Degenerative joint disease or joint degeneration is also known as osteoarthritis. It’s known as “wear and tear” arthritis because joints wear down, enabling bones to rub against each other. Individuals with degenerative joint disease often have pain, stiffness, and swollen joints. It can turn so debilitating that your daily tasks become difficult.
How It Happens?
As we age, the body becomes weaker as bones, muscles, and joints break down or gradually lose their function. When joint tissue rubs against bone over many years, normal wear and tear can adversely affect joints, including joints in the vertebrae. Degeneration of joint tissue often leads to stiffness and pain, which is very common in osteoarthritis. Arthritis can increase in any joint but is most common in the neck and lower back.
Viscosupplementation Treatment for Degenerative Joint Disease
Viscosupplementation is a commonly used non-surgical treatment for the degenerative joint disease (DJD). This breakdown of healthy cartilage softens and lubricates joints over time. The lack of lubricant causes irritation and inflammation of the joints, leading to severe pain.
Viscosupplementation is a relatively quick and easy procedure that involves injecting another lubricant, hyaluronic acid, into the affected joint to reduce irritation, inflammation, and pain. Viscosupplementation has been found to significantly aid pain management and delay the need for total joint replacement surgery.
Who Can Benefit From Viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation is most commonly performed on osteoarthritic knees, although any osteoarthritic joint can benefit from this therapy. Individuals with chronic joint pain due to osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD) may be candidates for viscosupplementation when conservative treatments have failed to provide relief.
What Happens During Viscosupplementation Treatment?
During viscosupplementation therapy, your doctor will administer three to five injections to the affected area. These are usually injected a week apart.
Not every patient gets full relief from viscosupplementation, as many patients report pain relief over three to five weeks after administering the injections. Patients report that the most noticeable pain relief occurs two to three months after the first injection.
Depending on the patient, the length of the pain relief varies. Patients often report improvement in symptoms for six months or more after treatment.
Patients treated with viscosupplementation often report mild pain at the injection site. Swelling, heat, itching, and bruising can also occur around the joint.
How Is Viscosupplementation Treatment Done?
After sterilizing the area, the doctor injects hyaluronic acid into the joint space under ultrasound guidance. Some viscosupplementations may only require one injection, while others may require 3 or 5 injections. Please wait 1-3 weeks after the last injection for the injection results to take effect.
- Supartz : 5 injections
- Orthovisc: 4 injections
- Euflexxa: 3 injections
- Gel-one: 1 injection
What Are The Advantages And Risks of Viscosupplementation?
Benefits of viscosupplementation include:
- Minimally Invasive: Epidural steroid injections are minimally invasive, meaning the risk of complications is minimal.
- Pain Relief: Viscosupplementation therapy can help relieve your joint pain and get you back on your feet to resume daily tasks.
- Quick: Viscosupplementation is an in-office treatment that takes about 5 minutes on average.
Patients may notice swelling, redness, itching, or pain at the injection site after the procedure. These reactions are usually mild and temporary.