Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint condition that affects the knees, hips, back and neck, fingers, and toes. It causes stiffness, swelling, pain, and a cracking sound when the joint bends. Osteoarthritis affects 27 million Americans, making it the most common chronic joint condition. Despite the prevalence of the condition, a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, or OA, is typically frustrating for patients, because until recently, most of the treatments for the condition, including steroid injections, NSAIDS like ibuprofen, and supplements, have mostly focused on relieving the worst of the pain. Some patients require knee replacements as the condition advances. However, there are new treatments on the horizon that may give patients more relief and improve their mobility as well, without surgery. Take a look at some new advances in osteoarthritis treatments.
Stem Cell Treatments
While still experimental, stem cell treatments show promise in restoring healthy joints without surgery. The procedure involves harvesting stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow, concentrating them, and then injecting them into the affected joint. It appears to work best on knee joints.
This treatment is a definite improvement over pain treatment or surgery. It's non-invasive and can be done on an outpatient basis, and not only does it relieve pain, it restores the patient's mobility as well. Because the cells come from the patient's own body and no surgery is involved, the risk of complications is low. However, the treatment is expensive – about $4,000 per injection – and it's not covered by insurance. It's also not effective for every patient. It's well worth considering, though, if you can afford it and want to avoid surgery and restore your freedom of movement.
A less aggressive but still promising treatment is a drug used in Europe called strontium ranelate. The drug can relieve the pain of osteoarthritis, but it may also slow the progression of the disease. A study of 1300 patients over three years showed that patients who took the drug daily showed a significantly lower loss of cartilage than patients who took a placebo.
Strontium is a trace element that is found in some foods, including seafood, milk, meat, poultry, and root vegetables. It can also be found in supplement form, although experts say the supplement won't necessarily produce the same effects as the prescription drug form used in Europe. Unfortunately, strontium is not yet FDA approved in the United States.
If you've been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, ask your doctor about new and alternative treatment methods that may allow you to move without pain and maintain your quality of life. Click here for more information.Share
8 April 2016
When my mother fell at home and broke her hip, we all thought that we were going to have no choice to put her in a nursing home when she got out of the hospital. My mother had always asked us kids to avoid putting her in any kind of home, but we didn’t know what else we could do. None of us were capable of giving her the kind of rehabilitation and care that she needed. Then her doctor suggested that we find out if her insurance covered in-home care. I didn’t even know that that was an option. I was pleased to discover that in-home care was covered by her plan. Now she gets great care from nurses and nurse assistants that come right to her in her home, where she wants to be. It’s a great option, and I’m so glad we have it.