Osteoarthritis affects us all

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Treatments for Osteoarthritis

As of today, there is no existing cure for people with osteoarthritis, but the pain can be relieved and the disability reduced.
In practice, all experts agree that the best way to manage osteoarthritis is to combine pharmacological treatments with non-pharmacological measures. When patients do not respond to these treatments (anymore), they may consider surgery as a last resort.

Non-pharmacological treatments

There are plenty of non-pharmacological treatments: physiotherapy, physical exercises, weight loss (in case of obesity), walking aids, orthosis, heat/cold applications, acupuncture, TENS, etc.
They are indicated for all types of osteoarthritis (regardless of the age of the patient) and do not cause side effects.

Pharmacological treatments

There are also several pharmacological treatments: paracetamol-based drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), local NSAIDs (gel), curcumin-based products, slow-acting anti-arthritis drugs (SAARDs), corticosteroids Hyaluronic acid, opiates, etc. Some have significant (cardiovascular, digestive and renal) side effects and their prolonged use is discouraged.

Intra-articular treatments

Different types of injection can be proposed to the patient: corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, platelet-rich plasma


As a last resort, if other treatments have not been effective, the doctor may decide to resort to surgery.

Prosthesis placement, for example, may be considered in patients for whom other treatments have not worked. It is also possible to carry out chondrocyte autotransplantations.





Let us not forget that a treatment will be more effective if the patient receives proper and adequate information.
They must therefore be aware of the objectives of the treatments and of the importance of changing their lifestyle, doing exercise, adjusting their activities in accordance with the disease, losing weight, etc.
Moreover, it is also the role of the pharmacy team to convince the patient to follow these recommendations to the letter!


The information and advice given on this website are not a substitute for medical advice.

Translated from French by G. Johnen, 1st year Master's student in translation at the ULg.