Osteoarthritis of the knee affects more than 3 million people in the United States each year. Although OA of the knee cannot be cured, there are many treatment options to help ease the pain associated with OA and help you get back to functioning normally. Here we go through a variety of treatment and prevention options, some that you may be familiar with and some that may be new options you have not tried before.
Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine treatment in which very thin needles are placed along the meridian lines of the body. Acupuncture can help relieve pain in the knee and also decrease pain in other areas of the body. It is thought to work by balancing the “Qi” energy in the body. At our Marietta office, Dr. Arnold Weil performs medical acupuncture for patients.
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device (TENS) helps by administering weak electrical current through electrodes on the skin. This stops the receptors of pain from sending the message to the brain. This treatment is not appropriate for other OA conditions or OA in multiple joints, but may help with simple OA of the knee.
Knee braces help to improve the function of the knee and reduce pain associated with OA. There are no side effects of knee braces. Find a provider who can properly fit your knee brace otherwise it may not have the intended effects on pain reduction.
Many people cannot handle the GI risks that accompany taking medicines like Advil, or Aleve. Using these medication in the form of a gel is much easier and does not have the same effects on the stomach. This option works for someone with pain in one location, such as knee-only OA. The medication only works in one location at a time. Many people find relief in using topical medications. Common name brands include Voltaran gel and Pennasid.
Exercise can help to increase range of motion and strengthen your muscles and joints. If you can find a gym with a pool, even better. Exercise in water takes all the weight off the joints and can help you go farther with exercise than you can outside of the water. Your local YMCA is a good place for a pool and they often already offer water exercise classes that focus on arthritis pain that is included in your membership.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (“PRP”) injections
PRP injections help to accelerate your own body’s natural healing process. It does this by activating the stem cells and platelets in an injury site. Your body is then able to get back to it’s normal self without a lot of painful rehab or a long down time. When we do PRP injections in our office we draw blood from the patient which gets spun down in a centrifuge. The injection only takes from 1-2 hours to complete. This process is great for people suffering with ligament or tendon tears, joint weakness, muscle strains or fibrosis and arthritis and tendinitis.
Amniotic Stem Cell Injections
Our amniotic injections have a high concentration of stem cells, proteins, cytokines and other important compounds. This naturally regenerative injection can help to reduce inflammation and scars. Amniotic stem cells have no risk of rejection in the patient and are an effective and safe treatment option. The fluid contains the growth factors that help to stimulate tissue growth and naturally reduce inflammation. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which acts as a lubricant and promotes cartilage growth. This treatment is great for those suffering with Osteoarthritis, soft tissue injuries, Achilles tears, tendon or ligament tears, sacroiliac pain, any joint related pain, tennis or golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff injuries, hip and low back pain.
Hyaluronic acid injections
Your physician can speak to you about whether or not a hyaluronic acid injection is right for your OA of the knee pain. Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in the knee. An injection helps to supplement this fluid for those who have knee pain.
One of the risk factors of developing arthritis is a person’s weight. Being overweight adds extra pound of pressure on the joints, causing them to deteriorate faster. There is an increased risk of the development of arthritis if there has been a previous injury to the joint. Keeping a healthy diet and a daily exercise program is a good way to keep your knee pain at bay.
Wearing Protective Gear
When you are involved in activities where there is an increased risk of getting kicked or falling, it is important to wear the suggested protective gear. Wearing the suggested gear can help protect the knee joint and muscles surrounding the joint.