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Use medications in the prescribed manner and watch for side effects. This is especially important with the NSAIDs. Acetaminophen, however, may also have side effects if you take too much or if you have liver disease.
No absolute way to prevent osteoarthritis is available. Lifestyle changes may reduce or limit symptoms.
A single prognosis is difficult to establish because of the variety of factors influencing the disease. It also may be important to look at the particular joint involved rather than lumping all the joints together to predict the outcome. For example, the prognosis for hip osteoarthritis may be different than the prognosis for hand osteoarthritis. Symptoms may not be able to be predicted based on X-rays, because some people experience a great deal of pain with only mild osteoarthritis on X-ray, and some people experience only mild pain while their X-rays show severe osteoarthritis. But a few studies may predict joint deterioration.
Some findings suggest that the following are true:
Future research into causes of joint pain in patients with osteoarthritis will likely lead to improved treatments. Ongoing scientific studies are encouraging and include work looking at the effects of antibodies against nerve growth factor, which seems to play a role in pain perception in those afflicted by osteoarthritis of the knees and hips.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/2/2014
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