Knee Pain and Arthritis

Knee Pain Arthritis Does Not Have to Slow You Down

knee pain doctor in Bloomington IL and Newport Beach CA

Millions of people in the United States suffer from knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. It is one of the most common complaints heard by physicians—and with good reason: Osteoarthritis affects weight-bearing joints (like knees) because they endure the most wear and tear throughout a person’s lifetime. Standing, sitting, walking, running—at work or at play, virtually any movement requires our knees. We often take them for granted…until they start to hurt.

Pain caused by osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the knee wears away and the bones of the knee rub against each other. Cartilage is a type of connective tissue made up of special cells called chondrocytes. Chondrocytes produce a matrix of tissue that provides the smooth surface which allows bones to move over one another as well as acts as a shock absorber.

According to Dr. Ben Taimoorazy of Guardian Headache and Pain Management Institute, abnormal pressure against the chondrocytes due to long-term wear and tear or acute injury can also stimulate the chondrocytes to produce inflammatory secretions that cause pain and damage, and ultimately further deterioration of the cartilage. The resulting pain and stiffness has not only a physical impact, but also a psychological impact, as sufferers tend to consciously or subconsciously adjust their activities to minimize the pain.

Common treatments for knee pain include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication, exercise, steroid and lubricant injections, and the last resort, total knee replacement. Unfortunately, many knee-pain sufferers don’t get much relief from anti-inflammatory meds or exercises to strengthen surrounding muscles.

Steroid and lubricant injections may provide short-term relief, but aren’t considered a long-term solution and are often used to buy time before pursuing a surgical option. And, while total knee replacement often takes care of the problem, doctors are reticent to suggest them for very young or very old patients.

Knee pain image

So what to do about knee pain – other than suffer?

According to Dr. Taimoorazy, radiofrequency ablation is a treatment that may offer patients immediate and long lasting pain relief, without surgery, strong drugs, or need for rehabilitation. Here’s how it works:

Knee Nerves System

The knee has many nerves, but three, the genicular nerves, have a relatively precise presentation, meaning they are almost always where they are supposed to be. This consistency enables interventional pain management physicians to address and control knee pain by inactivating these nerves by shocking them with a small radio frequency current, causing the tissue to heat up and become inactive. If nerves are inactive, they cannot carry pain signals to the brain…therefore the pain is decreased, often almost completely.

Patients undergoing radio frequency ablation face a two-step process, the first of which is diagnostic. Using minimal sedation, the physician numbs the genicular nerves by using real-time x-ray and then monitors and gauges the patient’s pain level. If simply numbing the nerve decreases the pain, the patient is a good candidate for the ablation procedure.

“Some patients feel almost 100% relief that lasts 6-9 months or longer,” says Dr. Taimoorazy. The procedure can be repeated 1-2 times per year, if necessary.

Perhaps even more exciting for knee pain sufferers is who the likely candidates are for the radio frequency ablation procedure.

Dr. Taimoorazy explains, “This procedure is indicated for patients who are very young or very old—basically those who are not candidates for total knee replacement. Because the prosthesis used in total knee replacement surgery lasts for about 10-15 years (depending on the patient’s activity), doctors try to delay performing this surgery if the patient isn’t of a certain age because chances are they might have to go through it again. And older patients are a higher risk for any kind of surgery, and often have other health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or other problems that may work against them undergoing a major surgical procedure.”

Occasionally, a few patients who have had total knee replacement still experience pain. “Even though the surgeon finds no reason for pain – the surgery went well and the prosthesis is doing exactly what it’s designed to do—there are some patients who still experience pain. The radio frequency ablation procedure may well be a solution to this type of pain,” says Dr. Benjamin Taimoorazy.

Radio frequency ablation procedures have been used for headache and back pain relief.

“It’s a simple, outpatient procedure that typically takes less than 30 minutes and uses minimal sedation—and it can eliminate a lot of disability caused by knee pain,” Dr. Taimoorazy says. “Plus the relief from pain lasts a long time, and the procedure can be easily repeated when necessary.”

Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that radio frequency ablation is covered by insurance and patients can self-refer to make an appointment to find out if they are a good candidate for the procedure. “The procedure is not a last resort—it can be done sooner, especially if the surgeon is hesitant to perform a total knee replacement anytime soon or not at all due to extremes of age or other medical conditions,” explains Dr. Taimoorazy.

A simple procedure, a profound effect. Significant pain relief may be attainable after all.

Knee Pain Interview with Dr. Taimoorazy

For more information about knee pain diagnosis and treatments, you may contact your local Dr. Benjamin Taimoorazy at Guardian Headache and Pain Management Institute, Located in Bloomington IL and Decatur IL


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