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question answer rheumatologist

Q&A: Don’t Want Knee Surgery?

Question to the Doctor: I have bone-on-bone arthritis in both knees. I don’t want surgery. I am 70 years old and overweight, and I can’t exercise because of my knees. All I want is my life back. Can you give me some advice?

Answer: Weight loss isn’t easy, but it will reduce pressure on your joints, give you more energy and make you feel better overall. Consider exercise options like gentle swimming, water aerobics and upper body exercises that won’t put pressure on your aching knees.

Ask your doctor about nonsurgical treatments to reduce pain like cognitive behavioral therapy, joint injections and acupuncture. A referral to a physical therapist could introduce lifestyle modifications and assistive devices to reduce pain and increase function.

Also, talk with your doctor about why you don’t want surgery. Learning more about the process, risks and benefits may ease your concerns and make it a more attractive option for you.

David Pisetsky, MD, rheumatologist, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.

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Acupuncture for Arthritis

Acupuncture and Acupressure for Arthritis

One of several nondrug pain treatments for arthritis, acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the body. The goal is to correct imbalances in the flow of life energy – called chi or qi – thereby stimulating healing. Traditional Chinese medicine describes more than 2,000 acupuncture points (acupoints) connected to 12 main energy channels.

In the West, acupuncture is mainly associated with pain relief, but the 3,000-year-old practice is a complex and comprehensive system of medicine that emphasizes healing the mind and spirit as well as the body.
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