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Managing your osteoarthritis pain — the latest guidelines

Macquarie Media

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World Arthritis Day shone a light on osteoarthritis – a joint condition that impacts 2.2 million Australians.1 Manifesting as a ‘burning’ pain in the joints, 2,3 osteoarthritis mostly effects those over the ages of 40, especially if they are overweight or have suffered previous injuries in the knees, hips or wrists.4 These symptoms can make it hard to participate in what used to be simple activities, such as climbing stairs, walking long distances, chasing after the grandchildren, or sitting with bent knees for a long period of time.4

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, though movement and over-the-counter medication can assist to manage pain and keep the severity of the condition at bay for longer, according to Arthritis Australia.4,5

Recently, the recommendations on how to best treat your osteoarthritis pain have changed.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), updated their guidelines in 2018 for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis to include a recommendation for the use of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen for pain relief.6

Additionally, in August it was decided by the Therapeutic Goods Administration that modified-release paracetamol products, such as Panadol Osteo, will only be available behind the counter from 1st June 2020. This followed concerns around overdose management compared with standard paracetomol.7 In 2016, there were 8,341 cases of paracetamol overdose reported to the NSW Poisons Information Centre, and 818 (9.8%) of these involved modified-release paracetamol products.8

An effective anti-inflammatory such as Nurofen could help you work through your osteoarthritis flare-up pain2, so you can keep moving and better manage your condition for up to 8 hours. 9,10,11 After all, exercise and continued movement is the best way to manage your osteoarthritis pain long-term,4 though we know it can be hard to even think about moving if you’re in pain. Taking an oral NSAID (such as ibuprofen) as recommended by the RACGP will allow you to push through that initial pain barrier and keep active for as long as you’re able.6For an osteoarthritis treatment plan that suits your needs, make an appointment to see your GP. Find more information on how to best manage osteoarthritis pain, caused by inflammation here.

Nurofen contains ibuprofen. For the temporary relief of pain and inflammation, including osteoarthritis flare-up pain. This medicine may not be right for you. Read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

REFERENCES
1 – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Osteoarthritis. August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/osteoarthritis/contents/what-is-osteoarthritis
2 – Keith K. W. Chan, Loretta, w. T. Chan, Rheumatology Reports, Vol. 3. No. 1 (2011).
3 – Hawker GA et al. Understanding the pain experience in hip and knee osteoarthritis–an
OARSI/OMERACT initiative. Osteoarthr Cart 2008;16:415-422.
4 – Arthritis Australia. Taking control of your arthritis. Retrieved from: https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/ArthAus_Osteoarthritis.pdf
5 – Musculoskeletal Australia. Oseoarthritis. Retrieved from: https://www.msk.org.au/osteoarthritis/
6 – The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Guideline for the management of knee and hip osteoarthritis. 2nd edn. East Melbourne, Vic: RACGP, 2018.
7 – Australian Government Department of Health. Notice of final decisions to amend the current Poisons Standard – Modified Release Paracetamol. August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.tga.gov.au/book-page/14-final-decision-relation-paracetamol-modified-release
8 – Australian Government Department of Health. Modified Release Paracetamol – Application to Amend the Poisons Standard. Nov 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.tga.gov.au/sites/default/files/modified-release-paracetamol-01.pdf
9 – Malmstrom et al, 1999
10 – Malmstrom et al, 2004
11 – Mehlisch et al, 2010 (sponsored by RB)
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