By Maged Ghattas, MD
At times, pain can quite literally bring you to your knees. When Knee pain affects your lifestyle, it’s time to explore your options to ensure that you can continue to be active.
CAUSES OF KNEE PAIN
Knee pain can be caused by a degenerative disease of the knee joint, osteoarthritis of the knee, or injury. Luckily, sur- gery isn’t your only option; there are several other ways to manage your pain.
NON-SURGICAL OPTIONS FOR PAIN
One option is to receive injections of steroids or pain-relieving gel, while some patients are candidates for injections of platelet-rich blood plasma or stem cells. In these procedures, steroid injections reduce inflammation, gel lubricates the knee joint, and platelet-rich plasma will regenerate damaged cells in the knee if the damage isn’t too severe. Most patients are pain-free for a significant time after receiving treatment.
Another option is radiofrequency ablation of the nerves in the knee. This treatment uses radiofrequency energy to tar- get and ablate or deaden the nerves that feel pain in the knee. Radiofrequency ablation is appropriate for those who can’t have knee replacement surgery due to age or health-related issues. Advancements in the technology now allow doctors to target nerves more precisely without destroying surrounding tissue.
During the procedure, radiofrequency energy heats and cools the tissue at the pain site. Water circulates through the radiofrequency device while heating nerve tissue to create a larger treatment area. This targets the nerves causing pain more precisely without excessive heating. Results last about a year.
Both options are delivered over two to four weeks, depending on the procedure and the severity of your pain. Recovery time for either option is minimal. Most patients will not require opioid pain medications after treatment. However, every patient should be evaluated individually to determine the best approach for them.
Talk with your doctor about your pain. You don’t have to live with knee pain, and if knee replacement surgery isn’t right for you, you have other options.