The Baby Boomer generation reaches for retirement through constant joint pain. Many aging individuals live with debilitating pain every day and the only cure may be joint replacement surgery. This procedure is extremely invasive. High skilled surgeons perform a kind of carpentry on the joint. The damaged surface of the knee or hips gets scraped away and replaced by a metallic prosthetic. The length of recovery directly correlates to the patient’s health.
The rehabilitation process involves patience, pain, and perseverance. Many post-operative patients spend weeks in the hospitals rehabilitative wing. They must gain strength and mobility before resuming normal life. Physically fit individuals will recover faster because their muscles were already strong before surgery. An overweight or weak person will have more issues because of muscle weakness. Before joint replacement surgery, try to get in shape or lose some weight. Strengthening the legs and hips before a joint replacement will cut recovery time considerable, and ease the pain. Sometimes, adding regular exercise or physical therapy can actually negate the need for surgery.
The question still arises for many aging people today “Should I get this type of surgery?” Daniel Baumstark of PhysioDC has three things he always tells his patients considering joint replacement.
A. Considering joint replacement should be a last resort. Exhaust Physical therapy, injections (cortisone, “Syn-Visc, etc.) and acupuncture before contacting a surgeon. Using these tools can often delay or completely prevent joint replacement surgery. A knowledgeable orthopedic surgeon will present these options before deciding on surgery.
B. Take age into account. A joint replacement only lasts about 15 years. After that, they begin to break down and need replacement. Thus, a fifty-something person who gets joint replacement will most likely go through the procedure again.
C. Joint replacement causes a considerable amount of pain. It costs a considerable amount of money and the problem may come back. Only the severest of pain calls for joint replacement surgery. When the pain prohibits the functions of every day life, only then should a person get surgery. Otherwise, try other options.
Physical Therapist Dan Baumstark has treated some patients who had joint replacement surgery and regretted it. Their pain did not lessen and they continued with physical therapy treatments to manage it. Satisfied patients are the ones who carefully considered joint replacement, tried everything else first, and then got the surgery. They have severely reduced pain and even full mobility. Joint replacement has a time and place, just like everything else. Consult an orthopedic surgeon or a physical therapist like Daniel Baumstark at PhysioDC before deciding on joint replacement surgery.
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