Knee joint pain sufferers come to your office for one reason: to find relief and remain active. You have the option of directing them to conventional treatment, which would be prescription drugs and possibly surgery, or providing offloading knee bracing.
Which is best? While conventional medicine may point to pharmaceuticals, knee-joint bracing provides the relief and leads to the long-term recovery of your patients’ lifestyle they are seeking.
More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffer from arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Although symptoms may vary or subside over time, arthritis causes swelling, stiffness and restricts range of motion. The most common joint condition is osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis; the breakdown of cartilage and joint cushioning in knees and other joints produces pain and stiffness.
More than one third of Americans have suffered from some form of joint pain in the previous 30 days. Although drugs are the most common form of treatment for arthritis and joint injures, it may not be the best path for most patients.
Drugs simply mask the underlying symptoms rather than offload the joint to prevent further damage. What’s the better choice to promote healing, to alleviate pain and to reduce the need for surgery: drugs or offloading knee joint bracing, which essentially off loads the pressure on the knee essentially slowing down the progression of degeneration by preventing continued wear and tear on the joint.
Unloader and/or offloading knee bracing relieves pain in osteoarthritis sufferers by shifting weight to stronger areas and allowing the body to restore function to damaged or weakened areas.
Experts say knee-joint bracing by far wins this matchup by helping support the natural form and movement of joints while drugs tend to mask symptoms and provide little long-lasting benefits. So why do so many Americans opt for drug treatments?
Missing the Target
Let’s first examine the common drugs used to treat joint injuries and diseases, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Analgesics reduce pain but not inflammation. Acetaminophen, tramadol and narcotics which contain oxycodone and hydrocodone are the most frequently prescribed pain medications.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain and inflammation, but may increase heart attack and stroke risk.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for arthritis slow or stop the body’s immune system, which prevents it from attacking joints.
- Biologic response modifiers target protein molecules involved in the body’s immune system.
- Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and suppress the body’s immune system.
Despite the prevalence of medication for pain relief this type of treatment simply masks the symptoms the person is experiencing. In no way do the medications address the underlying cause of the problem.
Percocet, Vicodin and other opioids kill more than 17,000 Americans annually, according to Consumer Reports. More than 80,000 Americans go to emergency rooms every year from complications from acetaminophen complications.
Although the stronger prescription medications do succeed at relieving pain, they are often addictive and pack a variety of powerful and deadly side effects. Pain killer prescriptions have risen more than 300 percent in the last 10 years with Vicodin and hydrocodone-containing pain relievers becoming the most widely prescribed in the United States.
Stating the Obvious
Age-related joint deterioration and injuries – specifically, to knees – are often best addressed outside traditional treatment protocols which may eventually lead to surgery or involve dangerous, narcotic-based pain relievers.
Overriding the body’s natural healing functions or symptom masking with drugs short-circuits the body’s potential for long-range recovery.
Both athletes and the elderly are increasingly looking to bracing for joint support, stability and protection against injuries and, in the process; they’re discovering that offloading knee bracing doesn’t have to be unsightly or cumbersome.
Sufferers of joint pain are looking for easy and effective options that will allow them to return to active lifestyles. Most would prefer to refuse or delay expensive and risky surgery or eschew drug treatments that carry debilitating side effects.
Bracing restores natural stability to painful joints and allows for continual function and movement.
Braces for Different Purposes
Here is a short list of some of the most commonly used braces:
- Functional braces provide support to injured knees. Athletes wear them after injuries to stabilize their joints and to prevent future injuries.
- Rehabilitative braces are worn following injuries or surgeries. They provide knee stability and control motion.
- Prophylactic braces protect players during sports games.
- Knee sleeves compress the knee joint to provide support.
Joint bracing provides the support and allows for natural healing and proper functioning of the body. Drugs, on the hand, provide temporary relief and no long-term benefits for patients suffering from joint pain.
Learn more about the benefits of bracing for a more holistic and natural health-care focus and discover where you can find the finest medical equipment in the industry.