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Pain and Arthritis Center, PC
Should Cortisone Be the Gold Standard?
Pain and Arthritis Center, PC
. https://ihatekneepain.com/

Should Cortisone Be the Gold Standard?

The old adage “all things in moderation” has long been a staple American mantra, yet for many, our fast-paced lifestyles now demand more quick fixes than ever before. Cultural factors lend to packed schedules which are also implicated in adverse social trends such as sedentary professional lifestyles, leaving healthy aspirations and convenience at odds – stressors that are having major effects on our well-being, specifically joint health. 

In traditional Western medicine, when joint pain or injury first occurs it is habitually addressed with some form of a steroidal fix to lessen inflammation so we can quickly return to our active lifestyles, which often lends to further injury or ongoing arthritic changes. 

For the last 50 years, intra-articular injections of corticosteroids have been used for the treatment of arthritic joint pain. Long touted the most effective anti-inflammatory drug on the market regardless of potential degenerative qualities following intra-articular injections. Yet the medical industry still considers it the gold standard, why?

Corticosteroids are the man-made version of the hormone cortisol, which can substantially reduce swelling and pain that is associated with inflammation, but the long-term latent side effects are hugely disconcerting. Serious damage can happen to the bones of the large joints called avascular necrosis, or the death of bone tissue due to a loss of blood supply. Many medical journals will confer the side-effects as “rare, but serious,” when in fact these symptoms are not infrequent at all – this adverse reaction can occur with minimal treatments at high doses causing the erosion of critical joint tissue. 

Cortisone as a gold standard for knee pain and arthritis needs a more in-depth look. The literature all points to long-term deleterious effects. Clinicians must question the standards and do the best for our patients.

In recent years there have been several highly respected and controlled case studies that have proven the rapid progression of degenerative arthritis following intra-articular hydrocortisone injections, yet the medical industry is still wildly prescribing them in droves. About 54 million U.S. adults have arthritis and are expected to reach more than 78 million in 2040; that’s an increase of almost 49% with about half of those reported are working age adults – age 18-64 years. Additionally, an estimated 34 million adults will be limited in their usual activities because of their arthritis in 2040, an increase of 52%.

Although osteoarthritis prevalence has increased over time, today’s high levels of the disease are not, as commonly assumed with an increase in sedentary lifestyles in recent decades. 

Leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to weakened joints and surrounding muscles – the solution should be in the prevention of these ailments. More studies need to be done to understand the factors that put people at risk for joint pain; but taking on a holistic approach to slow or even halt its effects should begin by identifying risk factors and beginning a preventative plan. Physical therapy works much better on knee osteoarthritis when the joint is cushioned with viscosupplementation – it’s like Dorothy putting oil on the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz, it gets the joints mobile and moving.

Pain affects not only our immediate physical health, but our overall well being. The interdependent parts of the body work as a whole, and treating them as one cyclical running system is critical, which can be done largely without surgery or drugs. This dynamic approach to patient care is much like the body itself: interconnected, taking into account posture, nutrition, sleep, exercise habits and movement overall. 

After working through a mindful holistic approach, patients not only find their joint pain solved, but report weight loss, increased energy, and greater self-confidence. The answer is in integrating regenerative medicine, physical therapy and chiropractic care to inspire overall health and well-being. Western medicine with an Eastern approach to care. 

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