Osteoarthritis Treatment Pyramid
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees.
There is no pill or medication that offers a magical fix for osteoarthritis. For a long time, it was believed that surgery was the most effective method of treatment, and the fastest way to manage symptoms. However, after continued research, it was found that most people can manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis without surgery. This is what led to the creation of the Osteoarthritis treatment pyramid.
What is the Osteoarthritis Treatment pyramid?
The osteoarthritis treatment pyramid is a contemporary arthritis treatment method that aims to reduce symptoms and improve joint function more naturally with surgery being a last resort.
The bottom of a pyramid is the most important as it supports the weight of the entire structure. Accordingly, the treatment methods found at the bottom of the osteoarthritis treatment pyramid are considered cornerstone treatments that should be offered to all patients. These treatments include: education about osteoarthritis, supervised exercise, and weight control.
Everyone is different and therefore everyone requires a different level of treatment. As such, some people may need more help than others when it comes to symptom relief of osteoarthritis. Accordingly, the second level of treatment in the pyramid is for those who require this additional support. The second level of the pyramid is meant to compliment the first through the addition of things such as: TENS, manual therapy, braces, insoles, walking aids, and even pain relief medications.
The last level of the treatment pyramid is surgery. Most people that have osteoarthritis can effectively manage the symptoms without surgery and because of this, surgery should be a last resort.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis can be effectively managed without surgical intervention and can be done so in an enjoyable and educational way. The GLA:D Denmark team offers a program that helps manage the symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis without the need for medical intervention. This program can be done by anyone and focuses on treatment methods such as education, exercise, and weight control.
Registered Physiotherapist, Co-Owner of Thrive Now Physiotherapy