Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis greatly affects quality of life, and with no known cure, medical professionals can only aim to optimize quality of life, encourage self-management of the condition, delay disease complications, prevent acute episodes, and ward off disease progression (McKenzie & Torkington, 2010).

How is Osteoarthritis Treated?

It is crucial to note that the treatment of OA involves a multidisciplinary care approach with emphasis on goal setting. A detailed management plan needs tailoring to the individual patient’s preferences and circumstances and needs evaluating for effectiveness. A multidisciplinary collaboration permits the patient access to many non-pharmacological treatments provided by a variety of healthcare workers.

One specific focus of OA therapy is optimization of quality of life to decrease pain and improve function of joints. Patients should achieve optimal weight through nutritional education, dieting, low-impact exercise, and/or cognitive behavior therapy. Other treatments include multimodal physical therapy, tai chi, thermotherapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and acupuncture. Medications should be used based on severity of symptoms and must be tailored according to symptom response. Some patients may also benefit from glucosamine products and herbal supplements. If the symptoms are not adequately controlled with these conventional measures, joint replacement may be necessary (McKenzie, S. & Torkington, 2010).

Last reviewed 26/Feb/2014


  • McKenzie, S. & Torkington, A. (2010). Osteoarthritis. Australian Family Physician, 39(9): 622 – 626.
  • Petersson, I.F. & Jacobsson, L.T. (2002). Osteoarthritis of the peripheral joints. Best Practice & Research in Clinical Rheumatology, 16(5): 741 – 760.

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