How Orthopedists and Physiotherapists Treat Osteoarthritis

Last modified: December 17, 2018

There’s no special cure for osteoarthritis. That is, nothing can cure the disease itself. However, there are different types of treatments which can alleviate the symptoms. These treatments of osteoarthritis can generally be divided into three steps: exercise, additional treatment with medication, and finally, surgery. Anyone who suffers from osteoarthritis should, therefore, begin with rehabilitative training as their initial treatment. If that doesn’t work, painkillers or cortisone injections can be given as an addition to give temporary relief so that the patient can get started with the exercise. When nothing else works and the symptoms are pronounced, surgery can be considered. In order to know what kind of treatment for osteoarthritis is the most appropriate, it’s always good to visit a physiotherapist and/or a doctor.

Training as Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Anyone who suffers from Osteoarthritis knows it can cause a lot of pain. It’s natural to avoid moving the body since it can easily cause more pain and simply doesn’t feel natural. But the truth is, osteoarthritis is often best alleviated with the help of exercise and movement. Supervised long-term exercise is the form of treatment which has been proven to be the most effective and which is recommended by both doctors and the National Board of Health and Welfare. With the help of exercise, the muscles around the affected joint can be strengthened, thereby relieving the pressure on the joint. Therefore, it is not uncommon for patients suffering from osteoarthritis to receive exercise listed on prescriptions. Osteoarthritis surgery is the last resort.

Cortisone Injections and Surgery as Treatment for Osteoarthritis?

For instance, if you suffer from knee joint osteoarthritis and the pain is unbearable, cortisone injections can be used as a pain-relieving treatment. It temporarily relieves the pain and can, therefore, make everyday life easier for those who can’t bear the pain. But it’s important to know that it’s a short-term solution. There are also new studies showing that using cortisone can in the long run aggravate the situation and break down the cartilage in the joint. Because of this, there are general guidelines to limit the number of cortisone injections. For that reason, training is also always preferable.

A third type of treatment for osteoarthritis is surgery. If the person suffering from Osteoarthritis has tried an exercise program without result, surgery can be a solution. Surgery is never the first choice, however. In fact, only 10-15% of those suffering from osteoarthritis need to undergo surgery. There’s also a possibility that the person suffering from osteoarthritis is dissatisfied since it’s difficult to achieve a perfect result. The pain may be eliminated from the procedure, but stiffness and other complications can arise as side effects from an osteoarthritis surgery.

Exercise After Surgery

Exercise as complementary treatment is recommended even if the patient has undergone surgery or had a cortisone injection. This is because exercise is the treatment method which affects the disease itself and doesn’t just relieve symptoms such as pain and stiffness. Without exercise, the risk for the joint becoming stiffer and problems getting worse increases in the absence of exercise. That is why exercise is always part of the treatment of osteoarthritis, whether or not it’s in combination with cortisone or surgery.

Different Types of Exercises as Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Anyone looking for an individual exercise program can visit an osteoarthritis school. If you’re unable to go anywhere, there are a couple of common exercises you can do at home. Getting up from a chair is one of them. The movement should be done correctly so the right muscles are tightened. The joint will then experience strain in a balanced way. Consult a physiotherapist or a personal trainer to learn the right technique.

Another exercise is taking a step up on a low stool or steady pile of books, then taking a step down again. This exercise, as well as the one involving getting up from a chair, can be repeated a number of times, to the best of one’s ability. Another exercise is conducted sitting on a chair. With one foot on the floor, the other foot is extended straight out, and then put down on the floor again. The exercise is then repeated with the other leg. If you want more exercises, you can download the Joint Academy app, which is a digital osteoarthritis school.