Chronic Pain From Osteoarthritis & Osteoarthritis Treatment Options


December 8, 2022

/ Learn / Chronic Pain From Osteoarthritis & Osteoarthritis Treatment Options

Nearly ten percent of adults in the United States suffer from osteoarthritis (OA). Similar to other chronic conditions like osteoporosis and peripheral neuropathy, osteoarthritis is a chronic pain condition largely affecting older patient populations. However, patients who suffer from OA can expect to experience its symptoms in most joints throughout the body. In an effort to understand the conditions of pain, such as OA and peripheral neuropathy, medical science has determined that pain emerges from a variety of factors and causes

However, it has been well-established that pain is a communication delivered by neurons along the routes of nerves that trace back to the brain. It is because of this understanding of the nature of nerves that we can determine the condition and its effective methods of treatment. While conditions like peripheral neuropathy, OA, and any other objective development of pain share the same network for communicating that pain, the cause of pain associated with diverse conditions vary. And so, physicians must delineate between conditions of pain because of the variation of causes throughout the body and the pain they exhibit.

Osteoarthritis Is A Condition That Affects The Joints

For example, the symptoms of OA, when compared to peripheral neuropathy, are not entirely the same and patients who are familiar with the nonsurgical treatments for peripheral neuropathy often must look elsewhere to treat the conditions of OA. While peripheral neuropathy causes tingling, burning, and numbness in the extremities, OA manifests itself with symptoms of bone spurs, stiffness, and pain specifically targeting the joints.

Similar To Peripheral Neuropathy But Has Different Symptoms

Unfortunately, there have been cases where patients suffer from peripheral neuropathy in conjunction with OA. While there are varying treatment options for both of these conditions, both surgical and non-surgical, the options differ between the two. Patients suffering from both may wish to look for one solution that will treat the pain they experience on a daily basis.

Those With Osteoarthritis For A Long Time Often Consider Surgery

Those who have suffered from OA for years will often consider more drastic and surgical solutions to the pain of this diagnosis without considering nonsurgical options. One of the most prominent surgical solutions for OA was discovered in the 1950’s and 60’s by Dr. John Charnley who successfully treated the condition with an invasive procedure called arthroplasty. The procedure was widely successful and continues to be the preferred method for surgical treatment of osteoarthritis. However, surgical options such as arthroplasty are not considered for patients who have had success maintaining their OA pain through non-surgical treatment.

On Invasive Procedures Such As Arthroplasty

In a medical assessment and survey of advancements in treating OA, Professor K.D. Brandt of the Indiana University School of Medicine found that “[r]ecommendation of total joint arthroplasty for the patient with OA, however, is tantamount to an acknowledgement of the failure of medical management. The surgical procedure is often performed after the patient has experienced years, or even decades, of pain and disability” (2004)

Patients who have sought treatment for their OA who are familiar with the “medical management” referred to by Professor Brandt may not have even considered that arthroplasty is only considered for patients who have suffered from its symptoms for years and even decades. This means that even patients who would choose to undergo drastic surgery to relieve their pain may not have the same recommendation from their doctor before years of living with debilitating pain.

Some Are Disappointed That Surgery Is Not A Cure-All For Their Pain

While this news may not be surprising to some who have sought immediate and lasting relief for their pain, it is no less of a disappointment. Still, there are those who are wary of surgical procedures to cure their OA and have lasting relief from pain and understandably so. 

Elective, non-emergency surgery is a heavy decision that would weigh on the mind of any patient. Naturally, most patients will seek more mild solutions that will not require surgery, solutions that will help them manage the pain without necessarily treating the problem.

When Osteoarthritis Symptoms Interferes With Your Quality Of Life

Given the fact that osteoarthritis causes severe chronic pain and reduced mobility, it isn’t surprising that studies have been able to confirm a direct correlation between OA and a lower perceived quality of life

Beyond simply preventing you from moving freely as you used to, OA can lead to a withdrawal from social activities, reduced work performance, and inhibited productivity. 

To understand the magnitude of the impact of OA, it’s enough to look at a few statistics. Today, over 43% of those with arthritis aged 18 years or older report arthritis-related activity limitations. This percentage accounts for nearly 24 million adults. Additionally, in the US, OA is the third most influential cause of work disability, after back problems and mental health disorders. A review published in 2022 also shows that nearly 20% of those with osteoarthritis experience depressive symptoms. 

So, what can you do when the symptoms of OA start interfering with your life?

Firstly, it is important to understand that osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints. This means that, while symptoms might seem mild in the beginning, they are likely to become exponentially worse. However, the degenerative nature of OA also means that introducing preventive measures early on can limit the intensity of symptoms and prevent serious complications. 

For those patients who are already suffering from severe osteoarthritis, the most important step to take is to educate themselves about the treatment options available. 

This is because when you suffer from chronic pain, it can be tempting to resort to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroid injections. While they might be short-term solutions, patients and healthcare providers should be aware of the physiological and psychological side effects of these pharmaceutical treatments, which include dependency. 

What’s more, patients with OA live an average of 30 years with the disease, which makes it of paramount importance to find alternative options to medications and surgery. Both patients and doctors should look at therapies that are drug-free, non-invasive, and do more than simply temporarily ease the symptoms of OA. 

In particular, regenerative medicine options are able to help each patient regain mobility, ease pain, and magnify their lives, without surgery or medications. Let’s look at alternative methods of pain management.

Alternative Methods Of Pain Management

With the fear of surgery weighing on the minds of many who suffer from OA, alternative methods of pain management accumulate and are tested for their efficacy. Below, we’ll look at the reasons why NSAIDs can’t be considered a long-term strategy for pain management and explore alternative methods of treatment.

The Use Of NSAIDs And Its Dangers

NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen and even high-strength opioids. With the addition of NSAIDs into a patient’s lifestyle as a method of pain management, the tolerance for these drugs increases relative to the size of each dose. 

As patients acclimate to a higher dose of NSAID, their dependence on these drugs for more frequent temporary pain relief increases and unfortunately, the efficacy of these drugs declines. In many cases, patients will turn to the next level of pain relief which will likely take them down the track of opioid use, ultimately ending in high-strength opioids, which present a very real risk of addiction and potential overdose.

Can Cause Serious Side Effects

Nearly 60% of people in the US affected by chronic pain resort to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a way to manage their pain in the long term. But while these medications are easily accessible as OTC drugs and often affordable, they don’t come without side effects. 

Some of the ones patients with osteoarthritis should be aware of include the following ones:

  • Neurological effects – High doses of NSAIDs can be neurotoxic, meaning that they interfere with the functioning of the central nervous system. In turn, this can lead to a cascade of symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, vertigo, disorientation, and an increased risk of falls. 
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding and peptic ulcers – NSAIDs can inhibit the functioning of prostaglandins (hormone-like chemicals that protect the gastric mucosa) and platelets (the blood cells responsible for healing wounds). In the stomach, this can lead to lesions of the mucosa that lines the gastrointestinal system, while also preventing healing. GI ulcers and bleeding can cause shock, anemia, holes in the stomach walls, and stomach cancer. 
  • Increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke – NSAIDs interfere with the chemicals in the body responsible for preventing blood clots. In turn, this can lead to obstructed arteries that should supply blood and oxygen to the brain and heart. Additionally, these drugs can cause vasoconstriction or the narrowing of blood vessels, thus inhibiting blood flow. A sudden interruption of blood supply to the brain or heart can lead to a stroke or myocardial infarction, respectively. The risk of these complications increases significantly even after just 7 days of taking the drug.
  • Impaired kidney function – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce the blood flow to the kidneys which, in turn, can lead to the accumulation of salt, excessive water, and waste material. If not addressed this can cause improper kidney function and, in severe cases, Acute Renal Failure.

Can Interact With Other Medications

Although most NSAIDs are available as over-the-counter medications, they shouldn’t be used carelessly – nor by everyone. 

In particular, it is important to notice that combining NSAIDs with blood-thinning medicines can lead to an increased risk of bleeding, especially in the digestive tract. This is because both medications interfere with the normal functioning of platelets, thus reducing their healing power and preventing them from forming blood clots when needed. 

Additionally, combining NSAIDs with diuretics (medications used to remove fluids in excess) and drugs used to lower blood pressure, such as ACE inhibitors, can have serious side effects:

  • By restricting blood flow to the kidneys, NSAIDs can make diuretics inefficient, thus causing a serious risk in people with congestive heart failure treated with diuretics. 
  • NSAIDs can cause the narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction), thus inhibiting the effect of ACE inhibitors, which aim to lower blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels. This can increase the risk of heart problems. 

Given the increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, and high blood pressure associated with NSAIDs, these medications should be avoided by people at a higher risk of kidney failure and heart problems.

Carries Potential Risks For People Taking Them

Perhaps one of the greatest risks of NSAIDs is that those who take them regularly to manage chronic pain are unaware of the risks and side effects they are exposing themselves to. 

In a study conducted in 2011, nearly 55% of people taking NSAIDs chronically to manage knee osteoarthritis were not aware of their toxicity, and 80% were not informed on the side effects of COX-2 inhibitors – the main compounds in common NSAIDs such as Celecoxib (Celebrex®).

So, if surgery and painkillers are out of the question, where can patients turn for an effective treatment for their osteoarthritis?

The Discovery Of Viscosupplementation

In the year 2000, a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of another nonsurgical treatment known as viscosupplementation was conducted. While the clinical trials of viscosupplementation were in their infancy, Dr. John Watterson found that “. . . the lack of systemic side effects and the potential lasting effects make it an appealing option” (2000). 

The process of viscosupplementation is best described as a loosening and relaxing of the joints that feel stiff and rusted over. This nonsurgical option uses a safe compound called hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid In Viscosupplementation

Hyaluronic acid has been USDA approved for decades, and Dr. Watterson attests to this benefit by stating that “[t]he US Food and Drug Administration approval of hyaluronic acid as a device has avoided the need for meeting the more stringent criteria for approval as a drug”. 

Decades later, the use of hyaluronic acid in viscosupplementation has remained an effective and affordable solution to treat osteoarthritis. Relatyv uses this treatment for osteoarthritis in conjunction with its proprietary pain-relieving protocols known as Neuralgesia. 

While viscosupplementation relieves pain by cushioning and loosens the joints affected by OA, Neuralgesia treatments further reduce the pain through a combination of high-pulse electrical stimulation and specialized hydration therapy. 

Many patients experiencing the symptoms of OA report relief after only one session with Relatyv. Patients experience greater mobility, strength, and requisition of the motor skills they used to enjoy completing their daily tasks.

Relatyv: A Breakthrough Discovered

Relatyv is a non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical, non-invasive, and non-chiropractic pain treatment program. The mission of Relatyv is to relieve pain, restore health, and magnify quality of life without drugs, surgery, or invasive procedures. It is also our vision to be the first thought, first choice, and first step in the journey of chronic pain management.

Relatyv Treats Chronic Pain As Its Purpose And Foundation

At Neurganex, we understand how easy it is to rely on NSAIDs to manage the debilitating pain deriving from osteoarthritis. However, we are also fully aware of the catastrophic consequences that these therapies can have on a person’s life – from causing exposure to side effects to creating dependency. We also don’t underestimate the psychological impact that seeing your everyday life tied to taking medications can have. 

That is why our mission is to look beyond simply easing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Thanks to a combination of highly advanced treatments, we are able to provide the highest quality care along with personalized attention – each and every time. This means that our patients receive treatment programs that are designed around their unique symptoms, lifestyle needs, treatment preferences, and, above all, health goals. 

By delivering innovative therapies such as viscosupplementation and electroanalgesia, we can help you free yourself of drugs and chase away the fear of needing surgery. But beyond this, we are dedicated to helping you regain control over your health and mobility, relieve pain, and return to living your life to the fullest.

Get Pain Relief Without Medications, Surgery, Or Invasive Procedures

Thousands of patients have found pain relief without medications, surgery, or invasive procedures using Relatyv treatment protocols. Many patients experience relief from pain after just one treatment. Patients who suffer from chronic pain, including pain from chronic neuropathy and osteoarthritis, report relief after starting our treatment sessions.

About the Author

Will is a healthcare executive, innovator, entrepreneur, inventor, and writer with a wide range of experience in the medical field. Will has multiple degrees in a wide range of subjects that give depth to his capability as an entrepreneur and capacity to operate as an innovative healthcare executive.

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