Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

by Will Bozeman

As I start out most articles on osteoarthritis, (OA) affects almost 33 million adults in the United States alone and more people are diagnosed daily across the nation with this chronic condition. Like peripheral neuropathy, osteoarthritis is a condition that often manifests in the knees, fingers, and toes of patients who have been diagnosed with it. However, patients who suffer from OA can expect to experience its symptoms in most joints throughout the body. The symptoms of OA, when compared to peripheral neuropathy, are not entirely the same and patients who are familiar with the nonsurgical treatments for peripheral neuropathy often look elsewhere to treat the conditions of OA. While peripheral neuropathy causes tingling, burning, and numbness in the extremities, OA manifests itself with symptoms of bone spurs, stiffness, and pain specifically targeting the joints. It’s also common for patients to have both neuropathy and OA simultaneously, and that is even harder to manage. While there are varying treatment options for both of these conditions, both surgical and nonsurgical, the options differ between the two so much that patients suffering from both may wish to look for one solution that will treat the pain they experience on a daily basis. This means a one-size-fits-all approach to the pain is often the objective because there’s not much else that can be done.

We have discussed in previous articles the conditions and nonsurgical treatment options available to patients with peripheral neuropathy and how Neuragenex is creating and pioneering the field of Neurofunctional Pain Management with its proprietary Neuralgesia treatment protocol. Neuralgesia is a combination of high pulse electrical stimulation and specialized hydration therapy to produce an enhanced pain relief effect that can last for months after a course of treatment. Neuralgesia is a non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical, non-invasive, and non-chiropractic treatment program that produces an enduring pain relief effect for those suffering from chronic neuropathy or osteoarthritis pain. Neuralgesia is a next generation pain management treatment option when weighed against other conventional options. The question that will be weighed in this article is the efficacy of Neuragenex treatment options for OA when weighed against more conventional nonsurgical treatments. Patients who choose not to rely on pharmaceuticals, perhaps fearing the risk of dependency or addiction, and patients who are wary of seeking surgical treatment to alleviate chronic pain should first look to Neuragenex technology for a solution to their pain. After all, wouldn’t anyone want to try the least invasive option first and move on to surgeries and medications as a secondary effort or last resort?


Available Conventional Treatments


Those who have suffered from OA for years will often consider more drastic and surgical solutions to the pain of this diagnosis without considering nonsurgical options. One of the most prominent surgical solutions for OA was discovered in the 1950’s and 60’s by Dr. John Charnley who successfully treated the condition by an invasive procedure called arthroplasty. The procedure was widely successful and continues to be the preferred method for surgical treatment of osteoarthritis. However, surgical options such as arthroplasty are not considered for patients who have had success maintaining their OA pain through non-surgical treatment.

Surgical Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

In a medical assessment and survey of advancements in treating OA, Professor K.D. Brandt of the Indiana University School of Medicine found that “[r]ecommendation of total joint arthroplasty for the patient with OA, however, is tantamount to an acknowledgement of the failure of medical management. The surgical procedure is often performed after the patient has experienced years, or even decades, of pain and disability” (2004). Patients who have sought treatment for their OA who are familiar with the medical management comment referred to by Professor Brandt may not have even considered that arthroplasty is only considered for patients who have suffered from its symptoms for years and even decades. This means that even patients who would choose to undergo drastic surgery to relieve their pain, may not have the same recommendation from their doctor before years or even decades of living with debilitating pain. While this news may not be surprising to some who have sought immediate and lasting relief for their pain, it is no less of a disappointment. Still, there are those who are wary of surgical procedures to cure their OA and have lasting relief from pain and understandably so. Elective, non-emergency surgery is a heavy decision that would weigh on the mind of any patient. Naturally, most patients will seek more mild solutions that will not require surgery– solutions that will help them manage the pain.

Non-surgical Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

When we speak of nonsurgical options for treatment, we must consider that these treatments are not always recommended or even effective for many patients who suffer from the pain of any condition. However, for OA, seeing how it has affected and continues to affect millions of adults in the United States alone, there has been extensive research done in search of a treatment or a cure that does not involve extensive and invasive surgery. Unlike cases of peripheral neuropathy, which increase daily with cases of diabetes around the world, cases of OA have remained steady among American adults and have remained static since the 1950’s, increasing with the constantly increasing age of the high-volume aging population, with the prevalence largely remaining the same. We must qualify that although cases of OA have remained steady by prevalence, this does not mean total cases haven’t been increasing. Prevalence refers to the percentage of the demographic with this issue and as greater percentage of the population age we see more cases across the board. This has contributed to a steady and persistent level of research into a treatment for the condition and this should be welcome relief for anyone seeking said treatment. Unfortunately, research from several in the medical community conclude that effective treatment for osteoarthritis is elusive and often lacks the efficacy desired by both patients and their doctors.

With the need for effective nonsurgical treatment of osteoarthritis being sought by patients, even professionals in the medical community like Professor Brandt are frustrated at the lack of effective options available to their patients. Professor Brandt, after surveying through the available options, their limited benefits, and many side-effects, states that “. . . we surely need better and safer drugs to treat OA symptoms” (2004). The last thing patients of OA want to hear is that the symptoms they are attempting to treat with better and safer drugs are met with sometimes worsening side-effects.

Throughout the survey of treatments, Professor Brandt also concludes that some drugs had little to no effect in a clinical trial when compared to the effects of a placebo. It is perhaps most dissapointing to hear this statement which sums up the entirety of Professor Brandt’s concern: “Despite enormous increases in our understanding of pain mechanisms and of the metabolism, biochemistry, and molecular biology of articular cartilage . . . our track record for the development of more efficacious drug treatment for OA is discouraging”. This is not to say that treatments do not exist for osteoarthritis; in fact, there are several. The issue, which Professor Brandt brings succinctly to the forefront, is the issue of efficacy.

The most popular nonsurgical treatment for OA is the use of nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are diet supplements that claim to improve the medical condition, quality of life, or life expectancy and health of an individual when used in tandem with healthy foods. The general assumption of nutraceutical efficacy works in tandem with the patient’s willingness to live a healthy lifestyle. The specific nutraceuticals that treat OA include glucosamine and chondroitin methylsulfonylmethane. The efficacy of these treatments has been debated among peers in the medical community for decades. Notwithstanding, Dr. Begum Yurdakok Dikmen, a Turkish physician counters that nutraceuticals have been introduced as a form of treatment over the centuries and that many suffering from osteoarthritis look to them for a solution.

In a study on nutraceuticals done in 2016, Dr. Dikmen grappled with the fact that “[r]egulations regarding the quality and safety of nutraceuticals are still being debated . . .” (2016). This is in part due to the medical community’s skepticism of nutraceuticals being seen as an alternative medicinal treatment for OA. However, Dikmen states that nutraceuticals are still being considered by governmental bodies that will continue to “. . . develop strategies together with the public to enlighten the benefits supported by solid scientific evidence”. Understandably, skepticism continues to be a persistent hindrance for the use of nutraceuticals in the treatment of osteoarthritis. This skepticism lies not only in physicians with patients who suffer from osteoarthritis but in the patients themselves. Many would rather consider a lasting treatment that they know will work for them before ingesting a nutraceutical with which they are unfamiliar.

A study conducted by Marco AntônioPercope de Andrade M.DPh.D. concluded that glucosamine hydrochloride, a nutraceutical, “ . . . had no effect on pain management” when it came to treating osteoarthritis (2015). Dr. de Andrade confirmed that results from more familiar sources for nutraceuticals such as avocado and soybeans were less conclusive and “. . . may have positive effects on knee and hip OA, but long-term results could not be confirmed”. These conclusions on the benefits of nutraceuticals are both disappointing and frustrating especially for those who are seeking relief from the pain. While some patients who suffer from OA may feel a small amount of relief from the pain when using nutraceuticals, lasting relief will not be found. There are perhaps more nonsurgical options that will help– options that are made available through Neuragenex.


Neuragenex’s Neurofunctional Pain Management Protocol


In the year 2000, a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of another nonsurgical treatment known as hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation was conducted. While the clinical trials of viscosupplementation were in their infancy, Dr. John Watterson found that “. . . the lack of systemic side effects and the potential lasting effects make it an appealing option” (2000). The process of viscosupplementation is best described as a loosening and relaxing of the joints that feel stiff and rusted over. This nonsurgical option uses a safe compound called hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has been USDA approved for decades and Dr. Watterson attests to this benefit by stating that “[t]he US Food and Drug Administration approval of hyaluronic acid as a device has avoided the need for meeting the more stringent criteria for approval as a drug”. Decades later, the use of hyaluronic acid in viscosupplementation has remained an effective and affordable solution to treat osteoarthritis. Neuragenex incorporates hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation treatment for osteoarthritis in conjunction with its pain-relieving Neuralgesia protocol. While viscosupplementation ads a fluid cushion to the joint and relieves and loosens the joints affected by OA, Neuralgesia treatments further reduce the pain through high pulse electrical stimulation of the damaged tissues in combination with specialized hydration therapy. Many patients experiencing the symptoms of OA report relief after only one session with Neuragenex. Patients routinely experience greater mobility, strength, and improvement of the motor skills they used to enjoy to complete their daily tasks.

Thousands of patients experience relief from pain and treatment is simple. Patients who suffer from chronic pain, such as neuropathy and osteoarthritis, report relief after starting our treatment sessions. Neuragenex believes that the least invasive options should be the first options. Our proprietary Neurofunctional Pain Management program is designed to be the safest and least invasive option for chronic pain, while fully understanding that no one therapy works 100% of time and there is a need for all the conventional treatments out there, we simply believe in starting with the least invasive options first. Our mission is to relieve pain, restore health, and magnify quality of life without drugs, surgery, or invasive procedures. Our vision is to be the first thought, first choice, and first step in the journey of chronic pain management.

Table of Contents