Non pharmaceutical options?

Post your Osteoarthritis related questions for our experts here.

Moderator: talkhealth

Locked
7 posts
Guest Posts
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:12 pm
Quote

by Guest Posts on Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:28 am

Non pharmaceutical options?

Our guest visitor, Jan asks:
I’ve been taking medication for my osteoarthritis, which mainly affects my knees, for years, with not much improvement. Are there any non-pharmaceutical approaches I can ask my GP about?
talkhealth team on behalf of a guest visitor

User avatar
Arthritis Care
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:27 am
Quote

by Arthritis Care on Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:29 pm

Re: Non pharmaceutical options?

Dear Jan,

Thanks for your post. Most of the time people who have osteoarthritis self-manage their condition. To explore what might help an appointment with a physiotherapist might be an idea. Even if you've had physiotherapy in the past, it's useful to review things periodically.

You can use these reviews to discuss your functional problems, what's going well and what problems you have. Essentially a physiotherapist is a practical person - they want us to keep moving and not stay sedentary too much. They often expect someone with arthritis to be doing stretches and exercises regularly - so try to discuss your routine.

Your lifestyle is relevant - so healthy eating may affect your arthritis positively in the long run.

Here's some information about exercise and arthritis
https://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/what-i ... -arthritis

I hope that's helpful

Guy
Arthritis Care Helpline
Tel 0808 800 4050 10am - 4pm weekdays

User avatar
wendygreen
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:23 pm
Quote

by wendygreen on Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:15 pm

Re: Non pharmaceutical options?

Hi Jan,

As well as keeping active/doing particular exercises/stretches as suggested by Guy, you can also help yourself by watching your diet. The most important aspect of this is watching your weight, as being overweight puts extra strain on weight-bearing joints like your back, knees, hips, feet and ankles. Your knees in particular suffer if you are carrying any excess weight - for every extra pound the pressure on your knees is 4 pounds, so even losing a small amount of weight can make a big difference. Also, having excess body fat can increase inflammation in the body, which can make your joints more painful. Therefore losing weight can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Also, a Mediterranean diet containing plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish - especially oily fish, herbs and spices - has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

Finally, some people find that taking a supplement such as glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric, ginger, Indian frankinsense or SAMe, or applying capsaicin gel, can help to reduce inflammation and pain. You usually need to use them for about three months to see if they help. To check whether a supplement is worth taking, rate your pain out of 10 before you start and then again after three months.

I hope you find some relief.

Wendy
Last edited by wendygreen on Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wendy Green
Health Expert & Author - BSc (Hons) Health Studies
http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... _green.php

User avatar
Nicola Footman
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:11 pm
Quote

by Nicola Footman on Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Non pharmaceutical options?

Hi Jan
Have you ever been referred to physiotherapy for your arthritis?

Physio can be really helpful in managing mild/moderate osteoarthritis (OA). Exercises to help strengthen the core muscles, hips and knees can help to reduce pain significantly. A physio should also be able to offer advice regarding suitable footwear and pacing of activities (ie 'doing enough' but not 'too much'). Sometimes the leg muscles supporting the knee are tight and manual therapy can help alleviate this in addition to a good stretching programme.

Acupuncture is another option which can help reduce pain in some cases.

Hope this advice is helpful - any questions regarding physio please feel free to ask!
Nicola
Nicola Footman
Senior Physiotherapist - BSc (Hons) MCSP SRP
http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... ootman.php

User avatar
Arthritis Action
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:27 pm
Quote

by Arthritis Action on Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:27 am

Re: Non pharmaceutical options?

Hi Jan,

Thank you for your post.

The goals of osteoarthritis (OA) treatment is to minimise pain and improve functional status. Non-pharmaceutical intervention are often used alongside pharmaceutical treatments. At the core of this intervention is exercise and weight loss (if appropriate). It is now understood that OA affects all parts of the joint rather than just the thinning of the cartilage. Weakness of the supporting ligaments, tendons and thigh muscles also play a huge part. Therefore both weight-bearing and non weight-bearing exercises such as walking or Tai chi can be effective. An individualised approach to exercise is recommended. You will need to consider getting a referral to a physiotherapist via your GP.

Self-management or patient education is another important element in non-pharmaceutical intervention. At present both Arthritis Action and Arthritis care offer this to people with OA. For more information about Arthritis Action's programme, visit: https://www.arthritisaction.org.uk/What ... mentevents.

There is also a programme specifically designed for knee OA. It is called Escape-pain (http://www.escape-pain.org/). This 6 weeks programme combines patient education with exercise. Its availability depends on where you live. Speak to your physiotherapist to see whether your local physio department offers Escape-pain.

Losing excess body weight can make a difference to pain and function in knee OA. Just by losing 1 pound of body weight, it lessens 4 pounds of pressure on knees when walking!

Finally short term relief of symptoms can be achieved by using ice and/or heat pack for 10-15minutes. Make sure you do not expose bare skin to ice and/or heat! Some people do find complementary and alternative medicine (acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy) helpful.

Hope it helps.

Martin
Arthritis Action || Registered Dietitian
http://www.arthritisaction.org.uk / info@arthritisaction.org / Tel: 020 3781 7120

User avatar
Mr Adrian Wilson
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:42 am
Quote

by Mr Adrian Wilson on Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:01 pm

Re: Non pharmaceutical options?

Please see my other posts https://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/f ... 40&t=15665 and https://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/f ... 40&t=15629.

Bracing is another really exciting new innovative way of managing this..please go to ossur.co.uk and see the unloader one and see the testimonials on youtube in the unloader moment videos.
Mr Adrian Wilson
Consultant Knee Surgeon - BSc (Hons) MBBS FRCS (Eng) FRCS (Tr & Orth)
http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... wilson.php

User avatar
Lee Murphy
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:29 am
Quote

by Lee Murphy on Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:04 pm

Re: Non pharmaceutical options?

Guest Posts wrote:Our guest visitor, Jan asks:
I’ve been taking medication for my osteoarthritis, which mainly affects my knees, for years, with not much improvement. Are there any non-pharmaceutical approaches I can ask my GP about?
As above, first port of call would be a lower limb physiotherapist. It might also be worth seeing a podiatrist for gait analysis and some foot orthoses (specialised insoles that change the way you walk). I assume you consider injections to be pharmaceutical? If not, you could seek out your local orthopaedic surgeon specialising in lower limb surgery for their opinion.
Lee Murphy
Consultant Podiatric Surgeon - MRes FCPodS
http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... murphy.php

Locked
7 posts