With the Covid 19 restrictions on surgery, are there any other alternatives to surgery while you are waiting for your surgery? The answer is yes. Exercise has been proven to give pain relief and at worst a good way to prepare for surgery. Even though there are joint replacements about to recommence with the Covid restrictions easing, due to the backlog of people now waiting, there may still be an extended waiting time for your surgery.
It is important to manage your pain as best as possible. This could include prescribed medication from your doctor. What has also been shown to help with pain relief is exercising the muscles to strengthen them and move your joints to decrease the stiffness. Strengthening the muscles can also help assist with better shock absorption away from the joint affected by the arthritis for example. When you have an arthritic joint it can restrict your movement range due to the arthritis but some of the restriction can be because of how guarded you are moving. Hence, some of the stiffness can be relieved by moving the joint through range in a less aggravated position. Stiffness can also be contributed to by stiff muscles. Therefore a stretching program can assist in some of flexibility to move a little freer. Some soft tissue massage or joint mobilisations from the physiotherapist can also be helpful in relieving some of the pain.
You may also be limping as a result of your pain. Due to the limp you are adopting, you are using your body and muscles in a different way. This can lead to other dysfunctions in the hip and back and could lead to pain in more areas than just the knee. It is important to address these pains in other areas of your body to stop the dysfunction from spreading to other areas. If you end up getting the surgery, even if the pain has significantly decreased, you may still maintain the limp or other adaptations because you have programmed the body to move in a certain way. What would help the body is to learn how to move better. This can include gait retraining which is learning how to walk more normally in order to minimise the adaptations from the rest of the body. This can be done before surgery as well as after surgery. So book into see your physiotherapist today. The relief you get from physiotherapy could even save you from having surgery altogether!