By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.
The native of southern Illinois is a graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic and on staff at the Simple Spinal Health & Medical Center in Carbondale. Simple Spinal is one of just 11 medical centers in Illinois to be accredited by the OsteoArthritis Centers of America.
While knee pain is a big problem among older adults, there is good news, Dr. Barrett noted. In particular, he was talking about the success rate that Simple Spinal is experiencing with a non-invasive Medicare-approved alternative to full knee replacements for osteoarthritis of the knee.
Osteoarthritis, or chronic degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. It can be caused by heredity, injury, weight, age, over use, under use as well as an injury to another part of your body that causes you to walk differently, Dr. Barrett explained. Signs include stiffness, pain, and loss of flexibility and range of motion.
Your knee, he said, contains a fluid that lubricates and cushions the joint. The fluid is produced naturally by your body.
With osteoarthritis, you find yourself in a Catch 22 situation. As your cartilage wears down or gets thinner due to osteoarthritis, the amount of fluid that your body produces decreases. Less fluid results in less protection for your knee, which results in more damage, which further reduces the amount of fluid being produced.
Also, noted Dr. Barrett, if your knee is hurting, you are less likely to exercise.
The general treatment process for knee pain was to rely on medications until the pain became too severe and then do a total knee replacement. The problem with total knee replacements is that the procedure is invasive and replacements only last five to ten years.
Simple Spinal’s Alternative to Knee Replacement Program involves the following, said Dr. Barrett:
- Injections of an FDA-approved fluid called Hyalgan into the knee. Hyalgan is the main ingredient found in Hyaluronic acid, a gel naturally found in many places in your body, including your joints and your eyes.
- Using the guidance of fluoroscopy or live-motion x-ray during the injection process to ensure that the fluid is being injected into the knee joint.
- Having the patient engage in a patented rehab program after the fluid has been injected into the knee.
Dr. Barrett attributes the Center’s 85% to 87% success rate to the combination of these three factors, with patients reporting relief ranging from Six to 24 months.
The fluid used for the injections comes from roosters combs.
For the curious, these combs that sit atop roosters’ heads are not just decorative and used to attract mates, at least according to wiki.answers.com. They serve as cooling devices. Air moving over the comb helps cool the rooster.
The combs are plentiful and would otherwise just be thrown away after slaughter.
But because of the origin of the fluid, anyone allergic to eggs or feathers can’t take advantage of the procedure, and vegetarians and vegans most likely would not consider it appropriate.
For anyone else suffering from knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, you can learn more about the procedure at Simple Spinal’s website (click)
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