Hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin retain moisture, has been used as a facial filler for restoring lost volume to under-eye hollows, laugh lines and lips. And because of its lubricating properties, it’s also been used as a pain reliever for those suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee.
Researchers recently studied 54 clinical trails and found that injecting hyaluronic acid into the knee offers better pain relief than acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory drugs and even steroids. The studies followed the effectiveness of intra-articular hyaluronic acid (IAHA) from 1983 to 2009.
Hyaluronic acid carries fewer and less severe side effects than some of the medications typically used to reduce pain caused by wear and tear in the knee. For instance, some pain relievers can lead to stomach upset or even bleeding and steroid injections may cause the joint to deteriorate. With IAHA, some patients report swelling at the injection site as a common, yet mild, side effect.
While some doctors have used IAHA as a last resort when other medications weren’t well tolerated by the patient or deemed ineffective, it wasn’t certain if IAHA was a legit option. In light of this recent review of studies, more doctors may opt to give it a try. If you’re considering it, check with your insurance company first to ensure that the treatments are covered.
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