Osteoarthritis can affect just about any joint, and it's common in knee joints. If you have pain in your knee from osteoarthritis, you know how much it affects your life when your knee hurts and makes you feel miserable when you try to walk.
There are a few approaches to osteoarthritis pain treatments, and your doctor might also recommend weight loss if you're carrying extra weight. Here's a look at some things you might try to help with osteoarthritis pain.
1. Get More Exercise
Your doctor might send you to physical therapy when you have knee pain. The therapist can show you the right exercises to do to make your knee stronger and to increase flexibility. Plus, they can help you choose the best way to exercise so you can work out without harming your knee. The therapist might advise you to swim often so you can get both muscle-building exercises and a cardio workout.
2. Use A Walking Aid
If you have pain when you bear your full weight on your knee, you might try using a cane or walker so you can stay mobile without putting as much weight on your knee. An occupational therapist can teach you how to use a walking aid outdoors and in your home. They might also make recommendations for adjusting your home so you can do your activities of daily living without straining your knee or increasing your risk of falling.
3. Take Medications
Your doctor might want you to start with over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs as these might be effective on your pain. If not, your doctor might try prescription drugs for pain management. These may not necessarily be opioids, since other drugs might work at relieving pain, even antidepressants.
4. Try Injections
Knee injections could be an effective type of osteoarthritis pain treatment, so your doctor might try those if you don't get relief with oral medications. The doctor might inject a corticosteroid drug into your knee to reduce inflammation. If this drug works for you, it might relieve pain for several weeks before it has to be injected again. However, your doctor may have to limit the number of corticosteroid injections you can get in a year.
The doctor might also try injecting hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is used to lubricate the knee, and it might provide pain relief for a few months. The doctor might combine hyaluronic injections with anesthetic injections for a combination of quick-acting and long-term pain relief.
A newer osteoarthritis pain treatment given by knee injection that your doctor might consider is platelet-rich plasma. This is taken from your own blood and injected into your knee. The platelets stimulate tissue growth, and that may help reduce your pain.
Contact your doctor to learn more about osteoarthritis pain treatments.