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treating knee arthritis without surgery

Two doctors discuss alternatives to surgery for knee arthritis

When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That’s why I commend these two doctors for having a broader, more informed view on treating knee arthritis, that does not automatically encourage you to have a total knee replacement surgery (TKR).

Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is a debilitating disease of articular joints, which primarily affects millions of men and women over the age of 55. Here are some of the risk factors that contribute to OA:

  • age (older population)
  • sex: more prevalent in women than in men
  • sports injuries
  • obesity
  • occupation, with repetitive stress on a particular joint
  • congenital bone deformities

The doctors gave a brief acknowledgment to acupuncture, as one of the therapeutic treatment options for OA, but without any rational. So, how can acupuncture be used to help alleviate arthritic knee pain? The needles stimulate circulation, bringing oxygen rich blood to the area and reducing inflammation. Studies show that acupuncture produced better results than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).

The doctors support a holistic approach to treating OA, which included the following:

  • modifying activities
  • physical therapy
  • custom bracing (I got one after my 1st surgery and it offered excellent support during athletic activities.)
  • ibuprofens and medications
  • knee injections
    • cortical steroids
    • viscous injections (hyaluronic acid)
    • risk of infections (septic arthritis), uncommon
    • swelling and pain, temporary
  • topical agents
  • laser
  • acupuncture
  • magnets
  • oral supplements, (example: turmeric)
  • nutrition
References

Knee osteoarthritis prevalence, risk factors, pathogenesis and features: Part I
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766936/
Mayoclinic: Osteoarthritis
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351925
Acupuncture Surpasses Drugs For Knee Pain Relief
http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1607-acupuncture-surpasses-drugs-for-knee-pain-relief

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