TJR (Total Joint Replacement) – Is surgery necessary?

Surgery for osteoarthritis is one of the most common surgical interventions performed today. Most often, TJR (Total Joint Replacement) is seen as the solution. Despite the fact that it is a common surgery, it is not entirely without risks. Studies have also shown that treatment for osteoarthritis in the form of exercise is, in many cases, a better option than surgery. Viewing osteoarthritis as a disease that is best treated with pain relievers and ultimately prosthetic surgery is gradually falling out of favor. Nevertheless, few people who undergo surgery for their difficulties find a physiotherapist before the surgery is performed.

Read more about osteoarthritis.

New thinking about treatment for osteoarthritis

The old approach, where surgery for osteoarthritis was considered unavoidable, is slowly but surely being replaced with treatment using customized exercises and physical activity. This has been shown to reduce pain related to osteoarthritis effectively and over the long term. Today, most orthopedic clinics require patients to try exercise, for example, in the form of a patient education program, before being assessed for prosthetic surgery. Several studies have shown that long-term, guided exercises can reduce the need for prosthetic surgery in the event of osteoarthritis.

What is best for osteoarthritis – surgery or other treatment?

Ultimately, it is not a question of one or the other. For a few people who are affected, prosthetic surgery is unavoidable. This type of surgical intervention has changed the lives of many people for the better. However, most people can manage without needing surgery. It is possible to reduce pain and increase functioning drastically using customized training and exercises.

At the same time, it is important to remember that a person who has undergone prosthetic surgery will also need to exercise both before and after the surgery. This will improve the results afterwards and simultaneously reduce the risks associated with surgery.

Read more about treatment for osteoarthritis both with and without surgery.

Arthritis patient education program

A good option that is a combination of exercise and education is the arthritis patient education program, known as “Artrosskolan” in Swedish. The program is offered throughout the country and is led by physiotherapists who specialize in osteoarthritis. The patient education program was started by BOA (Better Management of patients with Osteoarthritis) to increase the quality of life among patients affected by osteoarthritis. At the same time, the goal is to spread knowledge of the disease and why exercise and education form the basis of treatment. The participants learn about the importance of physical activity, customized exercises and their health in general.

The treatment methods with the patient education program are based on science and comply with the guidelines of the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. This type of treatment is also a step in the right direction for the proactive approach that is recommended. It involves preventing the disease rather than reacting when something has already happened.

Here you can find more information about tools and aids to help soothe joint pain.