Prior to a knee replacement, how can I relieve the pain from osteoarthritis?

I’m working my way through different treatments for knee pain from osteoarthritis. If I can hold off five more years, I’ll be able to get a total knee replacement. So far, I’ve tried anti-inflammatories, exercise, acupuncture, and injections. I really don’t want to take narcotics. Is there anything else I can try?

Your orthopedic surgeon is the best person to advise you on this. Your age, general health, and severity of the osteoarthritis (OA) are factors to consider. Many experts recommend a management plan for this type of problem. Many methods are included such as weight loss and regular exercise. Studies show reduced knee pain with these two approaches.

Finding the right pain reliever or combination of drugs to control your pain should be part of the program. For most patients, this can be done without narcotics. Sometimes it takes a period of trial and error before you find the best choice for you. If you haven’t been using a glucosamine and/or chondroitin product, ask your doctor about this option as well. These supplements can be purchased over the counter. They can be taken along with anti-inflammatories and analgesics.

There are new pain control devices being investigated that might be helpful in the near future. For example, Deepwave, a form of deep tissue electrical stimulation has been shown effective with knee OA.

This type of electrical stimulation reaches deeper tissues compared to regular electrical stimulation. It blocks pain signals and releases endorphins and serotonin. These are chemicals that work together to reduce pain.

The results of the first pilot project using Deepwave have been reported. The device was very effective in reducing pain and stiffness. As a result, patients were able to increase function and activity.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.com. The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.

I need an injection for my hip arthritis. My previous injection required an X-ray. Can they use the old X-ray to do this injection?

I need an injection for my hip arthritis. The last one I had required the use of X-rays. I also have a history of cancer and received radiation treatments. I’d like to avoid any more radiation if possible. Can they use the old X-rays to just do this injection without taking new ones?

Intra-articular (into the joint) injections of the hip can be helpful in alleviating painful symptoms from osteoarthritis. Careful technique is required on the part of the physician performing the injection. Blind injections (guided only by vision and touch) are less expensive than injections performed with imaging. Blind injections can be done right in the physician’s office. And the patient isn’t exposed to radiation. But blind injections are not advised. For complete accuracy, imaging and arthrography are required. Arthrography is the use of a contrast dye injected into the joint to show that the injected agent actually made it into the joint.Studies show that with blind injections you have a 50-50 chance of success. Using the blind technique with any success is like tossing a coin and shouting heads or tails and then being right (or wrong). Using previous X-rays isn’t helpful because arthritis changes the shape and structure of the joint. In other words, it could be a different looking joint even from the last time it was X-rayed.And most of the X-ray techniques are real-time, which means the surgeon sees in 3-D, the joint, the soft tissue structures in and around the joint, and the needle placement as it advances forward through the soft tissues into the joint space. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about your concerns. Find out how much radiation you would be exposed to and what other options you may have. Some physicians are using ultrasound now instead of X-ray imaging. There’s no exposure to radiation and it can be followed up with arthrography to ensure 100% accuracy.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.com. The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.