The Best Alternative Therapies for Knee Osteoarthritis
Treatments for Osteoarthritis of Knee
For treatment programs to be successful, they would have to be tailored to meet the patient’s needs. This is true for every medical condition experienced by individuals. And of course, this applies to osteoarthritis of the knee as well. If the treatment is well designed, the symptoms of the osteoarthritis will be reduced, the joint movement will be increased and joint damaging effects will be lessened. If the treatment is not well thought out, it is possible the patient’s condition might worsen and he or she ends up feeling more pain instead of relief. The reason for this is that not all medications work for every person. Based on personal circumstances and the phase of the condition, appropriate medications may vary. But just in case you want to know the various medications that might be included in the medication program of someone who has osteoarthritis in his knees, read the information below.
One of the basic treatments that could be used in treating osteoarthritis of the knee is weight control. Various studies indicate that people who are overweight have a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis. And when that happens, the person will need to work at getting their weight down. This would help to reduce the stress on their joints, especially the joints that bear most of the weight. Proper exercise comes in very handy here. Physical activity like stretching and strengthening exercises are a great way to relieve yourself of pain and to have your joint movements improved. Such activity also helps build up the muscles around the joints so that these joints would be more damage resistant and stable. Another treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee is heat and cold therapy. Such treatment is known to reduce the swelling, stiffness, and pain in the patient’s knee.
Other treatments used in treating osteoarthritis of the knee are pain medications, stress control, and surgery. The last treatment mentioned is only advised if your osteoarthritis has become so severe. So if you don’t want to undergo such a procedure, it is better to have your osteoarthritis diagnosed as early as possible so that appropriate treatment could be administered right away. This would ensure that your condition would not worsen and that your need for surgery will be eradicated.
Some folks have experienced relief from their knee pain by using this natural herbal medicine. Those who have had success with this recommend a steady approach, giving it time to do its work.
In addition to receiving standard treatments for conditions like osteoarthritis, Americans spend billions of dollars each year seeking relief through alternative medicine options. These can include supplements, massage, yoga, and more.
So it’s important to know if these alternative therapies work. What does the scientific evidence say about which options can help?
Large review says acupuncture and tai chi are best
To answer this, researchers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health undertook a large review of randomized, controlled clinical trials.1 The review looked at a cross-section of 8 different alternative therapies and 5 different chronic conditions: back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, or migraines.
The review revealed two therapies that yielded statistically significant results for people with knee osteoarthritis more often than not: acupuncture and tai chi.
Acupuncture is an old Chinese practice that involves lying in a calm, relaxing environment while a practitioner places thin needles under the skin at strategic points. Some patients experience irritation at the needle insertion points, but for the most part, acupuncture is considered a safe and painless practice.
Tai chi also has origins in Eastern medicine. It involves standing and going through a series of slow, controlled, balanced movements. It also focuses on deep breathing and meditation techniques. Tai chi can be done with a group or alone, and it’s considered safe for all ages and abilities.
Other therapies are good options too
In addition to the “best” therapies listed above, the review also looked at other therapies that had more mixed results but are supported to treat people with knee osteoarthritis by some studies. This includes:
- The supplements glucosamine and/or chondroitin
- The supplement methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
The review also found no major adverse events for anyone using an alternative therapy, so it’s pretty safe to try different alternatives and see what helps you.
If you’re interested in trying one or more alternative therapies to ease symptoms of your osteoarthritis, talk with your doctor about which options would be best for you.
Reference: Evidence-Based Evaluation of Complementary Health Approaches for Pain Management in the United States. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Sep;91(9):1292-306. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.06.007.