Alternatives to Knee Replacement Surgery
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Legs and knees are parts of the human body, which we use almost all the time. Although, the whole human body is a well-lubricated machine sometimes we experience knee pain without realizing where it comes from. Most people, of course, don't have enough time to pay attention to every insignificant pain and visit their doctor when the pain becomes unbearable. Often, after examinations, the doctor recommends knee replacement surgery as the first option. The truth is that most people can't leave work for 6 months - this is an average recovery period. Most patients are taking care for their loved ones and can't afford to stop doing that. Knee replacement surgery is a popular surgery with really sore recovery. Sometimes the patient is not able to go back to work especially if it is a physical type of work. In this case, the patient is forced to find another job with less physical activity. As you may see, there are many reasons why undergoing a surgical procedure is not acceptable so people prefer to look at the available alternatives to a knee replacement surgery.
What are alternatives to knee replacement surgery?
Strengthening leg muscles
We apply additional force when we step. That's why if we gain weight it reflects our gait and knee pain increases. Knees have to carry the weight of the whole body while we are walking, running or even sitting. If you want to make it easier for your body and knees, work out regularly. Not only you will be thinner but also your muscles will be tougher and will carry easily the weight. So two benefits come from regular exercising.
Working out might not be enough
Some exercises are not suitable if you are experiencing knee pain. If you are not convinced what you are doing better consult with a physical therapist. Physical therapists can show you the best exercises for your health issues and can prepare a regime to follow. In addition, therapists might offer you some procedures that might reduce knee pain, like ultrasound therapy or heat therapy. Don't be afraid, all specialists have medical education and know what they are doing even if you consider the procedure more as a supplementary. The basic thing in all procedures is to increase the blood flow in the knees.
Hyaluronic acid for your knees
The knee joint is a complex structure that might require a lot of care. Injecting hyaluronic acid will lubricate the joint. This way the joint will be able to move smoother and the patient won't feel pain at all. Hyaluronic acid is a good alternative to knee replacement surgery. The disadvantage is that some people might develop an allergy especially if they had previous allergies to poultry or eggs.
Knee pain can be unbearable so people want desperately to get rid of the pain. So their first reaction is to ask for some painkillers. Unfortunately, painkillers that are able to save you from knee pain are often in its harm. Lidocaine, bupivacaine, cortisone and steroid injections will worsen the joint condition in long term. That's why cortisone is a medicine you should avoid. In addition, all medicines could have side-effects, like pain, inflammation or discolouring of the skin.
Needling or acupuncture
Sometimes pain is caused by a pinched nerve. People who provide acupuncture use needles to relieve the tension. This is an alternative treatment for many health conditions and has some success among patients.
This is still new treatment that provokes body answer for healing and recovering after irritation. The irritation comes from injecting dextrose into the ligaments. The ligament structure is irritated because sugar mixture destroys slightly the tissue. The therapy requires at least 5, 6 repetitions for 6 months. It is not still clear how helpful is prolotherapy but it has some benefits if it is a part of a bigger treatment programme.
Stem cell therapy
Some doctors use bone marrow stem cells for healing cartilage tissue. They take stem cells from the hip of the patient and inject them into the cartilage. However, most specialists use this therapy as supplementary after knee replacement surgery.
Platelets therapy (Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections)
This is also a new therapy. The specialists use platelets from patient's blood and inject them into knee joints. Unfortunately, platelets therapy is not able to recover the cartilage but only to decrease the level of pain but the lack of progress of the degenerative process seems to be a good indication for this treatment, especially if it is started early. This therapy is experimental and expensive so think twice before undergoing it.
What is the best alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery for me?
There is no universal answer to this question. Every patient is different and his medical history is different. Sometimes it is OK to try few procedures at once and sometimes just one procedure is enough.