Many non-surgical options for painful osteoarthritis
Are you one of the 30 million Americans with osteoarthritis? The Centers for Disease Control calls this painful condition, in which the cartilage and bones within a joint begin to break down, the most common type of arthritis. Also referred to as “wear and tear” or degenerative joint disease, OA is a leading cause of disability for the elderly.
“It can be hard to get up when you’ve been sitting for a long time, and you may also have joint tenderness or swelling, a bony enlargement like knobby knees, or crepitus, which is cracking or grinding noises when you move your joints,” said Dr. Khurrum T. Pirzada, medical director at The Knee Institute and Regenerative Medicine.
Located in West Bloomfield, The Knee Institute specializes in relieving joint pain with methods that are non-invasive, do not require surgery and never involve prescribing opioids. How do they do it? By taking the time to properly diagnose your condition (besides OA, autoimmune deficiency, gout or ligament and meniscus problems can also be culprits) with a thorough medical overview and imaging technology like MRI, X-ray and/or ultrasound.
“Many times, our patients have already seen an orthopedic specialist and gone through steroid injections, Tylenol and/or anti-inflammatories,” said Pirzada. “They come to us looking for an alternative to surgery, which is commonly referred to as ‘the last option.’ Total joint replacement can be quite painful and requires months of recovery.”
After ruling out a bone-on-bone condition (which does require surgery), the healthcare providers at The Knee Institute use a host of methods, including viscosupplemetation, in which lubricating fluid is injected into a joint with the help of sophisticated imaging technology to ensure accuracy plus knee bracing and/or taping. A key element is an eight- to nine-week program of physical therapy to both strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the joint.
“We have a great group of physical therapists who are really hands-on and understand structure and function. Many of the exercises are subtle movements that give good results to decrease pain and increase function. They aren’t very difficult, and as the patient goes on they feel stronger and are able to do more exercises,” said Pirzada.
“Better function, less pain” is an underlying mantra at The Knee Institute, which is Michigan’s only facility accredited with the OsteoArthritis Centers of America. A recently published study showed that their non-surgical knee protocol produced a 95 percent positive outcome in 20,000 patients.
“Numerous studies have shown that being immobile is worse for pain than staying mobile, because you get atrophy of the muscles and deconditioning and therefore less support of these joints that are undergoing degradation,” Pirzada noted.
If these methods do not produce the desired results, the “regenerative medicine” part of The Knee Institute’s name kicks in. This involves cutting-edge techniques like injecting platelet rich plasma (PRP) created from the patient’s own blood alone or, optimally, combined with only FDA-approved human umbilical stem cells, which help regenerate cartilage.
“To our knowledge,” said Pirzada, “we are the only healthcare facility in Michigan utilizing prolotherapy with human umbilical stem cell treatment and PRP combined. We get great satisfaction helping to improve people’s quality of life, to see them able to get out of a chair without needing assistance, to walk farther, to exercise more, to do the activities of daily living. It’s all about being more independent and self-sufficient.”
For more information, call The Knee Institute at 248-430-5113 or visit thekneeinstitutes.com.
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