Monday, September 16, 2013

Knees in the News

I Am a Pincushion!

I went to my orthopedic pain specialist today with the intention of having prolotherapy to tighten the ligaments around my new knees. As regular readers know, despite a double total knee replacement, I am still having some pain after 2 years.

I did some research on this and discovered that indeed it can be common and that often during surgery or prior to, the remaining ligaments can be stretched and that creates an instability in the new joint which then can cause pain. I knew my ligaments were bad to start off with, so all this made sense.

Off I trundled to my doctor, ready to get some injections and be all fixed up. I had to take some money out of an IRA account to cover the cost because health insurance considers these treatments "experimental" and will not pay for them. Rubbish, but so it goes. Darn expensive but worth it if it all works.

Well, to my wallet shock, my doctor determined that part of the problem was that the nerves in my knees were also compromised--another very common consequence of knee replacement--and  I would benefit from neural therapy as well. This meant another series of injections of a painkiller along the nerve sheaths to take away the pain and nerve inflammation to help them heal as well.

Now, despite the mucho dollars this will all cost, I am somewhat relieved to discover that what I was feeling was not my imagination, that my suspicions were pretty much on target, and that there is a way to treat it. Ever since the surgery, despite the pain, there was this kind of almost numb, weird feeling in my knees that exercise and massage did nothing to help. The instability of the loose ligaments was one thing, but this other feeling was just strange. I kept thinking it might be nerve issues, but....

My doctor showed me a picture of where the nerves run in the knee area, and sure enough that matched my pain and strange feeling.

I have to go back at least three more times at some pretty hefty expense, but we did work out a payment plan so I can manage to cover it all.  I guess I will actually have some good medical deductions on my income taxes this time out, so there is a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.

I hate to spend the money, but at this point I really want my knees to feel better.

I do have to say this doctor--Dr. Edward Magaziner--is on the cutting edge of new therapies to treat injuries and pain.

At the same time, I do tease him a bit as most of the therapies he uses were pioneered in veterinary medicine, notably with horses. He was proud to tell me he was using a new stem cell treatment with great success.  The stem cells were derived from the patient's own fatty tissue and it worked much better to help heal and restore damaged joint tissues.

I laughed a bit at that one. Several years ago, I had given him an article about stem cell therapy being used in horses--deriving the stem cells from fatty tissue. At that point, he was still using blood serum stem cells. He remembered and grinned about it.

Bless the vets!

Now I have to find out the next medical breakthrough in equine medicine that will benefit man.

We talked about the new surgery for kissing spines in horses, but realized that it would not likely help humans. Very interesting conformational difference there. We want our horses to release their backs and round them. Humans need to have their backs straight or a bit inverted to stand upright. If those ligaments were cut, we'd bend over instead.

How does the phrase go from Animal Farm?  As far as that surgery goes:  "Four legs good, two legs bad!"

No riding today. I was told to "take it easy" as far as exercise goes. I may  swim tomorrow and ride out with Christina on Thursday.

Hope to be on the mend in short order. So does my bank account.


  1. Good luck with this new therapy. Even though it costs a bundle it will be well worth it if it works for you.

    I know it will be hard but pease try and take it easy for a few days.

  2. Glad the treatments are helping, and hope you can get back to (more comfortable) riding soon.

  3. How interesting and satisfying that what you were feeling was grounded in solid medicine. Too bad it's so expensive - I sure wish that would change. About the only thing we do medically (besides pay for HD health insurance) is get a flu shot, unless we have an emergency.

  4. how odd that something grounded in solid medicine and showable by diagram isn't covered by insurance...but most things weren't believed in once upon a time.....