Episode 14: Arthritis Pain & Surgery

Is Surgery the Answer to Arthritis Pain? – On the latest Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast 

By Rebecca Gillett, MS OTR/L, Podcast Host 

On the latest episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast, we discuss arthritis pain and surgery with Dr. Alan BeyerMD. Listen today. 

Living with pain from arthritis can be debilitating at times — whether it’s osteoarthritis or an autoimmune, inflammatory type of arthritis. When all your go-to treatments start to fail and the pain is too unbearable, the best option to decrease pain and improve your joint health might be surgery. But at what point should you consider surgery for your arthritis? What kind of questions should you be asking? Should you get more than one opinion? The pandemic forced most elective surgeries — including joint replacements — to be canceled or postponed, adding even more questions and uncertainty to the decision to proceed with any type of procedure. 

I can tell you from my personal experience, the decision to have a surgery isn’t one you go into lightly; you must do your research and feel 100% comfortable with your surgeon. I’ve had multiple surgeries related to both my rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in my wrists, my spine and my foot. 

My right wrist was the first joint to cause so much pain that surgery was my best option. The first surgeon I saw wanted to completely fuse my wrist on my dominant hand, which would have limited my function greatly as a new mom and occupational therapist. I’m grateful to the other therapists I worked with at the time who encouraged me to get a second opinion. The hand surgeon who eventually did my surgery asked me questions about activities I wanted and needed to do on a daily basis, then offered me an option that would not be as limiting to my functionHe wasn’t focused only on my pain but also on the long-term consequences of how a wrist surgery could affect my overall quality of life. 

As a patient who has undergone over a dozen surgeries, as well as a health care provider who has worked with many patients recovering from a joint surgery, I have learned the importance of doing your research to understand your options and how surgery may affect your overall health and quality of life. Preparation for surgery is key. Rehabilitation and post-surgical therapeutic exercises are paramount to a successful recovery.  

In this episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast, Julie and I are joined by Dr. Alan Beyer, a seasoned orthopedic surgeon who lives with psoriatic arthritis and has had hip surgery himself due to arthritis. He helps us understand at what point surgery may be an option and what is important to do before and after surgery. He also shares tips on what to look for when selecting both a surgeon and surgical facility. Listen now to learn more about Arthritis Pain and Surgery. 

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