What to Do if You Have Osteoarthritis
According to Joshua Landau, MD, a Greensboro orthopedic surgeon and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental staff, while there is no cure for osteoarthritis, symptoms can be managed.
“When joint cartilage and underlying bone wear down, you can experience pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of range of motion, especially in the hands, hips, knees and spine,” shares Dr. Landau. “Overuse or injury to the joint, older age and hormonal changes in women over 50 along with obesity, genetics and race can all increase your osteoarthritis risk.”
Dr. Landau says a few different approaches may help.
First, if you have or suspect you have osteoarthritis, consult with your doctor.
“Your doctor can work with you on a personalized plan to manage the disease and your symptoms,” advises Dr. Landau.
Second, certain over-the-counter medications may provide some relief.
“Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and aspirin have been proven to decrease swelling and pain in the joints,” shares Dr. Landau, who cautions against long-term use, which can cause health problems. “Recently, diclofenac gel has been approved as a topical option, too.”
Third, weight loss and exercise may help improve symptoms and function.
“If you are overweight, consult with your doctor about losing weight through good nutrition and low-impact exercises,” says Landau. “Heat and massage can help as well.”
Finally, Dr. Landau cautions that over-the-counter dietary supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium, vitamin D, turmeric and fish oil are not FDA regulated. No supplements are proven to help people with osteoarthritis.
By working with your doctor, you can improve your health and fitness and better manage your symptoms.
About the Author
Joshua Landau, MD, is a a Greensboro orthopedic surgeon and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental staff.