Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Some people with osteoarthritis try complementary or alternative therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy and find them helpful.
However, there’s a lack of medical evidence to suggest they’re effective and they generally are not recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence .
How Is Knee Pain Treated
Treatment will depend on the cause of your pain. You may need any of the following:
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor’s order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor’s order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Steroid injections may be given into your knee. Steroids reduce inflammation and pain.
- Surgery may be used for some injuries, such as to repair a torn ACL.
Comparing Pain Meds For Osteoarthritis
Understand the pros and cons of different medicines for OA pain.
Exercise and weight loss are the best ways to beat osteoarthritis pain. But you may want to try other methods too. These include creams you apply to your skin , pills and joint injections. Knowing the pros and cons of these treatments can help you make the right choice.
Before you try pills, experts say you should try topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for your OA pain. These come by prescription liquids and patches . Gel is now available over-the-counter without a prescription. Studies show they can relieve knee pain just as well as pills, but with fewer side effects.
Other over-the-counter arthritis creams and patches include ingredients such as capsaicin, camphor, menthol and lidocaine. They can be used for as long as needed.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs NSAIDs are the most effective oral medicines for OA. They include ibuprofen naproxen and diclofenac . All work by blocking enzymes that cause pain and swelling.
The problem is that some of those enzymes also help blood to clot and protect the lining of your stomach. Without them, you can bruise easily, develop ulcers and may even bleed in your intestines. NSAIDs also increase your chance of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. The risk increases the longer you use them and the more you take.
Celecoxib is an NSAID thats less likely to cause gastrointestinal bleeding, but it can cause heart problems.
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What You Cannot Do After Knee Replacement
If youre recovering from a knee replacement, youll want to follow the surgeons recommendations about what you can and cannot do. The first thing you should avoid is jerking or lifting too much weight. This can cause your new knee to be under excessive stress. This includes heavy objects such as garbage bags, tools, or pets.
After knee replacement, you can return to most normal activities, but you must start slowly and carefully. You should follow the post-op instructions given by your surgeon and make sure to get regular follow-ups with your physical therapist. Your doctor will let you know when youre ready to resume high-impact activities, such as sports, and he or she will coordinate your physical therapy with your surgeon to determine how soon you should resume your activity.
You should also avoid pushing yourself too hard during exercises. This can loosen the implants and cause pain and swelling around your knee. This can significantly slow the rehabilitation process. If youre experiencing these symptoms, stop what youre doing and ice the knee for 15 to 20 minutes. If youre still experiencing pain, call your healthcare provider immediately. Activities with high-impact risks, such as running and twisting, should be avoided until your knee replacement is fully healed.
What Causes Knee Pain
Your knee joint is made of bone, cartilage, ligaments, and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the knee joint move. When any of these structures is damaged, you have knee problems. These are some of the more common causes of knee pain:
- Osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the knee gradually wears away.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. The knee may become swollen and cartilage may be destroyed.
- Ligament injuries. Anterior cruciate ligament injuries usually result from a sudden twisting motion. Injuries to the posterior cruciate ligament are usually caused by a direct impact, like impact from a car accident or sports activities.
- Tendon injuries. These can range from inflammation to a tear, most likely from overuse in sports or from a fall.
- Cartilage injuries and disorders. Injury, overuse, muscle weakness, or misalignment of the knee can soften the cartilage of the kneecap, or a blow to the knee may tear off a piece of cartilage.
- Broken kneecap. The small, round bone that sits over the front of your knee joint breaks, usually as the result of a fall or a direct blow to the knee.
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Ways To Prevent Knee Pain
There are also ways to stop knee pain before it happens. Things like building muscle, skipping out on sugary soda and energy drinks, quitting smoking, and losing weight can all help prevent knee pain. Some suggestions include:
Avoid inflammatory foods. DiNubile says itâs a good idea not to eat inflammatory foods.
âIf youâre eating a lot of processed foods, you tend to get more systemic inflammation, and that can affect your joints,â he says. âNutrition is a factor here.â
Thatâs one of the reasons that the Mediterranean diet is used to manage arthritis and joint pain, DiNubile says. The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan that focuses on fruits and veggies, whole grains, yogurt, red wine, some fish, and healthy fats, like nuts and olive oil. This diet encourages people to eat anti-inflammatory foods, like fish, berries, and olive oil, and limits inflammatory foods, such as sugar, red meat, and most dairy.
Build up muscle. One of the best ways to help your knees is to strengthen your muscles. This takes some of the pressure off your knees by having the muscles absorb the shock, and it also stabilizes your knee joint.
You should try to strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps — muscles in your thighs — as well as your core and hip muscles.
By trading the soda and energy drinks for water, you can stay hydrated and protect your joints.
Valaik agrees and compares the extra weight to carrying a heavy bag.
Injected Treatments For Knee Osteoarthritis
Here, your doctor injects a substance into the affected joint to provide pain relief. Intra-articular injections become an option if the medications above and other conservative methods cant provide much relief.
As such, they need a prescription and are done by a specialist.
Some compounds reduce knee pain almost immediately, while others need several injections to give results. The most common for knee OA are:
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Naproxen And Naproxen Sodium
Naproxen and naproxen sodium are used to treat OA pain and inflammation.
Naproxen is only available by prescription. Naproxen sodium is available over the counter, and higher doses are also available in prescription forms.
An analgesic is another type of pain medication. Unlike NSAIDs, analgesics dont treat inflammation.
This class of drugs works by blocking signals in your body that produce pain.
Examples of analgesics include:
Acetaminophen is an OTC analgesic. You take it by mouth as a:
- liquid concentration
In 2011, the FDA set the maximum dosage for acetaminophen at 4,000 milligrams per day.
After the FDA made its announcement, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the company that makes Tylenol, set its maximum daily dosage for acetaminophen at 3,000 mg.
Dont drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day if you use this drug. Drinking more than the recommended amount can increase your risk for liver problems.
What Are The Possible Reasons Not To Take Nsaids And Coxibs
Various factors increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems. These problems are more common in people who
- are over 65 years old,
- have already had gastritis, an ulcer or stomach bleeding,
- have a bacterial infection with Helicobacter pylori,
- drink a lot of alcohol,
- take blood-thinning heart medicines, for example anticoagulants like warfarin or acetylsalicylic acid ,
- take corticosteroids ,
- take a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant,
- take several anti-inflammatory painkillers at the same time, or
- have certain gastrointestinal conditions like or ulcerative colitis.
If your risk of stomach bleeding or other serious complications is very high, it can be a good idea to talk with your doctor about other treatments.
People who have cardiovascular disease or several risk factors for it should also carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of treatment with an NSAID or coxib. Treating pain with naproxen may be a good option for them since it doesn’t affect the heart or the circulatory system.
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Wait What About Opioids
Opioids are powerful substances that easily alleviate severe pain. However, they are not particularly effective for knee osteoarthritis.
Also, they can be very addictive, which represents a huge medical risk. Theyre also associated with severe side effects, like :
- Severe gastrointestinal problems.
- Increase in chronic pain.
- Fatal overdose.
The risks outweigh the benefits by a mile. Thats why all medical associations dont recommend taking them for knee osteoarthritis.
Why Is There So Much Pain After Knee Replacement
Many patients have persistent pain after knee replacement surgery. In one study, 20 percent of total knee replacement patients had chronic pain. The reason for this is unclear: Some patients were reluctant to undergo the surgery and were unsure of their options. Other patients were unsure of what to do if they experienced pain.
Fortunately, there is treatment available for the pain after knee replacement surgery. A physical therapist can show patients exercises that will help them recover range of motion and continue healing. In most cases, patients will need pain medications for about two to six weeks after surgery. The doctors will help each patient determine the best way to control their pain.
Patients may also experience stiffness or pressure in the knee. While this is expected in the early stages of recovery, many people experience stiffness or pain at the knee for up to a month after surgery. This stiffness is caused by swelling in the knee. Stiffness should subside by the end of the first month, but if it persists, contact your surgeon to discuss the problem. Sometimes, the stiffness is due to scar tissue attaching to the new knee implant. This condition is called arthrofibrosis.
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Post Joint Replacement Surgery: Alternatives To Narcotics For Pain Relief
Pain relief forknee replacement surgery and other joint surgeries has been a hot-button topicover the past decade. With an epidemic of nearly 450,000 opioidoverdoses in America since 1999, physicians have been more mindful of therisks of narcotic prescription drugs and more dedicated to educating patientson alternative methods of pain relief.
Orthopedicsurgeons perform these procedures to help people who are in end-stagearthritis and living in chronic pain. As with any surgery, some discomfort andpain can be expected after a hip or knee replacement.
There is arange of pain management resources available for patients who have had surgery.From prescriptions to over-the-counter medications to drug-free alternatives,there are safe and effective options for all patients. Let’s explain thedifferent kinds of post-surgery pain relief in the following list.
How Long Should I Take Tramadol After Surgery
NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , and can be found in prescription and over-the-counter forms. These include meloxicam , diclofenac , naproxen , and aspirin. They work by stimulating the bodys receptors for narcotics, which are responsible for pain. NSAIDs also help reduce the risk of blood clots.
NSAIDs should only be used for short periods of time. After surgery, patients should start weaning themselves from the medications. For example, they can gradually decrease the amount of pain medication they take by 20 percent each day, and eventually stop taking them altogether. During the first week of recovery, patients should consult their family physician to talk about their weaning protocol.
Tramadol should only be used for short periods following surgery, and it should be taken in moderation. The dose should not exceed 50 mg per day, and the patient should take the medication only twice a day. If the pain is severe, patients should consider oxycodone, which is a powerful painkiller. It is usually prescribed in a 5 mg tablet, and it is taken every two to four hours.
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The Role Physical Therapy Plays In The Process
Physical therapy is definitely beneficial. Improving range of motion and strength in the knee are helpful, but physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis has a large focus on strengthening the hips, explains Dr. Day.
Weak hips put more pressure on the knees. If your hips are strong, when you get up from a chair or go up and down stairs your knees have less work to do.
Everyone with knee osteoarthritis should consult a physical therapist, according to Dr. Day. Not only will you be taught the right kinds of exercises, a physical therapist also provides valuable instruction about using assistive devices and modifying activities to reduce pain.
Why Do My Joints Hurt
You have 250 to 350 joints in your body that provide support and help you move. When you damage your joints whether due to injury, overuse or an underlying condition you may not be able to move comfortably.
Pain or discomfort might interfere with your day-to-day living. This joint pain can be temporary, or it can be ongoing, explains Dr. McElroy.
Painful joints are caused by many types of injuries or conditions. People of all ages and activity levels can have joint pain. Your pain might be the result of:
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