Unfortunately there’s no way to cure arthritis despite the incredible advances in modern medicine. Therefore, tens of millions of Americans deal with moderate to severe knee arthritis that causes considerable pain on a daily basis.
While there are surgical options for knee arthritis that include total joint replacement or a partial joint replacement, both of those surgeries have risks associated with them. If conservative treatment at a pain management clinic in Phoenix can help achieve pain relief and avoid surgery, then that is the optimal outcome.
Here are 10 current treatment methods to avoid the need for surgery.
1. OTC Medication
The first method involves over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and Tylenol. These medications are simple and may be extremely effective at providing pain relief for those with mild to moderate knee arthritis. They should always be taken according to the manufacturer’s recommended dosing.
2. Topical Analgesics
The second excellent option are topical analgesic medications. There are a few of these available on the market, such as capsaicin along with lidocaine patches. While these do not fix the problem of arthritis, they can provide hours of relief.
The third option for relieving the pain is a TENS unit. These are small devices about the size of an iPod, that can be worn on a person’s belt with battery power.
A TENS unit has small foam pads that go over a person’s knee and emits slight electrical impulses through the skin. These impulses can change the way that the brain perceives pain signals and be helpful in relieving pain. They are low-risk, inexpensive and can be used intermittently throughout the day.
4. Physical Therapy
The fourth treatment is physical therapy. Physical therapy provides strengthening of the muscles around the knee joint to relieve some of the pressure inside the joint and provide relief.
5. Offloading Knee Brace
Treatment number five is an offloading knee brace. These braces shift pressure in the knee to the area that is not as arthritic and therefore relieves pain. These braces are slightly bulky, but may delay the need for surgery for years.
6. Narcotic Medications
Treatment number six is for narcotic pain medications. For periods of acute exacerbation where the pain is exceptional, opiate medications may prove to be extremely useful. Is it not a good idea for chronic pain relief due to arthritis, as the risks of opiates start to outweigh the benefits with potential addiction, tolerance and constipation.
7. Steroid Injections
Treatment number seven involves steroid injections into the knee. Steroid injections have been used for decades in the need to offer pain relief for arthritis. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory and the relief may last for days to months at a time, with the injections being repeatable every few months. Cortisone does not help to fix the problem of arthritis, but may provide an excellent “Band-Aid” for months at a time.
8. Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Treatment number eight is hyaluronic acid injections. A common brand name for this is Synvisc, and the injection involves placing a synthetic hyaluronic acid which is very similar to what exists in the knee naturally as a lubricant. These injections are FDA approved and may provide over six months of pain relief.
Treatment number nine is platelet rich plasma injections. These are regenerative medicine injections that use your own blood. The blood is spun down into a concentrate of platelets and growth factors, and injected into the arthritic knee. Recent studies are showing that it has great promise for relieving pain and increasing function along with preventing cartilage degradation.
Treatment number 10 is stem cell injections. There are a couple different ways of injecting stem cells into the knee. The platelet rich plasma injections actually call in a significant amount of stem cells from the body itself. Other types of stem cell injections involve amniotic fluid derived stem cell-based treatments or those obtained from your own bone marrow.
There is a considerable amount of research that needs to be done to figure out which type of stem cell injection into the knee is most effective.
With these 10 treatment options, a lot of patients are able to avoid the need for knee replacement surgery. In addition, they may be able to at least delay the need for a few years as knee replacements are not designed to last forever.
Arizona Pain Specialists has a team of Award Winning & Board Certified pain management doctors and chiropractors with four locations throughout the Valley. Arizona Pain accepts most major medical insurances, personal injury, Medicare, Medicaid, workers compensation and self pay.
Call (602) 507-6550 for scheduling with the best knee pain doctors in Arizona.