Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most often in older people. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint (cartilage).In a person with osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged and worn out causing pain, swelling, stiffness and restricted movement in the affected joint. This condition most commonly affects the joints in hips, knees, hands, and spine. Rarely, the disease may affect the shoulders, wrists and feet.

Non-operative Management of Osteoarthritis

Several treatment modalities are available for the management of rheumatoid arthritis and they include medications, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and surgery.

  • Medications:There are different types of medications which include disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs; pain medications such as non – steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and biologic agents. The DMARDs reduce the body’s immune response against the joints whereas the NSAIDs reduce swelling and pain. If the pain is very severe, corticosteroid injection can be given directly into the affected joint to ease the pain.
  • Physiotherapy:Physical therapy exercises should be done regularly to increase the strength of muscles and flexibility of joints. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a type of electrotherapy that is given to provide pain relief.
  • Occupational Therapy:Occupational therapy helps to perform daily activities at home and at work independently through the use of equipment. It also helps you to adapt to your condition using the relaxation and stress-management techniques.
  • Other Treatments:Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to keep joints flexible and improve muscle strength. Heat/cold therapy which involves applying heat or cold packs to the joints provides temporary pain relief. Lifestyle modifications can be done to control weight and avoid extra stress on the weight-bearing joints.