Finding Relief From Knee Pain

Finding Relief From Knee Pain 645d52e949149.png

Finding Relief From Knee Pain

It is estimated that 800,000 Americans get knee replacement surgery every year, however, the number of people that have painful knee osteoarthritis is significantly more.

This means that many people in this country and worldwide, are suffering from the debilitating knee pain that comes with untreated osteoarthritis.  Which as a result, can interfere greatly with their daily lives, and limit what they can and can not do.

No one deserves to live with the significant pain, limited physical capabilities, and reduced quality of life that comes from living with untreated knee conditions. Especially with the many treatment options that are available.

The most common method of finding relief from knee pain due to osteoarthritis is through the use of medications or injections.

Though these methods may be helpful for those with milder cases of knee osteoarthritis, these types of treatments only offer temporary relief, and often come with a slew of unwanted side effects, and other health risks.

The most common medications taken to provide some relief from knee pain belong to a class of medications called NSAIDs.

NSAID stands for “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs”. Examples of these commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines are aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and some narcotics.

Though helpful in the short term, long-term use of these medications can lead to serious side effects.

The most common side effects of NSAIDs are gastrointestinal problems, including stomach irritation and reflux. It has also been reported that in some cases NSAIDs can contribute to heart problems and increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions.

Other side effects associated with using NSAIDs:

• Stomach irritation and ulcers
• Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding
• Increased potential for bruising
• Exacerbation of asthma symptoms
• Increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and blood clots
• Kidney damage

Another NSAID that is used to relieve osteoarthritis pain is a prescription-strength medication called celecoxib, also known by its brand name Celebrex.

This medication is more likely to be prescribed to patients that can not take some of the other over-the-counter NSAIDs due to stomach issues, as celecoxib is less likely to cause gastrointestinal bleeding. However,  there is evidence to suggest that celecoxib can contribute to the development of heart problems.

Some people can not take NSAIDs for a variety of reasons, in which case they might opt to take acetaminophen to relieve pain, also known by the brand name Tylenol.

Acetaminophen can relieve pain but does little to reduce inflammation. And, though it is widely used to treat pain, most doctors do not recommend acetaminophen as it is more likely to harm the liver than some of the other pain-relieving options that are available. In fact, too much acetaminophen can not only cause liver damage but can even lead to death.

Furthermore, some studies have even found that acetaminophen does little to help relieve osteoarthritis pain, especially when compared to the efficacy of NSAIDs.

When it comes to severe knee pain, another common pain reliever is a type of medication called an analgesic. These medicines are commonly known as “painkillers” and they work by blocking pain signals in the body. Though acetaminophen is technically an analgesic, the term is more often used to describe prescription painkillers such as tramadol, and opioids containing hydrocodone or oxycodone.

In our next article, we will dive deeper into looking at medications that are commonly used by those suffering from knee pain by focusing on their benefits as well as their risks.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about a non-invasive procedure to treat knee osteoarthritis, so as to avoid knee replacement surgery and the overuse of pain relievers, please call us today to set up a consultation at MidAtlantic Vascular and Interventional, 301-622-5360.


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