The Kansas City weather is improving and increased outdoor activities will follow. If you suffer from joint pain, this time of year may not be as exciting as it was in years past. Joint pain is often caused by inflammation within the joint capsule which can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Over time, this inflammation degrades the lubricating and shock-absorbing synovial fluid in the affected joint. This can make your knees or other joints feel painful, stiff, achy, and you may feel a sensation of grinding. These symptoms are associated with Arthritis, which affects 54.4 million American adults, and the prevalence increases with age. In the state of Kansas 536,000 adults have Arthritis, that’s 25% of the adult population, and the rate is higher in Missouri at 29%.
Viscosupplementation with Hyaluronic Acid is a safe and effective treatment, recommended by the Arthritis Foundation, to restore the natural lubricating properties of your synovial fluid. Recent studies show that standard medical treatment with Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Opioids, and Tylenol are less-effective and carry systemic side-effects. NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen were found to increase the risk for stomach ulcers, kidney damage, and cardiovascular incidents such as Heart Attack and Stroke. Opioids should be avoided whenever possible due to high addiction potential.
Other commonly-used medications such as Corticosteroid joint injections are also associated with harsh side-effects such as blood glucose dysregulation in Diabetics and deterioration of adjacent cartilage and bone, leading to the necessity of joint replacement surgery. Often given by surgeons, the effectiveness of these medications for Arthritis is limited to weeks, and commonly reduces with each subsequent injection.
If Arthritis is left untreated, this fluid degradation and chronic inflammation can lead to deterioration of the cartilage and bone of the joint called Osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis is the most common form of Arthritis. Our patients are encouraged to try non-invasive joint pain treatments and therapeutic exercise prior to considering surgery. If treated with the correct non-surgical methods, Osteoarthritis can be halted, and painful symptoms subside while invasive surgeries are avoided.
Joint pain is more common among people with other chronic conditions such as Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity. Our treatments are covered by most major insurance and Medicare and include a comprehensive Lifestyle Assessment to assess for other associated diseases. This allows providers to treat the cause of multiple diseases at once.