Whether you’re a professional athlete, a recreational jogger, a reluctant golfer or a city league softball player, probably no part of your body endures more abuse than your knees.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports total knee replacements in the U.S. exceed 700,000 every year. That number doesn’t even include other surgical knee procedures like repairing ligament damage or torn cartilage.
The process of knee surgeries can be inconvenient, expensive and painful. As a result, many people with knee problems try to postpone surgery as long as possible. For those who don’t want to go under the knife, here are some tips that might help:
Even for people who are not overweight, losing a few pounds helps reduce stress on knee joints. Dropping just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference in knee and hip pain, and can postpone or prevent joint replacement surgery. If you do end up having surgery, weight loss will help you have a quicker recovery.
Try physical therapy
The meniscus is the cartilage that cushions knee joints. A torn or damaged meniscus is a common cause for knee pain and is frequently repaired with surgery. Strengthening the quadriceps and muscles around the knees can alleviate added stress on the knees.
Choose the needle
Cortisone injections have long been used to treat inflammatory knee problems such as arthritis or pain from injury or overuse. Relief usually occurs quickly and can last for a few months. Repeated shots are usually limited to three or four injections in a year.
Another treatment uses a thick fluid called hyaluronan. When injected into a knee joint, it provides a lubricating effect which can cushion joints and help the knee glide more smoothly. There are very few side effects but for most the relief is temporary so the treatment must be repeated every few months.
The last option utilizes the regenerative power of stem cells, growth factors and proteins derived from amniotic fluid and tissue to help reconstruct cartilage defects in knee cartilage and to reduce painful inflammation. The injection is called amniotic allograft.
Many people experiencing knee problems opt to wear some sort of brace. Jointrehab.com reports that according to medical research, in many cases braces are not effective at easing knee pain through NSAIDs to reduce inflammation or preventing injuries. Also, many braces can be expensive and uncomfortable.
Turn on the radio
During a treatment called radiofrequency ablation, a surgeon transmits radiofrequency energy through a needle to nerves in the knee. The process prevents the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain and the relief last up to a year. The process prevents the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain and the relief lasts up to a year. Novocur was the first provider of this technology in Arizona. This treatment works for severe bone-on-bone or arthritis knee pain.
No one every wants to have knee surgery, but for many people there are options that can mitigate some of the discomfort so that the surgery can be postponed as long as possible.
Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of health care experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.
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