affects over 30 million Americans. It is caused by damage or breakdown if joint cartilage between bones. OA is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. As the most common form of arthritis, it occurs most frequently in hands, hips, and knees.

There are many non-surgical treatment options for arthritis and osteoarthritis, both for at-home remedies, and treatments through a medical professional.

Home Remedies for Arthritis or Osteoarthritis

Although many people seek medical treatment for their arthritis pain, some also use home remedies to ease the pain in their joints. These remedies can help you reduce the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis or arthritis, from the comfort of your own home.

Stay Active and Exercise

While it may seem contradictory that exercise can help ease your joint pain, exercise is critical for people with arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. When your joints feel stiff and painful, the thought of taking a walk or being active may not seem very enticing, but it can actually reduce joint pain and provide you with more energy. It also helps to increase strength, flexibility and blood flow to your joints, which helps to keep the joints well lubricated. Your joints are lined with tissue known as the synovial membrane, which produces a substance called synovial fluid. Exercise and physical activity encourage the circulation of synovial fluid, which helps your joints function smoothly.

Weight Management

While some might not think of weight loss as a viable treatment for arthritis, it is important to understand that extra weight places a significant increase in pressure and stress on your joints. In fact, for every pound of weight, a force of up to four times that amount is placed on your knees, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Because of this, losing just 10 pounds can relieve up to 40 pounds of pressure from your knees.

Losing weight can be a positive lifestyle change that also helps your joints feel better and prolongs your life. It can also help you avoid chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Be sure to seek the advice of your physician before starting a new nutrition and exercise pain to make sure that the plan is right for you.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

There are a variety of medications that may temporarily improve your knee pain. These include both oral medications and topical creams. Topical medications come in the form of gels, creams, and patches which are applied to the skin. Another form of topical medication includes non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are available in drops, gels, sprays, or skin patches. However, many people only find relief from these treatments temporarily. Additionally, some people find that taking anti-inflammatory medications can cause gastrointestinal problems when taken over a long period of time. Ask your physician before trying any anti-inflammatory medications, pain medications, or topical medications.

TENS Therapy

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. For this treatment, wires that are attached to electrodes are placed on the skin and connected to a small, portable machine. This portable unit sends electrical currents to painful areas, and many find that it helps to ease the pain associated with arthritis. If you wear a pacemaker, you cannot wear a TENS unit, so be sure to talk with your doctor to find out if this treatment is right for you. You should also consult with your physician if you have an infection or any open wounds, as a TENS unit should not be used if you have any of these conditions.

Add Fish to Your Diet

Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can also help to relieve arthritis pain, according to arthritis experts. If you enjoy eating seafood, you’ll be happy to know that certain types of fish can help reduce your pain. Essential fatty acids, also known as Omega-3s, are great inflammation fighters. Omega-3s are the type of fatty acids found in fish. Studies suggest that individuals who regularly eat fish high in Omega-3s are less likely to have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). What’s more, Omega-3s can help lessen pain and joint swelling in people who already have RA. Choose fish that is rich in fat, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel.

RICE for Knee Pain

If you’re experiencing knee pain due to your arthritis or osteoarthritis, your doctor may tell you to use Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) for knee pain relief. Resting your knee, using ice to reduce pain, wearing a compression bandage, and keeping your knee elevated can help ease knee pain. The RICE techniques can offer short-term pain relief and can help you reduce knee pain and swelling for some patients. Speak with your health care provider if you have questions about the RICE technique.

Try and Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salts aren’t just part of an indulgent spa treatment. Epsom salt baths can help ease the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Epsom salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate when placed in water, and soaking in a warm bath can help to ease stiff, painful joints. Many people use Epsom salt baths as a home treatment for arthritis pain and swelling, bruises, sprains, and pain related to fibromyalgia. Follow the directions on the Epsom salt package and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about trying Epsom salt baths.

Non-Surgical and Minimally Invasive Treatment Options

There are several minimally invasive treatments that can reduce knee and joint pain, and keep your joints healthy and functioning smoothly. The following pain relief strategies can help you manage your pain and symptoms, as well as avoid invasive surgeries.

Physical Therapy

If your arthritis is severe enough to limit your daily activities, physical therapy can help. The goal is to help you restore function to the affected to joint and to improve range of motion. Your physical therapist will give you targeted exercises to strengthen your joints, as well as exercises to do on your own to maximize results of treatment at home. Physical therapy might include stretches, exercises, ice and heat therapy, ultrasound massage, and electrical nerve or muscle stimulation. Your doctor might recommend physical therapy by itself or in addition to other treatments. Treatment length depends on your specific injury, the severity of your knee pain, and how much your condition impacts your daily activities.

Assistive Devices

Talk to your doctor about assistive devices that may help you to deal with painful joints, such as braces, canes, or other walking aids. These devices can help to ease pain and prevent further injury. Other assistive products include jar openers, easy-grip utensils, or graspers to help you reach items that are out of your reach. Many of these items can be purchased at medical supply stores or pharmacies. Some specialty stores even have zipper pulls and buttoning aids, which can help you fasten clothing without pain.

Hyaluronic Acid or Hyaluronate Injections

Also referred to as viscosupplementation, the goal of this injection based treatment is to replace synovial fluid, which the is the substance that helps to lubricate your joints. At Flexogenix®, we take viscosupplementation to a whole new level. The Knee-Flex 5-Step Protocol takes the very latest FDA approved non-surgical knee pain treatment, and enhances it to provide a level of results that few others can match. It is designed to provide both rapid pain relief, and a substantial increase in mobility so you can get back to the active lifestyle that you deserve. Unlike the temporary relief of steroid injections, Knee-Flex 5-Step can provide long-term relief so that you can exercise again, help to lose weight, and break free from the vicious cycle of knee pain.

Regenerative Therapies

Regenerative therapy has been shown to produce considerable relief in helping the body heal itself from the damage done to joints by arthritis. These cells occur naturally within the body but diminish with age.

One promising, and minimally invasive, form of regenerative therapy that has emerged in recent years is called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, therapy. PRP is plasma with an especially high number of platelets. Growth factors within the platelets assist with healing. Because of this, PRP, which contains up to 900% more platelets than usual, can be a powerful treatment to relieve arthritis pain.

At Flexogenix®, we have combined all of the most advanced and effective orthobiologic procedures available today into one unique program: Progeni-Flex™. With Progeni-Flex™, our team of board certified physicians harnesses the most potent forms of regenerative cells available today and delivers them through the most proven techniques.

Massage Therapy for Joint Pain

Massage therapy is proven to help people who experience joint pain caused by arthritis or other joint pain conditions. Regular massage of muscles and joints can result in a significant reduction in pain for people with arthritis, according to the University of Miami School of Medicine researchers. This institution conducted a variety of studies on the benefits of massage, especially for people with arthritis.

Therapeutic massage can help people with hand and wrist arthritis, according to a 2006 study. This study found that participants who had one 15-minute moderate pressure massage each day experienced less pain and improved grip strength, as measured on pre and post massage therapy tests.

Therapeutic massage also benefits people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a 2007 study presented at the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) National Convention. This study found that therapeutic massage treatments can positively affect the physiological systems of a person with RA, as well as to alleviate and prolong the deteriorating effects of the disease.

Additionally, if you have knee pain due to osteoarthritis, massage therapy may help improve your symptoms. A recent study at Duke University revealed that weekly 60-minute massage sessions reduced symptoms of pain and increased mobility for people with knee osteoarthritis.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Many people consider surgical treatments to manage their joint pain due to arthritis. However, as demonstrated above, there are several other options for treatment that have proven highly effective. Flexogenix® offers a variety of non-surgical treatment options so that you can avoid the risks associated with surgery, and get back to the active lifestyle you deserve. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation, and let us help you find freedom from your joint pain!

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† While we are in network for most major insurance carriers we have some treatment programs that are not recognized or covered by many insurance carriers.