What you can do for OA
Promising and potential OA therapies include:
Strengthening exercises: Research has shown a connection between the risk of knee OA and the strength of the quadriceps, the long muscles of the thighs. Exercise to strengthen those muscles can not only reduce the risk of OA but can ease the pain of existing OA. Swimming, walking and weight lifting are good exercises.
Braces, sleeves and taping: When muscles alone can't properly support the knees, research shows that neoprene sleeves, braces and taping can relieve OA pain.
Medicines: For pain relief, doctors usually start with acetaminophen because the side effects are minimal. If acetaminophen does not relieve pain, then non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be used. In addition, the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib may be used. These medicines reduce inflammation similarly to traditional NSAIDs, but they cause fewer gastrointestinal side effects. However, these medications occasionally are associated with harmful reactions ranging from mild to severe. Corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid and topical creams are also used.
Eastern medicine: NIAMS-supported research has shown that acupuncture—the placement of thin needles at specific points on the body—is effective for OA pain.
Fall 2006 Issue: Volume 1 Number 1 Page 16