March 29

Overview Of Osteoarthritis Treatment Options

Tracy Campbell
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 5 minutes

Osteoarthritis (OA) is caused by cartilage degradation. This leads to joint changes including:




The best OA treatment for you will depend on your symptoms. It also depends on your needs and the severity of your OA at the time of diagnosis.

Most doctors begin OA treatment with simple, noninvasive options. However, you may need more intensive treatment if your symptoms are not manageable with lifestyle changes and medication. For some people, surgery can be the best way to manage the symptoms of OA.

Lifestyle Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Many people can help control their OA symptoms with basic lifestyle changes. Talk to your doctor about whether these options may be right for you.


An active lifestyle can help:

maintain healthy joints

relieve stiffness

reduce pain and fatigue

increase muscle and bone strength

People with OA should stick to gentle, low-impact exercise. It’s important to stop if you begin to feel any new joint pain. Any aches that last for more than a few hours after you finish exercising mean that you’ve probably done too much.

Remember, exercise isn’t just about aerobic conditioning. You also need to work on strength and stretching to support your joints and maintain your flexibility.


Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress on joints. If you are overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about how to lose weight safely. Weight loss can help with the pain of OA. It may also reduce systemic inflammation that contributes to OA.


If your joints are swollen and achy, give them a break. Try to avoid using an inflamed joint for 12 to 24 hours to let the swelling go down. It’s also a good idea to get enough sleep. Fatigue may increase your perception of pain.


Both cold and heat can help treat OA symptoms. Applying ice to an aching area for 20 minutes helps restrict blood vessels. This reduces fluid in the tissue and decreases swelling and pain. You can repeat the treatment two or three times a day.

A bag of frozen vegetables makes a great ice pack. Just make certain to wrap any ice pack in a t-shirt or towel. Otherwise the cold can damage your skin.

You can do the same 20-minute treatment pattern with a hot water bottle or a heating pad. Both can be found at your local drugstore. Heat opens the blood vessels and increases circulation. This brings in nutrients and proteins essential for repairing damaged tissue. Heat is also good for helping with stiffness.

You may find relief from both cold and heat. Experiment to see what works best for you. However, restrict your use to no more than 20 minutes at a time. Then give your body a break.

Over-the-Counter Medications for Osteoarthritis

Several types of over-the-counter (OTC) medications may help relieve OA symptoms. However, different types of drugs have different effects. It’s important to choose the right drugs to help with your symptoms.


Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is an OTC painkiller. It reduces pain but not inflammation. Taking too much can cause liver damage.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help combat multiple OA symptoms. As implied by their name, they reduce inflammation. They also help with pain. OTC NSAIDS include:

aspirin (Bayer)

ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)

naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)

Over time, NSAIDs can potentially cause significant side effects. These include:

stomach problems

cardiovascular disease

ringing in the ears

liver damage

kidney damage

bleeding problems

Topical Medications

There are a variety of creams and gels available to relieve OA pain. These may contain active ingredients such as menthol (Bengay, Stopain) or capsaicin (Capzasin, Zostrix). Capsaicin is the substance that makes hot peppers “hot”.

Prescription Medications for Osteoarthritis

For some people with OA, OTC painkillers are not helpful enough. Prescription medications may be needed if symptoms start to affect your quality of life. Managing the pain and swelling may help you perform normal, everyday tasks.

Cortisone Shots

These injections reduce inflammation which decreases swelling and pain in arthritic joints. Cortisone injections should only be administered by an experienced clinician and used judiciously to avoid complications and side effects.

Prescription NSAIDS

Prescription NSAIDs do the same thing as OTC NSAIDS. However, they are available in stronger doses. Prescription NSAIDS include:

celecoxib (Celebrex)

piroxicam (Feldene)

prescription-strength ibuprofen and naproxen

There remains a potential for undesirable side effects with prescription NSAIDS. Talk to your doctor about how to reduce your risk.


Tramadol (Ultram) is a prescription painkiller. For some, tramadol may cause fewer side effects than NSAIDs.


Strong painkillers can provide relief from severe pain. These include:


meperidine (Demerol)


oxycodone (OxyContin)

propoxyphene (Darvon)

However, these drugs have the potential to be addictive.

Other Medical Treatments for Osteoarthritis

In addition to drugs and surgery, there are other medical treatments for OA. These treatments are aimed at restoring the function of your joints.

Knee Injections

Artificial joint fluid is a new option for patients with symptomatic knee OA. The treatment involves a series of injections into the knee joint. The fluid lubricates and cushions the joint. This allows it to move more easily. Available options include Synvisc and Hyalgan. Injections last for three to six months.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can be useful for some people with OA. It can help:

improve muscle strength

increase the range of motion of stiff joints

reduce pain

A physical therapist can help you develop an exercise regimen suited to your needs. Physical therapists can also help you with assistive devices such as:



shoe inserts

These can provide support to weakened joints. They can also take pressure off of injured bones and reduce pain.

Surgery for Osteoarthritis

Severe cases of OA may require surgery to replace or repair damaged joints. There are several types of surgery used to treat OA.

Joint Replacement

Joint replacement surgery is also known as arthroplasty. This procedure removes damaged joint surfaces from the body and replaces them with prosthetics made of plastic or metal. Hip and knee replacements are the most common types of joint replacement. However, other joints can be replaced, including:





Prosthetic joints last up to about 20 years. However, the lifespan of a joint replacement depends on how that joint is used.

If surgery for OA is required, joint replacement is generally the best option. This is particularly true for older patients who are unlikely to need a second replacement.

Bone Realignment

Osteotomy is a type of surgery used to realign bones damaged by arthritis. This relieves stress on the damaged part of the bone or joint. Osteotomy is usually performed only on younger OA patients for whom joint replacement isn’t feasible.

Bone Fusion

The bones in a joint can be permanently fused in order to increase joint stability and reduce pain. This surgery usually results in severely limited, or no, range of motion in the joint. However, in serious OA cases, it may be the best way to relieve chronic, debilitating pain.

Bone fusion is also known as arthrodesis.

Arthroscopic Surgery

In this procedure, a surgeon trims torn and damaged cartilage from a joint. This is done with the use of an arthroscope. An arthroscope is a small camera on the end of a tube. It allows doctors to see into the knee joint while performing procedures on the joint.. Arthroscopy can also be used to remove bone spurs.

In the past, this was a popular surgery to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. However, recent studies have shown that arthroscopy may be no more effective at treating long-term pain than medication or physical therapy.

by Healthline


Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter
All categories
Art Therapy
$50 USD
Artist Teacher Workshop Or Tutoring

“Life Force” guiding our history, our body and spirits. Self portrait art, life drawing from the live model, gesture, and plein air painting. And extended cont…

Bryan Prillwitz
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$100 USD
Timeline Reading

EGYPTIAN TAROT READINGS using unique methods developed by Nelise Carbonare, a Brazilian healer with more than 40 years of experience in tarot consultations, as…

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$120 USD

THE SYNERGY OF THE PYRAMID focuses on a specific relationship: One side for the consultant and one for their partner. (the partner does not need to be present …

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Pick one card

Many questions can be answer with just one Arcane.

Do you want to try?

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$50 USD
Spiritual Coaching - Removing Energy Blocks - Expansion

> “Who looks outside dreams. Who looks inside awakens.” Jung

Spiritual coaching is about moving you into a profound state of empowerment and involution m…

Kimla Rose (Kim Desrosiers)
United States of America flag icon
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Life Purpose and Soul Wisdom

What is your deeper truth, your deeper knowing, your MOJO, your deepest desires, those feelings that you can’t explain but that are so pure and so clear…or may…

Anna Beale
United States of America flag icon
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Your Missing Manual for Health & Life!

Are you constantly reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts trying to figure out what to do to be healthy?

With so much conflicting information out ther…

Pamela Malo
United States of America flag icon
Nutritional Therapy
$150 USD
Nutritional Therapy Consultation

Hi my name is Aria and I am the founder of Heal with Nutrition. I am a registered Nutritional Therapist and a Naturopath who has a passion on Nutrition and Hea…

Aria Alexandrou
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Tarot Reading
$10 USD

With a deep knowledge of hermeticism and being introduced to the kabbalah tradition of the emanation process from the tree of life, I provide a deep insight co…

James Marchiori
Ireland flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$55 USD
The Bridge to Your Desired Life

This is were you get real help with your struggles and life challenges. As life gets harder to cope with, we tend to look for external ways to get through. And…

Mina Mikhail
United States of America flag icon
$10 USD
Intake Consult

short introduction consult to Integrative Medicine

Femke Neervoort
Netherlands flag icon
Career Coaching
$300 USD
Reset Coaching and Mentoring Programme

12 weeks of bi-weekly 90 minutes 1:1 Coaching and Mentoring. Total cost USD1800 (6x90minutes career coaching and mentoring session)

Are you returning to work …

Carla Martins
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$120 USD
Spiritual Life Coach Session-Personalized Session

Personalized Sessions

Because Everyone Is Unique

Client-centered sessions based on the area of focus requested by the client.

Each session is a LIVE Sessio…

Deborah Lucero
United States of America flag icon
$55 USD
Guidance, Inspiration & Healing

This type of session is a favorite among many of my clients, as it is often times one of the smoothest way to address a challenge to reach a happier and health…

Mina Mikhail
United States of America flag icon
$10 USD
Psychic Readings

I specialize in love, past present future, future, past life, general, tarot, dream interpretation, specific, social, and career readings! Book today for clari…

United States of America flag icon
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
$88 USD
Ascension Mentor Support

In this session, we come together with similar to a healing session but face to face.

We talk about what issues you are facing at the moment and we delve deep…

Claire C.
Australia flag icon
Spiritual Healing
$177 USD
Energy Healing

I am honored to assist you with intuitive channeled energy healings that support and nurture you on a physical level as well soul and energetic level, each ses…

Claire C.
Australia flag icon
$375 USD
Usui Reiki 1st Degree Course

FIRST DEGREE COURSE - The ultimate Reiki course.

Have you ever wondered if you can heal? Have you felt a burning desire to help others? Then you’ve come to th…

Step Into Your Light - Christina Moore
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Hand Analysis - Startup Session

What does a hand analysis do for me? ​

You will understand yourself and your life purpose. ​You will understand the roots of your triggers and reactionary be…

Brent Bruning, Master Hand Analyst
Switzerland flag icon
$10 USD
Sample Akashic Records Reading for Your Burning Issue

I connect to your Akashic Records and listen to what your guides want to bring to your conscoius attention at this time. Perhaps, it is an insight into why you…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon
Shamanic Healing
$300 USD
Shamanic Healing Art

What is Shamanic Healing Art?

It is a physical artwork (usually a pastel drawing) I make for you based on the outcome of our online session. This artwork will…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon
Shamanic Healing
$70 USD
Heal to say "No"

A limits and boundaries shamanic healing session to help you heal relevant wounds and traumas from this and/or other lifetimes, let go of false beliefs, judgem…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon
Shamanic Healing
$70 USD
Writer's Block Shamanic Healing Session

Before the Session

I do my pre-meditation to find out the main reasons for your writer’s block. (This happens psychically, where I generally just need your na…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon

Related Articles