Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic degenerative joint disease characterized by loss of cartilage and bone strength due to overuse. OA affects approximately one out of every four adults in the United States1 and is estimated to affect up to 50 million Americans2 worldwide3. Although there are no specific treatments available for OA, lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and weight management may reduce symptoms4. However, many patients with OA continue to experience pain despite these efforts5. In addition to exercise, supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may be used to treat pain associated with OA6.
Pain is a complex experience that is made up of both physical and non-physical components, such as anxiety or depression. Pain can range from mild to severe and can be classified as either acute or chronic7.
Acute pain is the type of pain that arises suddenly due to an injury, medical procedure, or infection. Acute pain begins suddenly and lasts a relatively short amount of time, from a few days to months at the longest. This type of pain can typically be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil). Some patients may also benefit from treatment with anti-anxiety drugs or mild sedatives.
Chronic pain is the other type of pain that can be classified further into either continuous or recurring types. Recurring pain is typically defined by episodes of pain that come and go at regular intervals.
Some common types of recurring pain include migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, and lower back pain. These types of pain can be difficult to treat and may require a personalized treatment plan. Treatment plans for recurring pain may include antidepressants, lifestyle changes, biofeedback, or surgery.
There are also types of pain that are classified as non-specific. Non-specific pain is the type of pain you experience in the absence of any diagnosable medical condition or disease.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Osteoarthritis pain and its treatment (P Creamer – Current opinion in rheumatology, 2000 – journals.lww.com)
- Clinical validity of outcome pain measures in naturally occurring canine osteoarthritis (P Rialland, S Bichot, M Moreau, M Guillot… – BMC veterinary …, 2012 – Springer)
- Understanding the role of scientific evidence in consumer evaluation of natural health products for osteoarthritis an application of the means end chain … (T Tsui, H Boon, A Boecker, N Kachan… – BMC complementary and …, 2012 – Springer)
- Natural treatments for osteoarthritis (AR Gaby – Alternative Medicine Review, 1999 – anaturalhealingcenter.com)
- A review of translational animal models for knee osteoarthritis (MH Gregory, N Capito, K Kuroki, AM Stoker, JL Cook… – Arthritis, 2012 – hindawi.com)
- Understanding osteoarthritis pain through animal models (M O’Brien, HT Philpott, JJ McDougall – Clin Exp Rheumatol, 2017 – clinexprheumatol.org)
- Is patellofemoral osteoarthritis a common sequela of patellofemoral pain? (KM Crossley – 2014 – bjsm.bmj.com)