An Australian company has done some innovative research into who will benefit from drugs for osteoarthritis. Some people get good pain relief from their medication while others get virtually no relief at all. So they asked the question why?
Click on the links to read the detail about this research about who would benefit from which drugs for osteoarthritis but basically the test weans out those who will respond to drugs for osteoarthritis rather than those who will go on to develop chronic pain.
Who Will And Who Will Not Respond To Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs for Osteoarthritis
I actually think there is a much more simple way of telling.
Firstly you need to find out what is causing most of the pain. Osteoarthritis is degeneration of the cartilage. This happens because the joint is dysfunctional otherwise all our 360 joints would wear out together and let’s face it even when someone does develop say knee or hip OA because they are over weight they still usually get it in one to start with. Then as they get pain they shift their weight to the other side and develop it in the other!
So if you have joint dysfunction the muscles, tendons and ligaments (soft tissue) around the affected joint become inflamed. That is why for some people anti-inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis work even though it is a non inflammatory arthritis.
So if you want to know whether a person will respond to an anti inflammatory simply take a look at it and ask two questions:
1.Is it red. hot or swollen? Yes- then it is inflamed.
2. Is the movement reduced? If it is then test it by bending the joint as far as it will go. Gently spring on the joint and if the end feel is springy it is the scarring in the soft tissue causing problems. If it is hard then it is bone.
I was taught this in my first year at Chiropractic College. The problem is so few Doctors get out of their chairs and make a physical exam for osteoarthritis.
So Why Do These Drugs for Osteoarthritis Not Work for Some People?
Soft tissue holds a joint in the correct place and keeps it held there while moving it.When soft tissue becomes chronically inflamed it becomes scarred and shortened. The shortening of the soft tissue has two effects:
1. It causes the joint to become more dysfunctional setting up an increased inflammatory response.
2. The shortening pulls the joint closer together which squashed the worn cartilage more which increases the pain from the actual wear and tear. As anti-inflammatory drugs don’t help with this type of pain the don’t get any pain relief.
So how can you break this cycle? There is a simple answer and that is physical therapy. In the latest guidelines do not recommend anti inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis. It doesn’t stop the Doctors continuing to prescribe drugs for osteoarthritis though rather than sending people to the non surgical muscloskeletal experts who are the chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists!
If you are taking drugs for osteoarthritis ask yourself what are they really doing for me and is there a better way to control my pain. If anti- inflammatory drugs help there certainly is. Ice, heat, self massage and exercises will not only reduce the amount pf pain and stiffness you suffer but they will also allow you to do more before you get the pain.
Sign up for my free 3 day course. You will learn that I am not anti drugs for osteoarthritis but I believe they should be used as PART of a management plan.