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Osteoarthritis Treatments and Medical Information

Introduction:  The goal of this web site is to provide education materials as well as local and national resources that can be used to treat Osteoarthritis.  Under each of the headings listed below is a brief summary of what is contained in each section and directions that might be useful for using the materials contained therein. 

Educational Materials:                                        
Complementary and alternative medicine focuses primarily on therapies that are currently in use, but that are not commonly part of medical treatment.  Once scientific testing has validated these treatments, they can provide substantial therapies to those in need.  These therapies are often inexpensive, home, and outpatient therapies not requiring a hospital stay.
Conventional Therapies focus primarily on using treatments that have over time proven to be effective in treating a certain ailment.  More often than not, these products require a prescription at the onset, but become so commonplace that they become approved for “over the counter “ dispensing.
As stated by the National Clinical Guidelines for Osteoarthritis, there are four main treatments that are recommended: Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Analgesics.   Ice should be applied for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day in order to alleviate swelling and redness.  If ice doesn’t alleviate swelling, compression should be applied using a bandage or medical tape.  The wrap should be removed and reapplied three to four times a day to insure proper circulation.  If the area is still inflamed, elevate the area to at or above your heart.  Analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) are recommended for by patients without liver problems, or who do not consume alcohol in excess.  NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen can be used safely and effectively when the patient has no history of stomach ulcers, liver problems, or any other diseases of the digestive system.

*Listed below are links to a chart listing treatment options and the exeriments that led to that treatment recomendation. Click the "PDF" or "Doc" button to open a copy of the chart.

Osteoarthritis Chart/Educational Materials



Collect Health Information/Severity Score
The WOMAC, or Western Ontario and McMaster Arthritis Index, uses 54 self reported questions scaled to represent various levels of Osteoarthritis symptoms.  Depending on the WOMAC number, certain treatments may be much more appropriate for certain symptoms. Included in this page is a section that will provide a severity score for patients suffering from OA.

Womac Chart

Decision Making Aids
In order for doctors and health professional to correctly diagnose Osteoarthritis as well as treat it effectively, health care providers must understand the mental and physical state of their patient.  To make this information a bit more transparent, we’ve included a printable aid that will help you to better explain your symptoms or feelings to your health care provider. Click the link(s) bellow to view the page:

Decision Making Aid


Resources for Arthritis
Education, though extremely helpful, cannot be completely effective with local community resources.  Listed below are links to national and local Stanford resources that provide classes and services that may help people in need of Osteoarthritis treatment. 

General Resources:

Stanford / Local Resource:  (offered at Foothill College)
tai chi for arthritis normally offered by the Stanford Health Improvement Program) (Integrative Treatments)





This document was last modified: May 8, 2007.
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