Anti-inflammatory drug could help treat osteoarthritis in seniors

Osteoarthritis is among the most common health issues older adults encounter. The pain and discomfort caused by the condition can make it difficult for seniors to stay active and mobile as they age, but healthcare experts have long been looking for the next best treatment to allow seniors to live a pain-free retirement. A team of scientists in the U.K. believe that a treatment commonly used to address pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis may also be able to alleviate the discomfort caused by its more common cousin, according to The Express.

Reasons to be optimistic
The findings come from an early pilot study that treated seniors with a drug known as methotrexate (MTX). Scientists led by doctors from the Leeds Institute of Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Medicine found that about 37 percent of those treated with the medication saw at least a 40 percent reduction in pain in their knees. Study leaders say the drug has shown promise in reducing inflammation in RA patients, and although the two conditions have different causes, lower inflammation levels seem to have a significant impact.

“We think treating inflammation should reduce pain,” lead researcher Philip Conaghan, a professor at the institute, told the newspaper. “We hope MTX will reduce pain and stiffness. Although it’s less likely to stop joint destruction, we will perform MRI scans to see if we have altered structure.”

A looming problem
Although the research was based in the U.K., treating arthritis in Canada is a significant issue. According to The Arthritis Society, approximately 7 million Canadians will have some form of the condition by 2030. In addition to medical routes to treatment, there are a number of natural therapies that have proven to be somewhat effective when it comes to alleviating the pain caused by OA. Certain forms of gentle exercise, such as yoga and aerobics, are particularly helpful, according to Mother Nature Network. Diet can also play a role, experts say. Specifically, foods that are high in sugar can trigger inflammation.

“If we feed our bodies the right foods and additional nutrients, our bodies can begin to heal on their own, perhaps without having to take potentially harmful drugs,” David Getoff, vice president of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, told the news source.