Self Treatment for Arthritis
Many people's instincts are right about how to treat their osteoarthritis, reports Carlo Marra, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia. He's the lead author of a report that followed 190 people who were told they had knee osteoarthritis. Most people over fifty with knee pain are likely to be suffering from the condition, and according the study, many of these people are pursing self-treatment with good results.
Dr. Susan M. Goodman, an assistant attending rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, says, "People don't regard osteoarthritis as a disease as much as they consider it wear and tear, something they can take care of themselves."
Many of the subjects followed in the study were treating themselves by losing weight, initiating an exercise program, and taking over-the-counter medications such as ibruprophen, aspirin, and a nutritional supplement known as glucosamine. While glucosamine is not considered helpful and Marra contends patients in the study are better off taking acetaminophen, he acknowledges, "Most of the things they did were appropriate." He expressed disappointment that pharmacists were not more involved in the patient's care.
The good results of the self-treatment of osteoarthritis can be attributed to people being educated about the condition and aware of what treatments are recommended by medical professionals. However, Marra encourages people with knee pain and the possibility of osteoarthritis to see a health care provider for appropriate treatment. A consultation with a doctor is first, followed by appropriate medication, and a physical therapist to oversee any exercise program.