Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alternatives to Knee Surgery

No one is eager to have knee surgery. Luckily, there are options that can relieve pain.

Recently three orthopedic doctors from the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics (RIAO) gave a free lecture at LifeBridge Health & Fitness on the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis. Drs. Michael A. Mont, Ronald E. Delanois, and Harpal (Paul) S. Khanuja all informed their listeners about safe options to surgery. Thanks to the interactive nature of the lecture, the audience was able to address any concerns they had about their own hip and knee pains.

Dr. Mont began the lecture with an informal question and answer period. He started off by asking the audience “how would you treat joint pain?” The crowd reacted by shouting answers like “Aleve!” “Tylenol!”

“How many people think narcotics are appropriate for pain?” Few people raised their hands. “Many doctors are anti-narcotic” continued Dr. Mont, “but I have patients that think that narcotics are their best option. They take their prescribed dosages and it works great, but when the patient starts to increase their dosage, they may begin to get addicted.”

Tylenol and Aspirin can work just as well as any other medication, says Dr. Mont, but it is important that if you are taking those medications frequently, you get checked regularly because of the possible side effects on the kidney and liver. It is also important to note that when your pain level decreases, you should get off the meds!

Another alternative to surgery is a shot of cortisone. Dr. Mont says that he has given around 100,000 shots, and he notes few disadvantages.

He also recommends mild exercise, with concentration on exercises such as cycling, swimming, or using an elliptical machine. Patients should stay away from anything like a step machine or treadmill. He explained that “a typical step is 2-3 times body weight, and running puts 7-10 times body weight on your knees, which could create major pain for someone who has knee or hip osteoarthritis.”

Suggestions also included exercises to strengthen frontal muscles, hamstrings and side muscles . The RIAO also offers a detailed exercise sheet. Dr. Mont advises that 20 minutes of exercise every-other-day produces excellent results.

When people are in pain, surgery should not be their immediate thought. The physicians at the RIAO offer a variety of different treatments for pain including non-surgical methods. Over time, if the non-surgical methods don’t work, the physician will discuss the possibility of knee surgery.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
-Jessica Oring

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