Your orthopedic surgeon is the best person to advise you on this. Your age, general health, and severity of the osteoarthritis (OA) are factors to consider. Many experts recommend a management plan for this type of problem. Many methods are included such as weight loss and regular exercise. Studies show reduced knee pain with these two approaches.
Finding the right pain reliever or combination of drugs to control your pain should be part of the program. For most patients, this can be done without narcotics. Sometimes it takes a period of trial and error before you find the best choice for you.
If you haven't been using a glucosamine and/or chondroitin product, ask your doctor about this option as well. These supplements can be purchased over the counter. They can be taken along with antiinflammatories and analgesics.
There are new pain control devices being investigated that might be helpful in the near future. For example, Deepwave, a form of deep tissue electrical stimulation has been shown effective with knee OA.
This type of electrical stimulation reaches deeper tissues compared to regular electrical stim. It blocks pain signals and releases endorphins and serotonin. These are chemicals that work together to reduce pain.
The results of the first pilot project using Deepwave have been reported. The device was very effective in reducing pain and stiffness. As a result, patients were able to increase function and activity.
Richard W. Kang, MD, MS, et al. Prospective Randomized Single-blinded Controlled Clinical Trial of Percutaneous Neuromodulation Pain Therapy Device Versus Sham for the Osteoarthritic Knee: A Pilot Study. In Orthopedics. June 2007. Vol. 30. No. 6. Pp. 439-445.'