News & Updates
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If you have OA, we recommend you try the simplest, easiest, least expensive options first. Do what works, until it's not working for you anymore.
Immediate Pain Relief
Pain Medication: Simple, over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be sufficient. Studies have shown that adequate doses of acetaminophen can be as effective as prescription anti-inflammatory medications and it's less likely to upset your stomach.
Pain-Relieving Creams: Creams such as capsaicin (Arthricare, Zostrix), methyl salicylate (Bengay, Icy Hot), and menthol (Flexall) which are applied directly to your knee may relieve the pain temporarily.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Glucosamine and chondroitin are compounds of normal cartilage. These nutritional supplements are available in pharmacies and health food stores without prescription. They are the building blocks for cartilage. The supplements are well-tolerated and safe. Because these supplements stimulate the production of new cartilage components, it is thought that the supplements may be able to help the body repair damaged cartilage. It has not been proved that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates rebuild cartilage. However, there is evidence that these compounds reduce pain from osteoarthritis, and hopefully slow down the progress of osteoarthritis usually within several weeks to months after initiating therapy.
The supplements are marketed under different names, with different strengths. The recommended dosage is 1,500 mg/day. It usually cost about $30/month to take the recommended dosage.
As with any medication you should always consult with your physician before beginning taking it.
Other Medications: If acetaminophen and creams don't work, you may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxers.
Rest: Yes, you may just need to slow down a bit and give your knees time to relax before moving on to your next activity.
Relief within Weeks
Exercise: Exercise is the most effective non-drug treatment. It reduces pain and improves movement, and increases flexibility. When your leg muscles are weak, your joints have to take up the slack and do some of the muscle's work. This adds stress to the knee joint, causing pain. Swimming is an excellent exercise for OA of the knee because you can build muscle with minimal impact on the knee joint. Other exercises are walking, stationary cycling and light weight training. Always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Physical or Occupational Therapy: If exercising doesn't bring pain relief, your doctor may recommend physical or occupational therapy to train specific muscles.
Longer Term Relief
Lose Weight: One of the major causes of stress on your knees is excess weight. For every excess pound you lose, you spare your knees three pounds of stress. Whatever other treatments you try, whether it's medications, exercise, Joint Fluid Therapy or knee replacement surgery, losing excess weight will make the treatment far more effective. Excess weight may be the main cause of your OA, so losing it will make the biggest difference in your pain relief. Eating a healthier diet will help you lose weight, but also the right foods can actually reduce inflammation. Adding more vegetables, fruit, nuts, tea and chocolate to your diet will help. So will foods with Omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon and albacore tuna.
Wear Proper Shoes: Get rid of your flip-flops, loose sandals and high heels. Wear New Balance or other shoes that provide proper support.