Osteoarthritis treatment based on stem cell discovery helps regenerate tissue, cartilage, and bone, according to research. The stem cells are mixed within human bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs), which were previously hard to distinguish due to similarities in appearance. The researchers isolated the individual MSCs and analyzed their properties, which allowed them to identify which stem cells were capable of repairing damaged cartilage or joint tissue.
Research lead Dr. Paul Genever said, “While stem cell therapy is an exciting new development for the treatment for osteoarthritis, up to now it has been something of a lottery because we did not know the precise properties of each of the cells. This project has helped us to establish which cells are good at regenerating tissue, cartilage, and bone, respectively. It will help in the search to develop more targeted therapies for arthritis patients.”
Co-lead author Dr. James Fox added, “Working with colleagues across the Arthritis Research UK Tissue Engineering Centre will help to bring our discovery closer to patient treatment.”
The goals of osteoarthritis treatment are to manage symptoms, improve mobility, maintain a healthy weight, and get enough exercise. By targeting these aspects, a person living with osteoarthritis can improve the quality of their life.
Some common treatments for osteoarthritis include:
Physical activity: Moving around when your joints hurt may not seem like a good idea, but physical activity can improve joint pain and stiffness in the long run. Strengthening exercises can help ease the burden on affected joints and reduce pain. Improving flexibility is important, too, as it eases stiffness, while aerobic exercises can help improve stamina and energy levels as well as help reduce weight (which otherwise adds extra stress to painful joints).
Weight management: Being overweight adds stress to the affected joints causing more pain. Reducing weight can help curb the pain as the burden is alleviated.
Stretching: Stretching is a gentle way to improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and alleviate pain. Yoga and tai chi are good ways to work out a guided stretching routine to improve osteoarthritis pain.
Medications: There are numerous medications that can be taken to treat osteoarthritis, including pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications.
Physical and occupational therapy: These therapy options can help you find different ways of performing daily tasks to ease pain. Therapists will educate you on how to use your joints effectively and what hot and cold therapies can do for pain relief, show you your range of motion and flexibility exercises, and train you to use assistive devices.
Assistive devices: Using a cane, scooter, walker, etc. can help reduce pressure and strain on painful joints, and help ease mobility.
Natural and alternative remedies: Some patients look to natural and alternative remedies, including massages, acupuncture, supplements, and hydrotherapy.
Surgery: Joint replacement is a common practice in osteoarthritis if damage has become quite severe.
These treatments for osteoarthritis can be used solely or in combination with other treatments to offer the greatest benefits. Work closely with your doctor to determine the best mode of treatment for you.