New Treatments for Arthritis

surgery home care Jupiter FlOver 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, or OA, an often debilitating disease caused primarily by wear and tear on the joints.  That number is more than any other chronic disease except cancer and heart disease.  In its most advanced form, OA can result in the complete loss of joint cartilage which causes bone to rub against bone.  In fact, there are approximately 885,000 knees and hips are replaced each year in the U.S.  OA has generated annual costs of nearly $186 billion dollars!

Until recently, the treatments have been limited to the standard regiment of anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise, physical therapy and eventual joint replacement.  However, in recent years, some lesser-known treatments have begun to emerge.

Synthetic Injections to the Rescue

Our joints are surrounded by a clear, gel-like lubricating substance called synovial fluid.  With that fluid is hyaluronic acid which deteriorates in those with osteoarthritis.  Doctors claim that approximately 70 percent of patients get 70 percent experience reduced pain from having a synthetic hyaluronic acid injected into the patients’ joints.

Similarly, platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, injections also have success with decreasing pain.  The process involves drawing blood from a patient and then spinning it to separate the platelets.  The concentrated platelets are then injected into a joint.

More recently, injections of stem cells have been used to treat knee injuries in professional athletes who report reduced pain.

Approved Drugs for Pain Relief

Cymbalta was approved in 2010 by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the  pain associated with OA. Originally approved to counteract major depressive disorders, Cymbalta boosts the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain.  These chemicals inhibit our ability to perceive pain.  The main problem is that Cymbalta doesn’t work for everyone, which has sparked researchers to seek out new ways to block nerve growth factors.

Doctors have high hopes for a medications called tanezumab.  Initial findings show the drug seems to inhibit nerve growth factors. Clinical trials were halted by the FDA in 2010 because some patients’ conditions actually worsened. After a re-examination process of the clinical data, the FDA has cleared the way for trials to resume.

home health nurse jupiter flCartilage Replacement

Osteoarthritis is incredibly painful due to the loss of cartilage.  As a result, researchers are focusing on finding ways to actually replace this connective tissue.  There is a process called Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation. Let’s just call it ACI.  The process involves doctors taking a small amount of cartilage from a patient’s joint.  They then cultivate the cells, seal the affected area and then inject the cultivated cells under the seal.  The only drawback is that it only works when the arthritis is contained in a small area.

However, doctors are excited about some recent research in which scientists were able to “prod” stem cells from bone marrow to act like cartilage.  This is in the early stages of development, but the goal is to come up with a process to regenerate cartilage.

Back to Basics

Until many of these treatments become the norm, it’s back to basics.  As of now, the best treatments for Arthritis are:

  • Lose Weight
  • Get More Exercise
  • Use Hot and Cold Therapy
  • Pain Medication
  • Get the Right Fatty Acids in Your Diethome care agency Jupiter Fl
  • Get a Massage
  • Add Tumeric to your Meals
  • Consider Herbal Supplements
  • Consider Acupunture


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