Carolinas HealthCare System

Sports Medicine & Injury Care
Osteoarthritis: Simple Strategies to Relieve Pain
Relieve Pain Caused by Osteoarthritis

Sports Medicine & Injury Care offers same-day appointment scheduling

To schedule an appointment with Sports Medicine & Injury Care call 704-863-HURT or visit our website.

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You may worry that as you age, you’ll be plagued by arthritis aches and pains. But suffering the pain of osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, isn’t inevitable – you can manage this condition and reduce pain with assistance from your doctor along with some helpful strategies.

Treatments to Try
When the cartilage wears down in a joint, the two bones begin to rub together, causing pain and hindering movement. Many osteoarthritis treatments can ease pain and prevent the condition from worsening.

“Getting [the condition] looked at earlier rather than later can affect how it needs to be treated down the road,” said Judi L. Tassone, MD, a rehabilitation medicine specialist at Sports Medicine & Injury Care at Carolinas HealthCare System.

You doctor may first recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for pain and swelling. Over-the-counter and prescription-strength versions are available. NSAIDs aren’t for everyone, though — they can raise blood pressure, irritate your stomach lining and affect kidney function. Another option is opioid analgesics, such as hydrocodone, for pain relief.

If medication doesn’t help, your doctor may offer cortisone steroid injections, which can reduce pain and swelling for months at a time.

Finally, when other options fail, some patients have joint replacement surgery. “It has added years to the lifespan, because people can return to a more productive level of mobility, which is helpful for the heart,” Dr. Tassone said.

The Importance of Exercise
Maintaining an active lifestyle is essential, even with medication or surgery. Physical therapists can teach you how to strengthen the muscles around painful joints to improve your condition.

Regular exercise can reduce pain, even if getting moving initially hurts. “Think of your body like a car,” said Dr. Tassone. “The car isn’t going to work as well if you keep it sitting in the garage and don’t run the engine.”

Exercises like stretching, strengthening, and walking are helpful for those who have osteoarthritis. “Aquatic exercise can help, too,” Dr. Tassone added. “I encourage my patients to look for programs in local YMCAs, churches or county aquatic centers.” Be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

“It’s simple,” said Dr. Tassone: “If you’re good to your body, you can avoid the painful progression of osteoarthritis.”

Don’t Accept Arthritis Pain – Defy It!
Dr. Tassone or one of our other board-certified physicians at Sports Medicine & Injury Care can help manage and treat your osteoarthritis. Eight Sports Medicine & Injury Care centers are conveniently located throughout the community and offer same-day appointment scheduling. To schedule an appointment, call 704-863-HURT or visit our website.

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