Can I Slow the Progression of Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that progressively worsens with time. With innovative approaches like platelet-rich plasma therapy that address the root of the issue, you can potentially slow the progression of arthritis.

More than 30 million adults in the United States are living with osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease often referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis. With OA, there’s a breakdown of joint cartilage that leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. 

What’s encouraging about osteoarthritis is that not only is it treatable, but there are effective strategies to slow its progression. Board-certified interventional pain management physician Maher Ibrahim, MD, and the rest of our Interventional Pain Management Associates team can put together a comprehensive treatment plan to ease your osteoarthritis symptoms and help your body heal. 

We offer cutting-edge platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, a treatment that stimulates your body’s natural healing abilities. We’ve put together some helpful information on practical strategies you can use to start on the path to relief right now. 

Risk factors for OA

OA occurs when the protective cartilage at the ends of bones wears down over time. While it can affect any joint, it most commonly impacts knees, hips, hands, and the spine. Risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Joint injuries
  • Obesity
  • Repetitive joint stress 

Understanding these factors is crucial in formulating a plan to manage your OA.

Weight management

One of the most impactful steps in managing OA is attaining a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight puts additional strain on weight-bearing joints like knees and hips, exacerbating OA symptoms. Even a small amount of weight loss can significantly reduce joint stress and pain. 

A combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, thereby easing the burden on your joints.

Regular exercise

Exercise is beneficial for people with OA, contrary to the common misconception that it might worsen joint pain. Regular physical activity strengthens the muscles around affected joints, improving mobility and reducing pain. 

Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling are particularly effective. Adding flexibility and strengthening exercises can improve joint function. 

Joint-friendly diet

When it comes to the foods you eat, they can play an active role in managing your OA symptoms. Anti-inflammatory foods like omega-3 fats found in fish and flaxseed as well as antioxidants from fruits and vegetables can help reduce joint inflammation and pain. 

Processed foods and those high in sugar and saturated fats promote inflammation and tend to trigger or worsen arthritis symptoms. Staying hydrated is also important as it helps maintain the lubrication of your joints.

PRP therapy for managing OA

PRP therapy involves using your own blood to create a concentrated source of platelets designed to stimulate healing and reduce inflammation in the affected joints. We draw a small amount of blood and put it in a centrifuged to concentrate the platelets. Then we inject the platelet-rich plasma into the affected joint.

Platelets are known for their high concentration of growth factors, which can aid in repairing tissues and reducing inflammation. This innovative approach is beneficial for its ability to not only relieve symptoms, but also to slow the progression of joint degeneration.

Incorporating PRP therapy into the broader context of OA management — which includes lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, and appropriate medication — can provide a comprehensive approach to dealing with this chronic condition. 

Routine checkups

Regular visits with us are essential to monitor your osteoarthritis and adjust your treatment plan as needed. Dr. Ibrahim can also provide valuable advice on lifestyle changes and other strategies to manage OA.

Living with osteoarthritis doesn't mean surrendering to it. You can actively combat OA, ease pain, and improve joint function. To discuss your treatment options, including PRP, contact us to set up an appointment with Dr. Ibrahim. Our office is located in Hamilton, New Jersey.