We aim for pain relief and better function without surgery
Broadly speaking, arthritis can be divided into inflammatory (diseases such as Rheumatoid) arthritis or more commonly degenerative or osteoarthritis. In osteoarthritis (OA) there is a breakdown of normal joint fluid and cartilage, sometimes due to an injury such as an ACL tear or fracture, but more commonly due to a combination of aging processes, genetics, and lifestyle factors. While OA can affect any joint, the knee and hip are often the most problematic as this typically limits activity and quality of life.
- OA is a major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia
- >3.95 million Australians suffer from OA pain
- Up to two thirds of people suffering from OA are of working age
- Traditionally, treatments are only directed towards pain relief
- While pain relief remains a primary objective at SPARC, we believe in a multidisciplinary approach to reduce progression of OA, increase function and quality of life and health
While having some degree of OA is a normal part of aging, there are many strategies other than surgery that can help keep you healthy and active in your life.
Ongoing knee or hip pain should not be dismissed as an inevitable part of getting older, especially if it starts to limit your daily life and activity levels
Rest would seem to be a common-sense approach to take if a joint hurts, however studies and international consensus are unanimous that activity plays a major part of appropriate treatment. We have a fully equipped specialty OA gym service, with appropriate sports physiotherapists and exercise physiologists to help guide you through the process, whether it be with 1:1 sessions or small group classes.
In addition, there are many other evidence based strategies to explore which can include:
- Weight loss (shown to reduce 4x that amount of force on the knee joint)
- So even losing 5kg would feel like taking 20kg of pressure off the joint
- Bracing and orthotics to deload the more symptomatic side
- A variety of natural supplements and gels
- Modern pharmaceuticals
- Radiofrequency denervation (numb the nerves in the joint)
- Injection therapies
- Visco-supplementation gels (stimulating an increase in normal joint lubrication)
- Platelet rich plasma (blood injections)
- In addition, we are the only specialist physician practice in South Australia soon to engage in research and use of stem cell treatments for cartilage defects and OA.
Exercise is Medicine
However underpinning all treatments for osteoarthritis is movement. SPARC practitioners believe that “exercise is medicine” remains a key component of treatment. Surgical options are of course advised in many advanced situations, but for those whom surgery is either not appropriate, or arthritis not yet bad enough to warrant surgery, our aim is to defer your joint replacement as long as possible while keeping you moving and comfortable in your life.
If non-surgical management of your OA is your aim, we look forward to working with you to keep you moving, healthy and happy.