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Canberra Today 9°/13° | Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

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Time to get osteoarthritis help, says doctor 

In the lead up to World Arthritis Day, it’s a timely reminder for people to get help with their osteoarthritis. This is a sponsored post. 

IN the lead up to World Arthritis Day on October 12, it’s a timely reminder for people to get help with their osteoarthritis, says Dr Alexander Burns of Orthopaedics ACT. 

A condition that involves the chronic wearing out of a joint, Dr Burns says arthritis is characterised by pain, swelling, stiffness, loss of range of motion or a feeling of instability or untrustworthiness.

“Arthritis becomes more common as we age and it can be accelerated by damage to the joint surfaces, such as old sporting injuries,” says Dr Burns.

“It can impact a person’s ability to walk, run, exercise and even, when it’s really bad, perform simple activities like shopping, driving and sleeping.”

Dr Burns says the most important treatment for arthritis is educating oneself and trying to reduce factors that can make it worse, such as by losing weight or avoiding heavy lifting.

“Dietary supplements, such as fish oil and turmeric, have been demonstrated to help to reduce inflammation,” he says.

“Then there are simple pain relievers like paracetamol (panamax, panadol) and ‘NSAIDS’; non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like nurofen, voltaren, naproxen, ibuprofen and more.

“While NSAIDS can irritate the stomach lining and affect the kidney and blood pressure and should be used with oversight by your doctor, they are often very effective.”

Dr Burns also highlights the importance of exercise and physiotherapy, which he says has been shown to improve muscle strength, reduce pain and increase mobility.

“Once all else fails and restrictions to your quality of life are unacceptable, there is operative surgery, usually with joint replacement or realignment surgery,” he says.

“This can improve pain and function, whilst often not completely back to normal, it’s much better than prior to surgery.”

But for people concerned about a joint and are unsure where to start, Dr Burns says seeing your GP and having an x-ray is often the way to go.

“Referral to a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist to get a program of exercises to perform is often the next step,” he says.

“When pain and function are severe and present most days or particularly at night, your GP may refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon, who specialises in the surgical treatment of arthritis.”

Orthopaedics ACT, Woden Specialist Medical Centre, Level 2, 90 Corinna Street, Woden. Call 6221 9320 or visit orthoact.com.au

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