Osteoarthritis treatment guidelines have been updated by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK. NICE’s role (as they state it) is to support healthcare professionals and others to make sure that the care they provide is of the best possible quality and offers the best value for money.
Therefore these guidelines are important as they set out as osteoarthritis treatment guidelines GPs should recommend to help their 1 million patients in the UK alone.
Generally this advice is excellent, taking a common sense approach. The treatments they are suggesting are have been well researched and prove to help but don’t cripple the patient financially as well!
The New Osteoarthritis Treatment Guidelines include:
- Diagnose osteoarthritis clinically without investigations if a person is 45 or over and has activity-related joint pain and has either no morning joint-related stiffness or morning stiffness that lasts no longer than 30 minutes.
- Give advice on these core treatments including information on activity and exercise and interventions to lose weight if the person is overweight or obese
- Refer for consideration of joint replacement surgery before there is prolonged and established functional limitation and severe pain. Referral should be made irrespective of a person’s age and sex or whether they smoke or are obese.
- Offer regular reviews reviewing the effectiveness and tolerability of treatments and other points.
Professor Mark Baker who is Clinical Practice director at NICE, stated:
“There’s a common but mistaken belief that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of ageing and that it will get worse, but that’s not the case. This updated guidance provides EVIDENCE BASED recommendations on the most effective ways of diagnosing and managing osteoarthritis, to help improve the lives of people affected by it.
You see this is the problem. We read quite a lot in the newspapers and online about osteoarthritis and what we should and shouldn’t do but very little of this is EVIDENCE based.
The zinc story I reported on a few days ago is typical of this. It was a good, early stage piece of research done on MICE but after reading the article I wonder how many people have reduced their zinc intake. This may have a detrimental effect on their overall health.
Exercises are the Core of the New Osteoarthritis Treatment Guidelines
Professor Baker goes on to say:
“The guidance highlights that the core treatment for osteoarthritis remains EXERCISE – this not only helps relieve pain for some people but also improves function.”
This advice has been around for years. Nobody has come up with a better way of managing osteoarthritis pain. Yet how many of us have been given a decent exercise program by our Doctors? They are not hard to do and can be done at home with no special equipment. Click on this link to understand why exercises are the core of these osteoarthritis treatment guidelines.
The other thing the new guidelines suggest is that people are referred for replacement surgery quicker.
They are saying first try the core treatments of muscle strengthening, exercise, weight loss if people are overweight and analgesia. If these fail and the person still has pain that interferes with their daily life then the person should be sent for surgery before there is prolonged limited joint movement and severe pain.
Smoking and obesity should not affect the referral.
How fantastic is that! I have never understood why they let the joint get so stiff and misshapen before they operate. Or why the person to suffer so much before something is done about it.
The only thing that has not been updated is the drugs they are recommending. They will do this however when the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has finished their drug review into several analgesics, including paracetamol.
I consider these new osteoarthritis treatment guidelines to be a great step forward in the common sense management of this debilitating condition.
They also back exactly what I suggest in my book How To Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally but I will try not to get smug about that! In these simple to understand ebooks you will learn all the suggested core treatments (including a complete program of exercises specifically for osteoarthritis) plus a lot more besides. For under $20 it’s cheaper than going to the Doctor!