Deciding On Treatment
When it comes to treatment options for osteoarthritis, the news is both good and bad. The good news is that a treatment to reduce symptoms and maintain daily function can be found for almost anyone who has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. It is very unusual to wind up in a wheelchair because of osteoarthritis. The bad news is that osteoarthritis is not curable. It tends to progress over time, although quite slowly in most cases. And it sometimes requires major surgery (that is, surgery requiring general anesthesia and an overnight stay in the hospital) to relieve symptoms.
Treatments for osteoarthritis can be divided in to three categories: treatments other than drugs or surgery, drug treatment and surgical treatment. Different options may become appropriate at different stages of the disease. But osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder, so once symptoms develop, you may need some kind of treatment for the rest of your life. Throughout treatment, your health-care provider will work to individualize your treatment so it best suits your medical condition and your lifestyle.
No Simple Answers
All patients with osteoarthritis experience the disease differently. Thus, treatment that is successful for one person may not work well for another. In addition, the effectiveness of treatment may vary over time, so that you may need to try a different treatment if a treatment becomes ineffective. But one thing is clear: It is important for you to keep moving. Find activities that you enjoy and can tolerate so you will engage in them regularly. For example, if you enjoy walking and are able to do so comfortably, make an effort to walk a little every day, even if the weather is a little chilly or damp. On the other hand, if walking is painful no matter what treatment you've settled on, find something else to do — such as swimming or riding an exercise bike — to remain physically active.