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Nondrug Pain Relief Underused for OA

According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) guidelines, it is recommended for patients with osteoarthritis to try nondrug therapies, such as physical therapy and topical creams, for pain relief before medication. However, The Arthritis Foundation reported on a recent study that found more patients are taking NSAIDs as a first-line treatment.

Geoffrey H. Westrich, MD, hip & knee surgeon at HSS, said that the clinical guidelines from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) also recommend nondrug treatments before medications such as strengthening muscles with low-impact aerobic exercises.

"Physical therapy or a home exercise program with muscle strengthening may also help patients manage their pain, increase activity and potentially improve their quality of life," Dr. Westrich noted.

If patients have severe arthritis, Dr. Westrich said that joint replacement surgery may be the best option for permanent pain relief.

Read the full article at blog.arthritis.org