I’ve always believed that the first and best line of defense against any disease or painful condition is to be armed with information. Knowledge brings power and allows patients to make more intuitive choices when it comes to their own medical care.
Osteoarthritis is no exception; this degenerative joint condition can be both painful and disabling. The good news is that there are a number of highly effective and aggressive treatment options that do not involve excessive drug use or surgery.
At Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation, we want patients to recover in the best environment possible and with all of the necessary treatment options. Our office provides medical care for osteoarthritis, working in conjunction with our physical therapy team, doctors of chiropractic, and an acupuncturist. We also provide interventional pain management procedures (such as Viscosupplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee) that can help to relieve many of the symptoms of this disorder and increase functioning.
Let’s take a look at some of the facts about Osteoarthritis:
- Osteoarthritis is NOT a regular function of the aging process. It’s interesting how often people accept anything ‘painful’ as a normal part of getting older (we see this phenomenon all the time with back pain patients). It’s important to understand that this disease—whether it is caused by injury, genetics, obesity, etc.,–can and should be treated as soon as symptoms are present. The last resort for osteoarthritis patients is joint replacement surgery for patients with severely damaged joints. By starting treatment for osteoarthritis early, or by taking advantage of healthy, conservative options, we can work together to keep you away from the operating table.
- Some osteoarthritis patients may be advised to avoid movements or activities that exacerbate pain and inflammation. This is especially true for patients with less serious cases of the condition. However, this can lead to a major loss in the quality of your life and seriously restrict your functioning. Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation has incorporated physical therapy in many of our osteoarthritis treatment programs so that patients can retain or regain movement while reducing pain. It’s important to learn how to exercise safely and effectively to preserve range-of-motion and increase strength. We also use a number of passive (non-exercise) therapies to reduce inflammation and begin the healing process. Low level laser therapy, for example, stimulates healing at the cellular level.
- My last blog concentrated on the dangers of long-term drug use for pain management. When it comes to taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or opioid medications, you’re putting your body at risk for major gastrointestinal problems, kidney and liver damage, and addiction. It’s a better idea to look into long-term, healthy strategies to deal with your condition.
- For the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee (link to knee pain), our office may perform an excellent procedure known as Viscosupplementation. This type of injection replaces depleted hyaluronic acid in the synovial (lubricating) fluid of the knee joint. By using Viscosupplementation, friction between the bones of the knee joint is reduced. Additionally, the knees support a rather large burden—the weight of our bodies. Viscosupplementation provides better shock absorption for such loads. The technique also has an analgesic effect for additional pain relief.
- For some patients, corticosteroid Joint Injections may be helpful. By injecting a long-lasting steroid into the affected joint, the inflammatory response that leads to pain can be suppressed. Because osteoarthritis is a localized condition, higher concentrations of corticosteroids can be used with fewer side effects.
To learn more about interventional pain management for osteoarthritis or knee pain in Red Bank, NJ, contact Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation.