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What Are the Different Types of Pain Management for Osteoarthritis?

By Larry Ray Palmer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pain management for osteoarthritis entails a variety of different treatments, including medical treatment — which involves the use of pain medicine and other drugs — holistic medicine, and physical therapy or a combination of all of these treatments. While osteoarthritis is a cause of long-term pain for many people, the forms of pain treatment used for each individual vary. Due to variances in the individual patient's body chemistry, pain tolerances and advancement of the condition, there are many different levels of treatment used to treat osteoarthritis and provide the best quality of life possible for victims.

Medical treatments used in pain management for osteoarthritis include prescription drugs and over the counter medications, as well as surgery. While some drugs, such as pain medicine, may be used to cover up the symptoms of osteoarthritis, other drugs attempt to directly treat the condition. Known as anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, these medications reduce swelling and joint inflammation that is a common cause of the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis. Depending upon the individual's specific needs, physicians may prescribe NSAIDS, pain medications, over the counter topical medicines or a combination of these medications. In more advanced stages, physicians may even prescribe narcotic pain medicines to reduce or eliminate the pain caused by the condition.

Holistic pain management for osteoarthritis includes a variety of herbal remedies and non-medical treatments. While many of the methods of holistic medicine practitioners are not recognized by the medical community, proponents of these practices claim success in treating chronic pain related to osteoarthritis. Some holistic forms of treatment include acupuncture, and a wide variety of dietary supplements. There is a great deal of debate as to the effectiveness of these remedies but many people in the medical community will concede that some forms of holistic treatment seem to have a positive effect on the condition.

Physical therapy is also used as a method of pain management for osteoarthritis patients. Licensed physical therapists work with patients, providing services such as joint manipulation, massage or electrical stimulation to reduce pain symptoms or prevent the condition from advancing at a faster rate of speed.

While it can be a debilitating condition, with proper treatment and pain management for osteoarthritis, the majority of patients can continue to have good quality of life for many years. By carefully following the advice outlined by medical practitioners and regularly taking prescribed treatments, many patients can slow the advancement of the condition and live with a significant reduction in their chronic pain symptoms.

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