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Published on July 07, 2020

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6 Solutions for Joint Pain that Don’t Involve Surgery

Everyday living depends on your ability to move about your workplace and home. Without joint flexibility, strength and endurance, engaging in your favorite activities, such as hunting, gardening or standing in church, become painful and fall to the wayside.

Pain in the hip, knee or any other joint is often the result of an injury or overuse. Some people who experience hip pain or knee inflammation might be a candidate for joint replacement surgery.

However, before turning to a partial/total knee replacement or a total hip replacement, you and your orthopedic provider may consider trying nonsurgical options to treat pain and inflammation.

“Many patients are satisfied with consistent, well-implemented nonsurgical treatment because it can help manage your orthopedic condition and your symptoms,” said Mark Hagy, MD, orthopedic surgeon with Avera Orthopedics.

Listed below are common nonsurgical treatment options as well as a brief overview. For best results, your provider may recommend using a combination of approaches.

  1. Physical therapy – Physical therapy is the primary choice if you’re experiencing joint weakness or instability. A physical therapist will create a therapy plan to strengthen the muscles around the joint involved, improve flexibility and restore function. These outcomes have been scientifically proven to be effective.
  2. Cortisone shots – Just one shot of corticosteroid into the knee, hip or shoulder joint can offer relief for a period of time from pain and inflammation.
  3. Viscosupplementation injections – Hyaluronic acid is a gel-like fluid that allows the joint to glide, providing cushioning and lubrication in order to reduce pain. This is only approved by the FDA to inject into the knee.
  4. Pain medications – Oral pain medications reduce inflammation, which is the most common source of orthopedic pain. Your primary care provider may suggest over-the-counter products, such as aspirin or ibuprofen (NSAIDS).
  5. Bracing and assistive devices – Wearing a brace or using a walker or cane reduces the risk of losing your balance and falling. It also provides a way to offload the affected joint. There are local Avera Home Medical Equipment stores with trained employees who can help you find the right device for you.
  6. Regenerative medicine – Regenerative medicine is an experimental treatment. Stem cells are injected into the joint to spur the growth of healthy cartilage during the beginning stages of arthritis. It’s not yet recognized by insurance companies.

Relief varies from person to person, depending on the severity of the pain. It also depends on the prognosis of the condition throughout treatment, and the lifestyle of the patient.

Avera primary care providers and orthopedic specialists are dedicated to each patient’s case. “It’s a team effort, with the patient at the helm,” Hagy said. “We’ll set you on a treatment course that doesn’t include surgery so we can see how your joint performs and progresses over time.”

To learn more about Avera Orthopedics and the team in your area, visit Avera.org/orthopedics.

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