Absolutely! Often a person with arthritis pain can find relief without surgery or can delay surgery for a good amount of time using what we call conservative treatment. For some people, arthritis pain is managed using physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, corticosteroid injections, or integrative medicine techniques such as massage, acupuncture, yoga or other movement therapies. These treatments can often provide enough relief for arthritis sufferers for months or years before pain progresses to the need for joint replacement surgery.
Our orthopedic team will start with an x-ray to see what level of deterioration you are living with. When we find arthritis, patients often ask when they should get the joint replaced. The short answer is that it is a personal decision. Most patients who see our orthopedic surgeon have already been adjusting their lives to deal with the pain for a while — giving up certain activities, moving differently or more slowly or managing the pain with medications. When those lifestyle changes become unacceptable for you, or the pain becomes too much to bear, that’s when you’ll decide to have the joint replaced. A joint replacement also takes commitment. You will want to be ready for that commitment to healing as well.
A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens with use of the arm away from the body. Motions like combing your hair or reaching behind your back can be difficult and painful. Rotator cuff injuries are more common as we age, especially for people working in a job that uses repetitive overhead movements. Rotator cuff surgery is an option when non-surgical treatment is no longer effective in reducing pain or maintaining mobility.
In the early stages, you can:
- Take breaks to rest your hands, especially if you are doing something repetitive
- Avoid activities that make symptoms worse
- Use ice or cold packs to reduce swelling
- Rotate your wrists and stretch your palms and fingers
- Wear a splint designed for carpal tunnel pain
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
When these treatments are no longer effective, or if you have pain or numbness in your hands, talk to an orthopedic surgeon at Upland Hills Health to learn the next best steps for pain relief.
The recovery time for a hip replacement and a knee replacement are quite different. Our experienced knee specialists in Dodgeville say knee replacements have a longer recovery time and a more intensive therapy because of the way the joint works. The soft tissues around the knee need more time and work to get back to full function. A hip joint relies more on muscle than other soft tissues, so while recovery can be faster, the muscle needs continued exercise so that it doesn’t become weak. When committed to therapy and home exercises, most patients feel about 85% recovered within 6 weeks after surgery.