Skip to main content

UK researchers find new potential treatment for arthritis

October 1, 2013

Osteoarthritis of the knee can make it difficult for seniors to stay active. Even if they have long been committed to healthy aging, the pain and discomfort caused by the condition might make it challenging for them to move around as much as they are used to. While there are certain treatments that have proven to be effective, a new trial study from the U.K. may have found an even more substantial therapy for seniors managing arthritis, according to The Express.

Encouraging findings
The trial was focused on analyzing the impact that methotrexate (MTX) could have on osteoarthritis. The drug has already shown promise in alleviating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and the early results from this study, led by Philip Conaghan from the Leeds Institute of Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Medicine, showed equally encouraging figures. Researchers found that 37 percent of patients with knee osteoarthritis had at least a 40 percent reduction in pain and discomfort. Given the positive results, researchers will investigate further to confirm the drug's benefits. 

"Methotrexate is very good at reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation is also very common in osteoarthritis, though it is caused by a different mechanism," Conaghan told the newspaper. "We think treating inflammation should reduce pain. 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."

Natural treatments
While MTX offers a new potential pharmaceutical route for treating arthritis, there are some other more natural remedies that exist. Lifestyle changes such as exercising more frequently are among the easiest to implement, according to However, given that arthritis can make it difficult to move without pain, seniors should think about switching up their regimen. Walking, swimming and biking all offer benefits without the pounding caused by more strenuous activities. 

Alternative treatments have also shown promise in alleviating arthritis pain, experts say. For instance, a study from 2012 revealed that acupuncture may be an effective arthritis treatment. The study, which was performed over the course of five years, involved almost 18,000 patients and found that acupuncture was often an effective treatment for those experiencing discomfort stemming from arthritis, migraines and chronic back pain.

"We think there's firm evidence supporting acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain," lead author Dr. Andrew J. Vickers told The New York Times.