Which Osteoarthritis Treatment Is Right for You?

  • Which of these medicines can help relieve osteoarthritis (OA) pain?

     

    A. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol)

     

    B. Aspirin

     

    C. Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin)

     

    D. Naproxen (such as Aleve or Naprosyn)

     

    E. All of the above

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is all of the above. Your doctor may recommend acetaminophen first, because it has fewer long-term side effects than the others.  If your pain continues, your doctor may recommend other pain relievers. Always ask your doctor which medicine is safest for you and how much to take.
  • Exercise is one of the best treatments for arthritis pain.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is true. Staying active not only helps reduce pain, but also relieves stiffness, boosts your energy, and improves bone and muscle strength. But some sports or exercises may make your pain worse. Work with your doctor or physical therapist to develop an exercise routine for you.
  • You can help treat OA at home by doing the following:

     

    A. Losing extra pounds

     

    B. Getting enough sleep

     

    C. Eating a balanced, healthy diet

     

    D. All of the above

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is all of the above. Losing extra pounds can take pressure off joints in the legs and feet. Getting enough sleep helps you recover more quickly after a flare-up. And eating a balanced diet helps keep your whole body healthy.
  • Physical therapy can benefit many people with OA.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is true. Physical therapy can help improve muscle strength and the motion of stiff joints, as well as your sense of balance. Therapists have many techniques for treating OA. If you don't get relief, ask your doctor about other treatment options.
  • Over-the-counter remedies that can help relieve OA symptoms include:

     

    A. Glucosamine

     

    B. Chondroitin sulfate

     

    C. Capsaicin skin cream

     

    D. A and B

     

    E. All of the above

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is all of the above. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and capsaicin cream have all been shown to help relieve OA pain in some people. Talk to your doctor about which over-the-counter remedies may work best for you.
  • Which of the following treatments is better for OA pain?

     

    A. Heat

     

    B. Cold

     

    C. Both heat and cold

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is both heat and cold. Hot packs, warm towels, or taking a warm bath can help increase blood flow and make your joints more flexible. Cold packs can help numb the painful area and reduce joint pain. Work with your doctor to see what works best for you.
  • You should only use a brace if your doctor recommends it.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is true. Splints and braces can sometimes support weakened joints. Some prevent the joint from moving; others allow some movement. You should use a brace only when your doctor or therapist recommends one and ask how to use it. Using a brace the wrong way can cause joint damage, stiffness, and pain.
  • How often can you receive corticosteroid injections to treat pain?

     

    A. Once a week

     

    B. Once a month

     

    C. Two to four times a year

     

    D. Once a year

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is two to four times a year. Corticosteroids are hormones that help reduce swelling in the joint. They are effective as a short-term treatment to relieve joint pain. However, experts recommend that you have no more than four injections a year.
  • If you have OA, you’ll need to have surgery sooner or later.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is false. Although you may need to have surgery if your symptoms are severe, many people can treat their symptoms without ever having surgery. Talk to your doctor about what treatments may help relieve your OA pain.
  • The only type of surgery for OA involves replacing the joint.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is false. Although joint replacement surgery is common, other surgeries can repair a damaged joint. If you are thinking about surgery, talk with your doctor about all of your options.