Do You Need A Knee Replacement?
Did you hear it's 'BONE ON BONE'?
We have patients regularly tell us that their surgeon told them they need a knee replacement. That their MRI shows that it's 'bone on bone'. That's pretty scary!
Sometimes, without a doubt, that can be true. But is there anything else that can be done before resorting to such an extreme. Let's face it, common or not, replacing entire joints is quite a procedure and the recovery can be extensive. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT look up videos online showing the event!
So, what can be done to try to avoid having to undergo this procedure? There are several things that can be tried. Not only 'CAN' be tried......but 'SHOULD' be tried first.
Treating Knee Pain
When knee pain plagues us, we have a handful of first-line options when attempting to avoid knee replacement:
- Exercise/Physical Therapy
- Low-Level Laser
- Cortisone Injections
- Hyaluronic Acid Injections
- Stem Cell Injections
- Platelet-Rich Plasma
It is our position that a good number of these knee treatments should be tried and failed prior to agreeing to invasive knee replacement surgery. There are some pros and cons with each and some treatments have more cons than pros. The most common treatment on the list you have, or will encounter, is cortisone injections.
Although cortisone joint injections are the most common treatments, they present issues.
1. Cortisone injections can be detrimental to the integrity of the structures in the joint; the cartilage and bones. The cortisone can degrade the bone and cartilage and, while it is good for the inflammation, can cause more long-term issues. That is why they will only perform three injections of cortisone per joint.
2. Cortisone isn't typically helpful from our experience and if it is helpful, it's only a short-term effect that doesn't last. It treats the inflammation but does not treat the CAUSE of the inflammation. So the inflammation returns eventually which requires more cortisone which can further damage the joint. That is not a cycle I want to be in.
A Better Option For Knee Joint Pain
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
According to the HSS education site, "Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. In this way, PRP injections use each individual patient's own healing system to improve musculoskeletal problems.
PRP injections are prepared by taking anywhere from one to a few tubes of your own blood and running it through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. These activated platelets are then injected directly into your injured or diseased body tissue. This releases growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells your body produces."
WebMD says, "A healthcare professional will collect a small amount of your blood. They will place your blood into a centrifuge. This spins your blood at different speeds until it separates into different layers. One layer is the platelet-rich plasma. This layer of plasma may have as much as three times more platelets than regular blood. The platelet-rich plasma will then be injected into your affected area."
That's when the healing starts! "Once platelets are in the area that’s being treated, they break down and release growth factors, which are compounds that help cells repair and renew. This is thought to trigger your body’s healing process."
If you take the time to click the links below, you will find solid research showing PRP to be equal or superior to cortisone injections and longer-lasting than cortisone injections.
At the end of the day, knee replacement surgery may be in the cards and may be completely unavoidable. Which is 100% OK. But for my loved ones and my patients, I want to make sure they have done everything possible to avoid major surgery and a lengthy recovery process when there's a chance that it could have potentially been avoided.
Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM, DABFP is double Board Certified as a Fellow in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Orthopedics as well as a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Professionals, and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast (https://www.chiropracticforward.com). Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected] Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com.
Dr. Williams was voted Best Chiropractor In Amarillo in the Best of Amarillo 2020 & 2021. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Medical at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109. If you are searching for a chiropractor near me, Dr. Williams is your Amarillo Chiropractor.
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