More than a million joint replacement surgeries are performed every year in the United States, helping women and men improve joint function and mobility. Still, even though joint surgery is proven and effective, it’s not always the best choice for joint problems.
As a leading orthopedic surgeon in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, Thomas Powell, MD, helps patients at Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine understand all their treatment options, including state-of-the-art joint replacement surgery. If you’re suffering from chronic joint pain, here are four reasons why he may recommend surgery for you.
1. Your joint hurts every day
Chronic joint pain is common, and it can happen for many reasons. Arthritis is probably the most common source of chronic pain symptoms, affecting about 90 million American adults.
Pain is considered chronic if it’s persistent and occurs for longer than 12 weeks. You might think that if you have chronic pain, daily symptoms are just “something you have to live with.” That’s not so.
People experience chronic pain in different ways. If your painful symptoms are bothering you on a daily basis, joint surgery might be the best way to relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
2. Your joint symptoms affect your mobility
Mild joint pain rarely interferes with mobility, and even moderate pain can be controlled by medication or other therapies. But when your joint pain is so severe that it makes it hard to socialize, perform daily routines, or do other activities that you enjoy, it’s probably time to consider joint replacement surgery.
When painful joints affect your mobility, it doesn’t just affect you physically. It can also lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and even depression. By restoring your mobility, surgery can help with all these symptoms.
3. Your joint hurts while you’re resting
Resting a sore joint can help relieve pain if you have temporary symptoms, such as those due to strenuous activity or an injury. But, with chronic joint pain, it’s different.
Chronic joint pain usually involves significant inflammation and progressive damage to the joint structures, including the protective layer of cartilage. Often, the symptoms associated with chronic joint issues don't go away with rest. Furthermore, these symptoms can even make it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
Worse yet, chronic pain and sleep dysfunction can form a self-perpetuating cycle: Pain can make it hard to sleep, and poor sleep can make painful symptoms worse. Breaking the cycle is important not just for relieving pain, but also for improving sleep, so you can get better rest and enjoy better health.
4. Other treatments aren’t working
Many people can achieve symptom relief for mild to moderate joint symptoms with conservative or minimally invasive options, such as physical therapy, canes or other assistive devices, activity modification, or medicines to decrease pain and inflammation. Joint injections or minimally invasive surgeries to repair minor joint damage may also help.
Sometimes, though, nonsurgical and minimally invasive options don’t provide meaningful or long-term relief, or you may find you need increasing doses of medicines to stay comfortable. In these instances, joint replacement surgery could be the solution you need to finally relieve pain and restore your mobility.
Learn more about joint replacement surgery
Dr. Powell recommends joint replacement surgery when other, nonsurgical options aren’t effective. If you have chronic pain, let Dr. Powell and his team develop a management plan tailored to your needs.
To learn more, call 205-606-5232 or book an appointment online with Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine today.