This National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline covers assessing and managing osteoarthritis in adults. It covers both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. It promotes effective treatment options to control joint pain and improve function in people with osteoarthritis.
It has not been specified whether exercise should be provided by the NHS or whether the healthcare professional should provide advice and encouragement to the person to obtain and carry out the intervention themselves. Exercise has been found to be beneficial but the clinician needs to make a judgement in each case on how to effectively ensure participation. This will depend upon the person's individual needs, circumstances and self-motivation, and the availability of local facilities. 
Contrary to popular belief, osteoarthritis is not caused by ageing and does not necessarily deteriorate. There are a number of management and treatment options (both pharmacological and non-pharmacological), which this guideline addresses and which represent effective interventions for controlling symptoms and improving function.
This guideline update was originally intended to include recommendations based on a review of new evidence about the use of paracetamol, etoricoxib and fixed-dose combinations of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) plus gastroprotective agents in the management of osteoarthritis. Draft recommendations based on the evidence reviews for these areas were presented in the consultation version of the guideline. Stakeholder feedback at consultation indicated that the draft recommendations, particularly in relation to paracetamol, would be of limited clinical application without a full review of evidence on the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis. NICE was also aware of an ongoing review by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) of the safety of over-the-counter analgesics. Therefore NICE intends to commission a full review of evidence on the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis, which will start once the MHRA's review is completed, to inform a further guideline update.
Until that update is published, the original recommendations (from 2008) on the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis remain current advice. However, the Guideline Development Group (GDG) would like to draw attention to the findings of the evidence review on the effectiveness of paracetamol that was presented in the consultation version of the guideline. That review identified reduced effectiveness of paracetamol in the management of osteoarthritis compared with what was previously thought. The GDG believes that this information should be taken into account in routine prescribing practice until the planned full review of evidence on the pharmacological management of osteoarthritis is published (see the NICE website for further details).
The current update addresses issues around decision-making and referral thresholds for surgery, and includes new recommendations about diagnosis and follow-up. The update also contains recommendations based on new evidence about the use of nutraceuticals, hyaluronans and acupuncture in the management of osteoarthritis.
You can read the guideline on NICE's website.