Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020) Arthritis, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 25 September 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Arthritis. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/arthritis
Arthritis. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 25 August 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/arthritis
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Arthritis [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020 [cited 2022 Sep. 25]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/arthritis
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2020, Arthritis, viewed 25 September 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/arthritis
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At present there is no cure for arthritis, with treatment aiming to manage symptoms and maximise quality of life. Arthritis-related conditions are predominantly managed in primary health care settings by a range of health professionals. Treatment involves a combination of self-management (such as diet and exercise), education on living with the condition, physiotherapy, medication (for pain and inflammation), and referral to specialist care where necessary (WHO 2019). Based on survey data, arthritis was managed at an estimated 3.5% of general practice visits in 2015–16 (Britt et al. 2016).
Medication is primarily used to manage symptoms of pain, inflammation and improve functioning and quality of life among people with arthritis. Medications can range from general over-the-counter analgesics (painkillers) to highly specialised medications and vary depending on the type and severity of the condition.
See the osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis and gout pages for further information on the medications used for these conditions.
Arthritis-related conditions are often managed in hospitals when specialised treatment or surgery is required.
Osteoarthritis was the most common musculoskeletal reason for hospitalisation in 2017–18 (accounting for 34% of all musculoskeletal hospitalisations), followed by back pain and problems (23%). Other less common musculoskeletal reasons for hospitalisation were rheumatoid arthritis (1.5%), osteoporosis (1.0%) and gout (1.0%).
See the osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis and gout pages for further information on hospitalisations for these conditions.
Joint replacement surgery may be required for those with severe arthritic conditions who are unresponsive to medication and exercise (RACGP 2018). These procedures restore joint function, help relieve pain and improve quality of life of the affected person. Osteoarthritis is the most common condition leading to hip and knee replacement surgery in Australia (AOANJRR 2019).
See the osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis pages for further information on surgery for these conditions.
AOANJRR (Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry) 2019. Annual report 2019: Hip, knee and shoulder arthroplasty. Adelaide: AOA.
Britt H, Miller GC, Henderson J, Bayram C, Harrison C, Valenti L et al. 2016. General practice activity in Australia 2015–16. General practice series no. 40. Sydney: Sydney University Press.
RACGP (The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) 2018. Guideline for the management of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Melbourne: RACGP.
WHO (World Health Organization) 2019. Musculoskeletal conditions: fact sheet. Geneva: WHO. Viewed 3 June 2020.
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