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Is there any treatment for osteoarthritis?

Q: I am a 50 years old man having osteoarthritis and mobility problem. After an MRI was done, nerve compression at L3, L4 and L5 region was observed. The doctor advised surgery. I have started homeopathic treatment. Presently I do not have much pain but there is some stiffness in the back and I can walk very slowly about a kilometre only. If I increase my walking speed then I feel numbness in my right leg. My weight is 87 kg and height is 175 cm. Earlier I reduced my weight through exercise to 80 kg, but the pain increased, so I stopped exercising on the treadmill. Is there any treatment for osteoarthritis without surgery and what are the recommended exercises for such a patient? Now, I am doing yoga with mainly breathing exercise and leg movement. Please help.

A:If you are not looking for any surgical intervention, I guess the best way to strengthen your back would be to do a formal Lumbar Stabilization programme. Lumbar stabilisation is an active form of exercise used in physical therapy. It is designed to strengthen muscles to support the spine and help prevent lower back pain. Through a regimen of exercises, and with the initial help of an experienced physical therapist, the patient is trained to find and maintain her/his “neutral spine” position. The back muscles are then exercised to teach the spine how to stay in this position. Lumbar stabilisation is a multi-component program and involves education/training, strength, flexibility and endurance. It is generally used during all phases of a back pain episode and may be prescribed after a thorough evaluation of the patient’s specific condition. The goals of lumbar stabilization exercises include:

  • Reduce amount of back pain.
  • Gain control over the movements of - and forces acting on - the spine during daily activity.
  • Heal soft-tissue injury, such as muscle strain and torn ligaments.
  • Reduce the chance of back injury due to repetitive motions or sudden movements or stresses.

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