Your doctor may prescribe prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the event you need a stronger dose to control your symptoms or need to switch medications due to side effects. As a class, prolonged exposure to NSAIDs has been known to increase the risk of gastrointestinal upset, bleeding from stomach ulcers, and kidney function compromise.
For those who cannot tolerate NSAIDs by mouth, there are topical creams that can help arthritis pain without the normal GI side effects. Generally these NSAID topicals are more expensive, but can relieve pain and decrease inflammation.
Oral steroids have been prescribed for OA. Like the NSAID class, steroids are effective at decreasing inflammation, however, their use has been limited due to side effects and potential complications with long term use.
If your pain is severe and uncontrolled, one of our providers may prescribe a short course of narcotics. This is usually only recommended for short term, as long term narcotic use is known to cause tolerance addiction and withdrawal problems.
Over the Counter Medications
Non-prescription pain relievers can help with OA symptoms. Most doctors recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol), because it has fewer side effects than other drugs. Because OA is an inflammatory condition, one of our providers may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Types of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Many of those who suffer from OA have found relief with supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and S-adenosylmethionine. Although studies have not proven their benefit, they are considered safe. We also carry over-the-counter topical solutions such as Hemp CBD oil, hemp seed balm, and hemp seed lotions for those who prefer not to or cannot swallow pills. Hemp seed topical solutions are FDA approved and do not cause any psychological symptoms.
Acupuncture is a treatment based on Chinese medicine. How it works is not entirely clear, yet some studies have found that acupuncture may provide short-term pain relief for people with OA. Chiropractic care can provide pain relief in patients who suffer from arthritis, particularly if the spine is involved. Cartilage transplant and micro-fracture surgery show some promising initial results, but are still under scrutiny and are not widely available. Unfortunately, we do not offer any of these services at ActiJoint.