When pain in one of your joints gets so bad that you’re seriously considering replacement surgery, don’t commit to that until you’ve fully explored your options. A joint replacement should be your absolute last resort. If there are other, alternative treatment options—and for many people, there are—it pays to consider those first.
Is a Replacement Really Necessary?
Not all joint pain is the same. In many cases, it’s temporary. It can come as a result of a fall or other injury, and may improve on its own. Therefore, a joint replacement is not appropriate for every type of joint problem. It’s typically recommended in cases of severe osteoarthritis, where the cartilage in the joint may be so worn down that the bones themselves are rubbing against each other.
There are other, less common situations in which a joint replacement may be the go-to solution too—for example, in the case of a birth deformity in which the joint is misshapen, or as a result of a crushing injury in which the bone in a joint was effectively destroyed.
However, even in situations of advanced osteoarthritis—the reason most people end up getting a joint replaced—there are new treatments available that may prevent or postpone the need for a full replacement, allowing patients to avoid the expense, risk, discomfort and recovery time that comes with major surgery.
It’s worth mentioning that while joint replacements have become safer than in the past, many patients still end up worse off than they were before. It’s therefore hard to argue with the fact that an effective, non-invasive solution is a far better choice.
Know Your Options
What if there were joint treatment alternatives that not only improved your mobility and reduced your pain, but actually helped your body heal itself? Does that sound appealing—but unrealistic?
It isn’t. This type of therapy is available right now. Let’s explore some of the treatment options that have been developed that might make a joint replacement unnecessary for you.
Hyaluronic acid. This lubricant occurs naturally in our bodies and reduces friction caused by the bones rubbing on each other. However, with age, this substance can diminish, creating pain and wear on the joints. Sometimes a physician will opt to use a corticosteroid injection to provide immediate relief, but this does not solve the underlying problem.
VisCare-Flex® is a treatment offered by Flexogenix® that replaces this important fluid to help nourish the joint and significantly reduce pain. It requires no down time the way surgery does, and most people can walk out of the clinic and drive themselves home. Over a period of 6 to 8 months, the joint will typically continue to improve.
The beauty of this method is that hyaluronic acid naturally occurs within the body and is safe to use as a treatment option.
Regenerative therapy. Cells are special insofar as they can develop into any type of cell within our bodies—even cartilage. They’re very useful for repairing an injury. However, the problem we experience as we age is that our bodies may not have enough of these cells in the right places available to do the job of repairing the protective covering of the joint.
There are different kinds of regenerative therapy, but the experienced joint specialists at Flexogenix® know that the safest and most effective type involves taking your own cells and carefully targeting the problem area with them. Unlike using donor cells or an imprecise method of delivery, this Progeni-Flex™ procedure has proven to be a highly effective regenerative technique, allowing your body to re-create the cells it needs to improve joint flexibility and reduce pain.
Joint Replacements Wear Out
It’s important to remember that artificial joints have a limited life span. Even if you do undergo a replacement, you may end up needing another major surgery in 10 years or so to do it all over again. This is hard on the body, and every time you undergo the procedure, there are renewed chances for complications. Therefore, it makes sense to avoid this option whenever possible.
Consult a specialist at Flexogenix® to discuss alternative treatments to joint replacements. While they are sometimes determined to be medically indicated, you owe it to yourself to explore all your options and choose what’s truly best for yourself. It’s our mission to help you make that informed decision. Contact us today.