As today’s active baby boomers are confronted with knee, hip, and other joint pain, they are not content to “sit out” the rest of their lives. Osteoarthritis can affect younger patients as well and with modern alternatives available, joint replacement surgery need not be the first choice they undertake.
Causes Of Osteoarthritis
As we get older, 1 in 2 adults will develop the symptoms of osteoarthritis, or OA, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The cartilage that acts as a cushion between our bones breaks down causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in our joints. The bones rub and grind against each other causing pain and reduced function.
Keeping Your Joint
Surgery should not always be your first choice. If you prefer to keep your joint instead of deciding immediately to undertake an invasive surgery, look for three requirements. Any alternative should:
- Prevent injury
- Reduce inflammation
- Preserve your cartilage
There are some initial things anyone can try to keep their joint intact.
Medications like acetaminophen and NSAIDS anti-inflammatories help with mild to moderate OA to relieve pain. Talk to your doctor about side effects and use.
Lose some weight. Even losing a moderate amount of weight can reduce the stress on your joint, especially the knee, hip, and ankle. Although this is more successful in younger people, every pound lost reduces 3-5 pounds of pressure on joints.
Muscle strengthening and conditioning can be helpful. Since muscles are shock absorbers, maintaining muscle strength reduces stress on the joints.
Exercise is helpful especially when utilizing a variety of strength training, aerobics, and Tai Chi. Keep moving as even walking can be beneficial if done consistently. Water sports are also beneficial to improve function in the knee and hip.
Professional Treatments In Carrollton GA
Some of the following alternatives are common treatments. Not all are covered by insurance, and a few are experimental, so it’s important to consult with your doctor:
Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body and it is used to lubricate the joint. It reduces inflammation in the lining of the knee joint, improves mobility, and lasts approximately six months.
These injections help almost everyone in varying degrees, and usually last a few months before another injection is needed.
This surgical technique uses a tiny camera to fix tears in the knee tissue, hips and shoulder. It repairs cartilage, removes loose cartilage, and repairs ligaments. It can delay or eliminate the need for joint replacement surgery.
This temporary alternative uses heat to block the nerves and numbs the pain. It can last six to eighteen months.
Experimental Stem Cell Injections
Tissue is taken from one part of the body and transplanted to another. In clinical trials this has proven hopeful for preventing the progression of arthritis.
Platelet Rich Plasma is another experimental alternative. Platelet cells release chemicals to induce blood clotting and prevent bleeding. They also stimulate tissue repair. Not covered by insurance, this injection will treat tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints.