Conditions

Joint Pain & Alternatives to Joint Replacement

 

 

WORRIED ABOUT GETTING A JOINT REPLACEMENT ?  

Prior to any joint replacement, there are many nonsurgical treatments that can either prolong the time to getting a joint replacement, or completely eliminate the need for one.

Here are 6 treatments to consider trying before committing to a joint replacement surgery:

Good Physical Therapy

By strengthening the muscles surrounding a joint through a good physical therapy treatment program, you can unload much of the force on that joint, and decrease pain while at the same time increasing mobility. In general the stronger the muscles surrounding a joint, the less force actually transmitted through the painful joint surface.

Topical Medications

Many patients have problems with taking oral pain medications, and anti-inflammatories due to a variety of reasons. Luckily there are many topical medications on the market today that have been proven to be effective in the treatment of arthritic joints. These are usually in the form of patches, and creams. They have very little side effects, and many patients find great relief through regular use.

Cortisone Shots

Even though these have been around a long time, many patients have never tried a cortisone injection into the joint.  When done properly, ideally with ultrasound guidance, these shots are not very painful, and can provide many months of pain relief. There are generally very few side effects, and these can be repeated in the future.

Lubricant Shots  (Hyaluronic Acid/Rooster Comb) 

Hyaluronic acid, also known as viscosupplementation injection, is used for the treatment of knee, hip, shoulder, elbow and ankle osteoarthritis. These injections (a natural substance made from rooster comb) can help control pain, provide lubrication, and replace hyaluronic acid in the joint. Insurance will usually pay for these injections, and most patients experience a significant decrease in pain levels within weeks of treatment.

PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma)

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is a new and cutting edge option for giving a biological boost to the body’s own healing process. PRP treatment has gained significant attention in the media lately, and has been used by several NFL, NBA, NHL, and high-level collegiate players. PRP is processed from a person’s own blood while they wait in the office. Basically, it is a concentration of platelets, which are found in the blood and which contain many factors that are essential for healing an injured or diseased body region. Although PRP injections are very safe, there are still considered experimental by the FDA, and as such they are not covered by insurance. However, in those patients looking for one more option to try before surgery these injections are an option worth looking into.

Stem cell injections

The use of adipose tissue has taken on increasing importance in the field of regenerative stem cell therapy.  It has recently obtained FDA clearance, but as of today,  insurance companies are not covering this procedure. It makes use of the high stem cell density of adipose thought to be 1 out of every 100 cells. This technique utilizes mild mechanical forces in a closed system to produce micro fractured and purified adipose tissue graft which is ready to use in a variety of orthopedic and regenerative applications.

Lipoaspirate is a type of autograft (from your own body), same-day stem cell therapy.

This is VERY important.  Many clinics are advertising stem cell injections, but are using amniotic stem cells (called an allograft).  These are not only of lower quality, but they also carry a small risk of infection.  If you are going to consider a stem cell therapy procedure,  you should always use your own stem cells, and not someone else’s cells.

Lipoaspirates are obtained from the abdomen or love handle area through a quick liposuction procedure. The gentle liposuction takes a few minutes, and the whole time in the office is an estimated 60-90 minutes.

 

For more information about joint pain management and alternatives to joint replacement, contact us at our Raleigh, NC office, or schedule an appointment by clicking below.