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Archive for July, 2011

Cortisone Injection

Cortisone Injection

How many cortisone injections can I get?

Though there is no hard and fast rule as to how many injections a person can get, often physicians do not want to give more than three.  Cortisone is not a long-term solution for treating osteoarthritis.  It is a quick-fix to relieve pain.  There are practical limitations to the number of shots a patient can receive.

If a rash or swelling develops at the injection site, or if the effects wear off quickly, then it may not be worth revisiting this treatment option.  Also, studies on animals have shown that cortisone injections can weaken cartilage and tendons.

Use at your own risk.



Ice Gel Pack

Ice Gel Pack

A Cochrane review abstract looked at the effectiveness of thermotherapy for treating knee osteoarthritis.  They looked at three randomized-controlled clinical trials that used hot or cold therapy to treat OA of the knee.

The main results were that ice massage had a statistically beneficial effect on range-of-motion, knee function, and knee strength.  Also, hot packs had no beneficial effect on swelling compared to cold therapy.  Cold packs were shown to reduce swelling.



arthroscopy

arthroscopy

In a recent policy article, health insurance giant Aetna considers arthroscopic debridement and lavage for osteoarthritis of the knee experimental and investigational because its effectiveness has not been established.

The only people Aetna considers arthroscopic debridement and lavage medically necessary are for those with mild to moderate osteoarthritis who have loose bodies or meniscal tears in their knees.

This means Aetna is reading the literature.  They based their policy on 40 different references from medical journals and scholarly articles.  Arthroscopic debridement and lavage is not an effective treatment option for many people with knee osteoarthritis.



4th of July and OA

4th of July and OA

A great way to treat your knee osteoarthritis is with a healthy diet.  Eating right can reduce pain and increase function in your arthritic knees.  For every ten pounds a person is overweight the stress on their knees increases by 30 to 40 pounds.  Multiple studies have shown that losing weight will ease the pain of knee osteoarthritis.

If you have OA, manage your diet this holiday weekend and manage your pain.  Enjoy your 4th of July BBQ – just enjoy it with more fruits and vegetables.



Turmeric

Turmeric

A recent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports that certain turmeric extracts are as effective as ibuprofen from treating osteoarthritis.  Over 100 patients with knee osteoarthritis participated in the study.  Each patient received either Ibuprofen or turmeric on a daily basis for six weeks.

When the study concluded improvement in pain scores were assessed for level walking, stairs, and overall knee function.  The study found no significant difference between the groups!  This means eating curry works just as well as Motrin!