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Are you suffering from joint pain in silence? If any of the following four warning signs sounds familiar, it may be time for a replacement.
You can't make it through the grocery store without taking a break, and it's not just the grocery store. If you can't walk around the neighborhood or play with your grandkids without taking frequent breaks, it's probably time for joint replacement surgery, says Bruce Bollinger, MD, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth. "It's a quality of life decision," he says. "Joint replacement is typically life-changing."
You can't do the things you love. For you, not being able to walk your dog may be a red flag. Sound familiar? Then it's time to make an appointment with your doctor.
You're unable to get a good night's rest because of your joint. Maybe it's the pain keeping you up, or that you can't get into a comfortable position. "If every time you roll over you feel the bones grind together, you're going to wake up," Dr. Bollinger says. "If you can't sleep, you're tired all the time."
Don't let the pain - or the thought of surgery - keep you from getting your ZZZs. Joint replacement surgery is one of the most successful procedures being done, Dr. Bollinger says. "It's very common. There's nothing I do that helps people more." In fact, more than 1 million hip and knee replacements were completed in 2009, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You've tried everything else, and you're still in pain. "Joint replacement is always the last resort," Dr. Bollinger says. Your doctor may suggest home exercises, a physical therapy program, medications or injections first. If none of those treatments works, joint replacement may be the next step.
Still on the fence? Consider what your quality of life will be if you don't do it. "If you lose the ability to walk, your overall health tends to decline," Dr. Bollinger says.
Plus, if you choose a hospital that uses minimally invasive techniques and advanced pain control methods, you're more likely to have a faster recovery and fewer complications. "We see some patients up and walking around the same day of their surgery," Dr. Bollinger says. "It turns someone who can barely walk into a person who can live their life again."
For more information about the orthopedic services offered at Baylor Fort Worth or for a physician referral, visit BaylorHealth.com/AllSaintsOrtho or call 1.800.4BAYLOR.
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