While surgical interventions often relieve severe pain for those with osteoarthritis (OA), there are thousands of patients with this common and disabling condition who do not receive surgery. Pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions may offer a reduction in pain and improvement in physical functioning. To help patients with OA, nurses should conduct thorough assessments based on pathophysiology, and plan appropriate care with the patient. In this first article of a two-part series, the pathophysiology and classification of OA are presented. Assessment factors are discussed, and pharmacologic interventions are presented. Part 2 of this series, to run in the November/December issue, will focus on nonpharmacologic interventions and evaluation
For many people with osteoarthritis (OA), surgical interventions, such as joint replacement and joint remodeling, have reduced chronic pain and improved physical functioning. For some, however, surgical interventions are not possible. Some persons refuse to have surgery and others are not appropriate candidates. For these people who live with the chronic and often severe pain and disability of OA, nurses can offer help in improving health and hope for continued independence.