Dr. Mark Shekhman, an orthopedic surgeon at Hartford Hospital, and Ray Shaw, a physical therapist and director of the Hartford Hospital Rehabilitation Network, talk about what you need to know about joint pain and what can be done to prevent it or treat it.
Here are some questions with answers provided by Shekhman and Shaw:
How common is joint pain as we age?
- Joint pain is common as we age. It’s almost expected, but if you’re active or overweight you could experience sooner than you expect. If you’re active it improves your ability to recover quicker, but it does put a lot of pressure on your joints. If you’re overweight your joint pain can be improved if you lose the weight and get healthier. However, sometimes joint replacement may be necessary.
When should they come see a doctor?
- If you’re experiencing pain, it’s always good to see your doctor. An orthopedic doctor can really look at the joint and see the best method to improve mobility and alleviate pain. Doctors can also recommend physical therapy which can really improve range of motion and relieve pain. Physical therapy is also important if you’re going in for joint replacement surgery.
How does staying active help prevent joint pain?
- Staying active and being healthy helps to really alleviate many ailments as we age. This also helps to keep joints healthy. But, as we age and stay active the joint can get worn out and also cause pain. You should also talk with your doctor if you’re experiencing pain when doing certain exercises. The active aging person can experience pain in different ways and seeing a specialist can help keep that person active longer.
If I do need surgery, what can I expect?
- Surgery is different than it has been previously. Recovery is quicker and there is a more coordinated effort at Hartford Hospital than ever before. Doctors use minimally invasive procedures for a quicker recovery. After going home, the doctor works with VNA HealthCare for therapy at home or with Hartford Hospital Rehabilitation Network for outpatient physical therapy. The coordination in the beginning helps patients get better quicker. And many people recover at the place they are most comfortable-their own home.
What does physical therapy do after surgery?
- After surgery, physical therapy can help to get the joint healthy and patients recovering quicker. Physical Therapy is essential to recovery – it can be done in the home so if patients can’t get out they’re still getting what they need to get better.
How can I manage my symptoms?
- It’s always best to talk with your doctor to see what the best options are for you. Sometimes joint replacement maybe necessary – but sometimes working with a physical therapist can be all that is needed.
Where can I learn more-tell me about the free event?
- We have a free event open to the public on Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. There will be demonstrations and you can ask doctors/physical therapists your questions about joint pain and learn how to best manage symptoms and pain.
For more information, visit www.hartfordhospital.org/communityeducation