Joint pain might just seem like par for the course when getting older – but it doesn’t have to be. If you are beginning to notice your joints stiffening up, clicking and crunching when you get up from your chair or becoming painful following a day of walking you might have osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis – often known as wear and tear arthritis – is a common condition affected around 1 in 10 American over the age of 60. If you already have a diagnosis of osteoarthritis you know how difficult it can be to treat. Luckily a new treatment known as hyaluronic acid is available as an injection and this may relieve symptoms significantly. But what is hyaluronic acid and does it actually work?
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative condition that can affect every single joint in the body. However, it is most commonly found in the knee or the hip. In the normally functioning joint, there is a protective spongy layer of cartilage which acts as a sort of shock absorber – stopping bone on bone contact that is incredibly painful. In those with osteoarthritis this spongy cartilage begins to wear out and as such causes significant pain in the joint.
What other options are available to treat osteoarthritis?
Your family GP may not be able to offer you hyaluronic acid but they will be able to offer you more simple management options. These can include:
- Simple analgesic painkillers like Ibuprofen
- Ibuprofen or pain killing gels to rub into the affected joints
- Physiotherapy exercises to keep the joint moving and improve the strength around it.
- Injections of steroids to reduce inflammation
- Surgical reconstruction may be offered as a last rest
If surgery doesn’t sound like your thing then consider getting in contact with a specialist clinic that offers hyaluronic acid injections. These are injections of a naturally occurring substance made up of cartilage matrix. This makes the joint more viscous and improves movement and reduces pain.
Does hyaluronic acid work?
A recent study conducted by researchers in Italy looked at Hyaluronic acid versus another new treatment (also offered by specialist clinics) known as PRP therapy. The study looked at 150 patients with severe osteoarthritis. They had 3 injections and were followed up at 2 and 6 months.
The results show that at two months both therapies resulted in significant improvements for patients with hyaluronic acid causing a slightly better improvement. The results were also better in both treatments at 6 months. The verdict is in – it seems like hyaluronic acid is a good alternative to current therapies in the management of joint pains caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from the pain of osteoarthritis – get in contact with a specialist clinic now to explore new treatment options including hyaluronic acid and PRP therapy