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Can Physical Therapy Treat My Knee Pain, or Do I Need Surgery?

Chronic pain affects an estimated 20% of adults, and nearly half experience pain severe enough to significantly impact daily life. One type of chronic pain is knee pain, which can develop from a range of issues, from sports injuries to age-related wear and tear. When it’s persistent, it can not only affect your mobility, but also your quality of life.

Physical therapy is often a core part of a comprehensive treatment plan for chronic knee pain. However, there are some cases when surgery is the most appropriate treatment. 

Before considering surgery, it’s wise to explore other nonsurgical therapies. At aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics, Dr. Brian K. Rich specializes in pain management and can discuss nonsurgical treatment options for your knee pain

Physical therapy provides foundation

Physical therapy plays an important role in treating knee pain. It's a noninvasive approach that reduces pain and improves mobility.

Physical therapists use a combination of exercises and stretches. By strengthening the knee and improving flexibility, physical therapy helps to stabilize the joint and prevent future injuries. Physical therapy can help alleviate pain and improve function for conditions like knee osteoarthritis, ligament injuries, and meniscus tears.

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a nonsurgical treatment option for chronic knee pain and is particularly beneficial for treating knee osteoarthritis. This minimally invasive procedure uses radio waves to create heat that targets and disables specific pain-causing nerves. 

RFA provides long-lasting pain relief by interrupting pain signals to the brain. Patients often experience significant pain relief and improved mobility following treatment. The relief from RFA can last from six months to a year and in some cases even longer. 

Joint injections

Joint injections are another nonsurgical treatment option for knee pain, and they’re beneficial for conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis. These injections may contain corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, or platelet-rich plasma (PRP), each serving a unique purpose. 

Corticosteroids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can provide fast pain relief, while hyaluronic acid replenishes the joint's natural fluids, improving lubrication and reducing pain. PRP injections, which use a concentration of the patient's own platelets, can promote healing and reduce inflammation.

Patients often experience relief within a few days of an injection, and the effects can last several weeks to months, depending on the type of injection and your individual response. It's important to note that while joint injections can be effective in reducing pain and improving function, they’re typically part of a broader treatment plan, which may include physical therapy and lifestyle modifications. 

When surgery might be necessary

While physical therapy, RFA, and injections are beneficial for various knee issues, there are instances where surgery might be the better option. This is typically the case for more severe injuries or conditions that haven't responded to these conservative treatments. 

Consult with a specialist

Finding the right treatment plan for your knee pain starts with a thorough evaluation. Dr. Rich assesses your knee pain and considers factors like your lifestyle, age, and overall health. Rest assured that Dr. Rich recommends the most appropriate treatment plan to help you get relief. 

Contact us to schedule your consultation today. We have offices in Decatur and Coppell, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma. 

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