Many seniors spend less time participating in physical activities. Unfortunately, this can lead to seniors’ bones and joint health issues that cause inflammation, deformities, and pain in their fingers, knees, and hips. With that, simple things they used to do, such as buttoning a shirt, running the vacuum cleaner, and getting in and out of the bathtub, can become extremely painful and challenging.
Osteoarthritis (OA), commonly referred to as a degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It helps to seek early medical attention for any bone and joint pain, especially if your pain is persistent, severe, worsening over time, or associated with redness, swelling, a fever, unintentional weight loss, warmth, or a palpable lump or mass. Here are the best treatment and therapy techniques for senior bone and joint pain.
The diagnosis of OA is based on a combination of factors such as:
- Physical examination
- The pattern and location of pain
- Your description of the symptoms
- X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
If you go here, you can learn about X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to help confirm if you suffer from OA. X-rays show the degree of joint damage. On the other hand, an MRI is necessary to better look at the surrounding tissues and joints if the X-ray results don’t precisely point to OA. Sometimes, blood tests can be performed to determine if you have another form of arthritis.
Treatment for OA
Your treatment plan depends on your underlying diagnosis. Remember, for many bone-related diagnoses, the treatment regimen is quite complex, involving several techniques as follows:
Your healthcare provider can use medications to help reduce pain and address underlying issues.
Steroids. An example is Prednisone, which reduces pain and inflammation and slows joint damage. Side effects might include weight gain, diabetes, and thinning of bones.
NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Examples include naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil). NSAIDs are also available in gels or cream, which you can rub on joints or hips.
Counterirritants. An example includes Capsaicin cream, which helps block the nerves from sending pain signals from the joints to the brain.
Please consult your doctor about medications and review their side effects to avoid drowsiness, nausea, weight gain, and more.
Surgery can be used for reasons such as:
- Removing part of a bone enhances blood flow.
- Removing damaged tissues and bone.
- Stabilizing bone that has broken or is weakened.
It’s risky to undergo bone and joint surgeries, but it can effectively restore some functions and reduce discomfort.
Assistive devices can help if OA makes it challenging to perform daily tasks. A knee brace can provide stability and support if the affected part is near a joint (for example, your knee).
Practice these habits to slow down OA effects, delay surgery, and keep you healthier:
Stress makes your body release chemicals that trigger pain and inflammation. People with OA find that stress increases their discomfort. Avoid or reduce stress through listening to music, connecting with family and friends, meditation, and doing fun activities.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excessive weight gain can cause or worsen the symptoms because the extra weight adds pressure to your joints. Sudden or excessive weight can be problematic when OA affects the spine, knees, or hips. Ensure you combine regular exercises with a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight.
Choose a Healthy Lifestyle
Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, anti-inflammatory fats, and fruits can help you maintain a healthy weight. This will help alleviate OA symptoms like swelling and pain. Becoming more active and quitting smoking helps improve how you feel.
The Bottom Line
It’s possible to degenerate cartilage as you age. This results in inflammation and OA. However, the above therapies, lifestyle changes, and medications can help reduce your discomfort and pain. Most importantly, speak with your doctor to explore other treatment options if you have OA.