A recent Canadian-led study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that many people with osteoarthritis benefit as much from physiotherapy and mild pain relievers as they would from arthroscopic surgery.
We asked you to share your stories of overcoming joint pain and immobility, whether through surgery or therapy.
Your opinions and experiences were across the board. While some felt a non-surgical approach was best, others felt an operation was the best option for them.
Here's what you had to say:
"I had knee surgery for a tear in my miniscus cartilage in my knee - could not walk up a flight of stairs or anywhere for a walk...the Dr. knew I had arthritis, and with the tear, was sent to specialist who did the arthroscopic surgery on my knee to find I had a "plica" which is an overgrown tendon which should not have been there..that was removed and the tear was clipped back. I have pain from the arthritis and have to exercise but the knee is free of the restriction I had from the 'plica' which no one saw in MRI or X-ray...so I was helped by the surgery BUT not totally free of pain." Doreen
"In 2005 I was unable to walk as both knees needed to be done because of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I couldn't drive the car or prepare my own meals.I was in misery and only able to get around with a walker, cane and wheelchair. I opted for surgery on one knee with the other to be done four months from then.I ended up with a bloodclot behind the new knee while in hospital and was there for 11 days.I now have a circulation problem from the new kneecap down to the foot which I didn't have before the surgery. The second knee no longer needs to be done because I stopped all meds and went to vitamins, minerals and other supplements." Evelyn
"I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis at 39 years old. From there my mobility was like going on a roller coaster. The pain was so severe, that sitting, standing or sleeping did not relieved it at all. I also developed acid stomach with all the medication for the pain, which I eventually stop taking it. I had knee surgery and I am not handicap any
longer. And most important I do not have any more pain on my knees. I can do just about everything except run. I had never been happier." Minnie, Ottawa
"Last spring I tore the meniscus in my left knee and was told by my Ontario physicians, that it was probably just a flair up of arthritis and should be treated by physio. After two gruelling months of pain and limbing, I could stand it no longer and went to Quebec for a private MRI, then flew to Halifax with the results to Dr. William Stanish, who scheduled me for arthoscopic surgery within 6 weeks. 4 days after the procedure I threw away my cane and have been pain free and mobile ever sinc and I'm still waiting for someone from Ontario to schedule an MRI. I would recommend arthoscopic surgery heartily." ѿ Gerald Lunz, Toronto
"Hmmm. I guess I'm really in the minority or one of those special cases. After 35 years of OA stemming from surgery in the early 70's (that's when knee surgery was a manly sport), I had arthroscopic surgery to clean up the damage. I have been pain free for 5 months. I no longer need pain killers, orthotics, etc. I have had several sessions of physio, which, incidently, did nothing."
What's worked best for you?
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