At OSMI, we prefer to use non-surgical treatment whenever possible. Many injuries or conditions that historically required surgery can now be treated with non-surgical, conservative care. If surgery is indeed the right approach, we’ll discuss that with you—but first we’ll work our way down the list of other options.
Lifestyle Modification: Sometimes surgery can be a drastic solution to a problem that might be solved with some simple lifestyle modifications. This may include weight loss and/or avoiding activities that aggravate your condition. You may be able to alleviate pain by switching to lower impact activities.
Weight Loss: Extra weight puts extra pressure on the joints and this can result in chronic pain. Each extra pound on your body is the equivalent of three extra pounds on the hip joint, four extra pounds on the knee joint, and a whopping nine extra pounds on the patella femoral joint (the part of the knee joint that allows you to go up and down stairs or move from seated to standing). By maintaining a healthy weight that is proportionate to your height, you may be able to relieve extra pressure, alleviate joint pain—and avoid surgery.
Exercise: It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to eliminate pain is to get moving. Low-impact exercise can help you build strength and flexibility. Sometimes strengthening the surrounding musculature relieves pressure on the aggravated joint. In fact, many chronic injuries are the result of faulty movement patterns or muscle weakness.
Physical Therapy: Sometimes, exercise is not enough. A qualified OSMI physical therapist can identify faulty movement patterns or muscle weakness and then prescribe appropriate exercises to correct the problem.
Anti-Inflammatory Medications: While certainly not a long-term solution, anti-inflammatory medications may help reduce swelling and inflammation, thereby reducing pain. This temporary pain reduction can promote healing.
Corticosteroid Injection: A corticosteroid injection—more commonly known as a cortisone shot—is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent injected directly into the joint. The shot can reduce inflammation and pain.
Joint Fluid Injection: Joint fluid therapy involves a series of injections made directly into the joint in order to replace the synovial fluid and improve lubrication, thereby reducing pain. The injection consists of hyaluronic acid, which occurs naturally in the synovial fluid surrounding joints. The fluid is referred to as viscosupplementation, but you might hear some people call it rooster juice, which was a nickname that came into play because viscosupplements used to be derived from rooster combs. (Many of the new viscosupplements are not derived from rooster combs and this reduces the risk of allergic reactions.)
Glucosamine/Chondroitin: Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring molecules in the body. Glucosamine is believed to promote the growth of new cartilage and repair of damaged cartilage, while chondroitin is believed to promote water retention, improving the elasticity of cartilage, and also to inhibit cartilage-destroying enzymes. Some data indicates that supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin can improve joint mobility and decrease pain.
Braces: A brace is a device that provides external stability and may be made of plastic, metal, leather, and/or foam. By stabilizing a joint, a brace may help reduce pain and inflammation and strengthen surrounding musculature.
Orthotics: The hip bone is connected to the knee bone, which is connected to the ankle bone. Sometimes hip or knee pain is actually the result of foot problems. Custom orthotics and other modifications to shoes can help create a naturally aligned position, which can eliminate pain.