MEDICATION, REPLACEMENT OR THERAPY?

Comparing Joint Pain Solutions

Thanks to modern medicine, we are living longer than ever! Everyone wants to live a long, happy life but longevity does have some downsides. Arthritis impacts nearly half of all seniors. When it becomes serious, joint pain can impact your whole day and even put you in danger. Given this, it’s not surprising that the American Association of Hip And Knee Surgeons predicts, by 2030, there will be 500,000 hip replacements and 3 million knee replacements every year.

Joint pain can be treated in numerous ways. Each option has pros and cons.

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PAIN MEDICATION

Depending on the severity of your joint pain, it may be manageable with medication. Reducing inflammation can relieve some joint pain. Supplements and creams are available over the counter that may relieve arthritis pain. For more serious pains, your doctor may prescribe stronger prescription medications.

Pain medication can help you maintain your normal activities. However, masking the pain does not correct the underlying issue. If your arthritis remains minor, then pain medication is a cheap, simple solution but worsening joint pain may require you to explore alternate options.

JOINT REPLACEMENT SURGERY

When common activities at home and work become difficult or impossible to maintain because of joint pain, a total joint replacement can greatly increase your health and quality of life. While all surgeries have risks, hip and knee replacements are common, very successful surgeries.

During a hip replacement, a surgeon removes the joint that has arthritis and is causing pain. Then an artificial joint takes its place.
A knee replacement is similar. A surgeon removes the damaged surface of knee joint to get rid of the damaged bone. Then, the knee is resurfaced with a prosthesis made of metal and plastic. Generally speaking, there are three parts: the tibial component, the femoral component, and the patellar component.

While these are very well understood surgeries, joint replacements, like all surgeries, have risks. Blood clots, fracture, infection, and dislocation are some of the risks to keep in mind before choosing a surgical option. The surgery itself may cause mild to moderate pain, and nausea can be caused by the combination of pain medication and stress.

Successful joint replacements will decrease pain in the long term and improve mobility. Most people recover from surgery in six weeks and are pain-free within a year. Artificial joints usually last over 20 years, although younger, more active people may wear it out faster. Follow up visits are important to ensure the artificial joint works in the long term.

STEM CELL THERAPY

If your arthritis is too severe for pain medication to handle but you are not comfortable with the risks, recovery time or maintenance involved with a joint replacement, stem cell therapy may be your best bet!

Stem cell treatment takes adult stem cells from your bone marrow and injects them into a damaged joint. Stem cells are your body’s way of replacing and repairing damaged cells naturally. By targeting your body’s natural healing process to a specific location, doctors can repair old damage from arthritis. Unlike pain medication, stem cell therapy treats the root cause of your pain.

Stem cell injections are minimally invasive. Patients do not need to spend the night in the hospital and you usually need only one or two injection cycles. Some patients experience mild pain for two or three days at the injection site. Ice can help reduce inflammation and can bring relief to these slight pains.

The recovery time is also incredibly short. Stem cell treatment is done on an outpatient basis. You rest for the first two days and restrict yourself to general use for the first two weeks. Cardio activities are safe after three weeks and, after 4 weeks, weightlifting and running are permitted.

If your arthritis pain is too extreme for pain medication and you would prefer to avoid a major surgery, call us at (210) 293-3136 to start your treatment!

This Article originally appeared on stemcellorthopedicinstituteoftexas.com