Arthritis has been a common bone and joint problem for a lot of people especially at an older age. The pain it causes can be mild to severe and it can affect our daily lives. We all know that there are a lot of available treatments for it like pain killers, pills and others. But what is a Joint Replacement Surgery?
The Arthritis Foundation estimates that 60 million Americans suffer from arthritis.
Even though there are numerous forms and contributors to arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most prevalent. It is the slow degeneration of cartilage, the shock-absorbing material in our joints, which is also referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis or degenerative joint disease.
One or more of the following signs and symptoms are frequently present in people with osteoarthritis:
- Progressively worsening pain
- Inadequate range of motion
- Difficulty walking or carrying out other common tasks
There are a number of methods your doctor might suggest to reduce arthritis pain and regain mobility depending on the severity of your symptoms and how far along your arthritis is.”
- One of the first lines of defense for pain relief are over-the-counter pharmaceuticals like acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen (Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). There are even stronger NSAIDs that require a prescription.
- Analgesics and topical painkillers both work to lessen pain in different ways. Some contain menthol and eucalyptus oil, which produce a cooling or warming sensation that might reduce discomfort. Salicylate-containing creams reduce inflammation. Products containing capsaicin momentarily inhibit substance P, a molecule that transmits pain signals to the brain.
- Injections. Your doctor can advise directly injecting hyaluronic acid or corticosteroids (cortisone) into the affected joint to relieve pain. Inflammation is combated with cortisone, which acts fast and may continue for several months. The natural joint fluid is increased by hyaluronic acid, facilitating movement. Although it takes a few months to become fully effective and function slowly, the effects can continue up to six months.
- Physical therapy and exercise can assist in increasing mobility and fortify the muscles that support joints.
- More direct support is offered by canes, splints, or supportive braces.
- Those who are overweight may get relief from the symptoms of arthritis as a result of weight loss since losing weight eases pressure on the joints.
When to think about having Joint Replacement Surgery
Finding the ideal window of time for surgery can be challenging. The advice of healthcare professionals to delay as long as feasible is common. However, waiting too long might restrict recovery. On the other side, undergoing surgery too soon can make it more likely that you’ll need to have another one later.
Modern prosthetic joints should last up to 20 years which is acceptable if you’re 70 or 75. However, if you undergo a knee replacement at age 50, there’s a risk you’ll eventually need to have that joint fixed or replaced.
What is the ideal time for joint replacement?
When less intrusive procedures no longer offer relief, it may be time to speak with your doctor about joint replacement options.
If you are going through any of the following, you might be a candidate for joint replacement surgery:
- Severe discomfort that prevents you from engaging in normal tasks.
- Day or night, moderate to severe pain when sleeping, especially if the ache wakes you up.
- Persistent swelling or inflammation that doesn’t go away with rest or medicine.
- An intolerance to NSAIDs.
- Limited range of motion makes it challenging for you to reach over your head, get out of a chair, or enter and exit a car.
- X-rays that display “bone-on-bone” contact between your bones without any cartilage between them.
What Is Joint Replacement Surgery?
Although knee and hip replacement surgeries are the most popular, people with severe arthritis in their upper extremities may also qualify for shoulder replacement surgery.
An orthopedic surgeon will remove all or part of the damaged joint and replace it with a plastic and metal prosthetic joint. Despite becoming widespread, the treatment is still regarded as significant surgery.
After having joint replacement surgery, a patient can anticipate a lengthy recovery period, which may include physical therapy, before regaining their maximum level of functionality. The return on investment, though, might be a lifetime of relief.
It is important to remember dangers are present during all medical procedures. And other health concerns could affect recovery. Following your doctor’s advice such as, attending all your follow-up visits, going for all ordered tests, taking your medicine as directed, finishing your physical therapy program, and keeping active as advised can significantly aid in your recuperation.
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