Osteoarthritis (OA) is the single most common joint disorder affecting Americans today. Some 21 million US residents over the age of 25 are burdened with the condition; that’s over 12 percent of the population. Most of these individuals are led to believe the only way to end the agony of chronic joint pain is to undergo a highly invasive surgical procedure.
At Longevity, however, we know partial or full knee replacement surgery can be an extreme and unnecessary measure, and it is usually avoidable with proper intervention. In this exciting age of modern medicine, there are more than a few things you can do to put off surgery for as long as possible–or even avoid it altogether!
Get Your Body in Gear
Because obesity is often a major factor in the development of OA, weight loss can be a highly effective method of combating joint deterioration. In fact, researchers estimate every pound lost is equal to four pounds of pressure taken off the knee.
It is crucial to implement exercises that build muscle in the thighs, as studies have shown that individuals with stronger quadriceps maintain healthier knees over time. Low-impact aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, and Pilates are excellent options for those enduring chronic joint pain.
Visit a Physical Therapist
A rigorous physical therapy regiment has the potential to significantly reduce symptoms like inflammation. By rehabilitating the worn muscle and joint tissue, it is possible to counteract the degenerative effects of OA.
Therapists separate treatment into two categories: active and passive. Although it is possible to do many of these exercises at home, we recommend seeking the help of a licensed physical therapist to ensure minimal risk and maximum results.
Cold Press Therapy: Reduces circulation and decreases swelling.
Heat Therapy: Increases blood flow and decreases stiffness in the muscles and joints.
Hydrotherapy: Resting in warm water can reduce pain and promote greater range of motion.
Strength Enhancement – Your physical therapist will design for you a series of strengthening exercises to protect your body from further wear-and-tear.
Flexibility Enhancement – Leg lifts, knee extensions and similar stretching exercises are recommended by therapists because they promote resilience to injury by maximizing joint flexibility.
Seek out the Right Supplements
There is a vast array of supplements available to OA patients that claim to provide significant relief by targeting specific symptoms. In spite of their popularity, however, it should be noted that these supplements are not meant to serve as long-term remedies.
• Curcumin – This chemical has been popular in traditional Hindu medicine for centuries due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
• Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Often found in fish oil, this supplement is known to reduce swelling.
• Glucosamine – Glucosamine counteracts the effects of OA by reinforcing joint cartilage integrity.
Consider an Unloader Brace
Knee unloader braces work by reducing pressure from paint points in and around the joint space. The pressure is redistributed across less afflicted areas within the knee to provide pain-free support and stability. The brace also realigns the joint, which reduces bone-on-bone contact and maximizes the joint’s range of motion.
Unfortunately, unloader braces often cost anywhere between $500 and $1500. To make matters more complicated, only specific models are covered by specific insurance groups. This prevents the knee unloader brace from being a viable option for many OA patients.
Dr. Darryl D. Robinson, MD has nearly two decades of treating pain syndromes and is recognized as one of the top physicians in the region.
To learn more about how Dr. Robinson and the Longevity team can help, give us a call at 405-703-4950 and schedule your evaluation today.