According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, knee replacement surgeries are on the rise – they have more than doubled since 2000. Obesity plays a factor, as more Americans living with worn-out, painful knees. Knee replacement surgery seems like a one-time fix to ease the pain.
Knee replacement surgery entails having a surgeon cut away damaged cartilage, bone, and ligaments. The surgeon replaces them with an artificial joint – most commonly made from metal and plastic. Although surgery might seem like a great idea, it doesn’t come without risk. So while years of knee pain might entice someone to get knee replacement surgery, consider these points first.
4 things to consider before knee replacement surgery
1. You may not be a good candidate
You may have gone many years in agonizing pain with your knee, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a good candidate for the surgery. A study published by Virginia Commonwealth University analyzed data from both men and women who had undergone the surgery. What they found was nearly one-third of participants were actually not suitable candidates, which meant they only had minimal improvement post-surgery.
There are many reasons why your knee may hurt, and ideal candidates for knee replacement surgery are those with arthritis or chronic pain. But pain being a result from nerve damage, poor circulation or hip problems won’t get you the desired results after knee surgery. It’s important to get fully tested to understand the root of your knee pain and try other methods prior to rushing in to knee replacement surgery.
2. Knee replacement surgery is incredibly painful
If you think living with knee pain is painful, post-surgery recovery is even worse. People think that by getting the surgery the pain part is over, but sadly it isn’t. A study from the New York City Hospital found women aged 45 to 65 experience serious pain post-surgery. Although medical advancements have been put in place to reduce the amount of days a person will experience pain, it’s still important to consider it when deciding to proceed with knee replacement surgery.
3. The medications come with nasty side effects
To tolerate the pain during and post-surgery you will most likely receive high-potent pain medication. Although your knee may feel good, your head won’t. Prescription pain medications are strong and come with a slew of side effects such as psychotic symptoms including hallucinations. Additionally, these medications can be addicting and the longer you use them, the lower your tolerance for pain may become. It’s also important to note that if you are currently on medications they may interact so it’s important you speak with a doctor with any medication concerns.
4. You have to strengthen up before surgery
You may think that if your surgery is booked you can sit back, relax and wait for the doctors to take over – wrong. If you want the most successful knee replacement surgery, you’re going to have to put in work. Studies have shown those who have strengthened surrounding muscles have higher success in recovery in comparison to those who don’t. This means, before you head in, start exercising and building up your muscles. You can cycle or work with a physical therapist. If you’re looking for optimal results, it’s best you begin exercising.
How to treat and prevent knee pain naturally
Ultimately, the best course of action is to treat your knee pain naturally. Surgery can be risky, and painful. Use these tips to help reduce knee pain and live a healthy life.
- Manage/lose weight
- Always wear proper footwear
- Partake in low-impact exercise
- Rest and relax achy joints – apply ice and heat if necessary, especially after overuse
- Get adequate sleep
- Treat underlying issues – poor circulation, hip problems.
Trying these tips first can help not only improve knee pain but help you decide if knee replacement surgery is really for you.
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