Is osteoarthritis curable?
Cartilage damage to the joints can not be fully reversed. An existing arthritis is not curable, because lost articular cartilage does not grow. No treatment method can restore the original, healthy condition of the joint.
Osteoarthritis: treatment of symptoms
However, the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be treated. Various methods of therapy try to slow down or even stop the process of osteoarthritis. The cornerstones of treatment include relieving the joints (eg, through weight loss), exercise, massage, bath and heat therapy as well as medications.
- Exercise: Regular and targeted exercise is the best thing the patient can do to counteract his illness in all stages of osteoarthritis - which will help feed the cartilage better. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the movement exercises can be performed without pain. This is usually achieved with pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Medicines: Many innovative medicines for the treatment of inflammatory and degenerative joint diseases have been developed in recent years. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and COX-2 (selective) inhibitors are mainly used. The latter sabotage targeted the enzyme COX-2, which is responsible for the promotion of pain and inflammation, without affecting the stomach-protective COX-1. This makes them stomach friendly. In more severe cases, cortisone preparations are also used (as a tablet or injected into the joint). There is also the possibility to inject hyaluronic acid as a "lubricant" into the joint - the effectiveness is individually very different.
- Physical Therapy: Physiotherapy, massages and heating / cooling applications can be used as supportive services. They promote muscle growth and relieve the symptoms. Electrosurgery and ultrasound therapy can also positively influence the course of events.
Another option is surgery: either as a therapeutic articulation (arthroscopy), to compensate for malocclusions (osteotomy) or as an intervention in which an artificial joint (endoprosthesis) is used. In advanced cases, an artificial joint stiffening (Arthodese) is performed, which although the mobility limits, but the pain remedies.
Cartilage replacement techniques, in which the joint defect is replaced by new, possibly artificially bred cartilage, show success only in the initial stage; newer methods are currently still in trial.
Osteoarthritis can be limited by trying to minimize OA factors. This includes above all the regular exercise and the reduction of obesity. Strong (incorrect) loads z. B. by one-sided activities or joint-loading sports should be avoided.
Injuries and inflammation of the joints should be sufficiently cured before they are overstressed again. With such measures, one can at least increase the probability that osteoarthritis only occurs at an advanced age.