When you complain of joint pain at your doctor's office, what is the usual response you hear? "You're just getting old." "You'll just have to live with it until you want surgery." You are prescribed medications and you are unclear of the side effects or drug interactions—so you fear taking these new medications.
ActiJoint is a medical office designed specifically to treat joint pain. Ryan Riggs, M.D., takes time to explain your treatment plan in detail. You get a summary of his findings, diagnoses, medical decisions, and recommended treatment plan. You are given educational materials so that you can better understand the reason behind your pain. And with so many treatment options available, you are given hope.
The Active Joint Institute cares about your comfort, your concerns, and your questions. You will experience five-star service during your visit. Décor, color, and ambience are specifically designed to promote calm and healing.
But perhaps the most unique difference is the development and perfection of the ActiJoint FLEX Shot™ — an ultrasound guided-injection of hyaluronic acid (HA) into your joint under sterile conditions. This lubricating shot protects your cartilage from further deterioration. The HA also cushions your joint and coats over the irregular surfaces. When the friction disappears, your knee pain disappears.
The routine standard of care for an HA injection is a "blind" administration (without the use of guidance equipment), and is available in many doctors' offices. This technique has a 75% accuracy rate. He is the most experienced physician in the state of Utah using guided injections, and he is the only physician in the area to routinely use ultrasound guidance with each joint injection. His patients enjoy the 100% precision that comes with the FLEX Shot™. This precision sets us apart as the leader in satisfied patients.
As new and improved therapies and techniques become available, you can be certain that Dr. Riggs will implement them.
Injected HA has been FDA approved and available since 1995, and the Euflexxa brand has been available since 2006. Since its introduction, no allergic reactions have been reported. Euflexxa is the most pure HA product, and it most closely resembles healthy human HA.
Any complications reported are usually due to the puncture wound more than the medication. Pain and soreness over the injection site, mild swelling, and painful weight-bearing have been reported.
Maximum pain relief is fairly slow (6 - 8 weeks after the start of treatment), but many patients begin to experience relief after the first or second injection.
The Active Joint Institute uses Euflexxa, a new and highly purified form of HA. Pain relief from this medication has been regularly sustained for over six months. Once the friction and pain in the joint have been eliminated, some patients have enjoyed years of relief from a single series.
An exciting and new, cutting-edge treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) involves a procedure using Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). PRP is derived from your own blood by taking a sample of it, placing it in a special tube, and spinning the blood in a centrifuge for about 10 minutes. This separates whole blood into its components, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and plasma. Within the plasma are highly concentrated platelets, the cells that normally promote blood clotting. These cells also contain a number of specialized chemicals called “growth factors.” The basic idea behind PRP injections are to deliver high concentrations of growth factors to an area of injury, with the hope of stimulating a healing response and reducing inflammation in the tissue.
PRP may be an appropriate option if other treatments have not worked, your insurance does not cover HA injections, or you are needing a reasonable cash price. The cost is significantly less than an HA injection because you are being injected with PRP, which is derived from your own blood and not with a commercial medication.
Because PRP is derived from your own blood, there is NO chance of having an allergic or immune reaction.
Attention is given to making your injections as painless as possible. Before any needle touches your skin, the site is sprayed with a topical anesthetic to numb it and then injected with lidocaine to numb the needle track. The guided injection is then administered with the smallest possible needle using an injection approach rated least painful. However, for those patients who desire even more comfort, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is available during the procedure.
A steroid injection only diminishes inflammation with the hope that it will calm down pain as well. It does nothing to treat the underlying cause of the joint pain. Usually the pain relief is fairly quick (within a few days of the injection) but lasts an average of only four weeks. A FLEX Shot™ diminishes pain by attacking the underlying problem — friction. By providing lubrication and cushioning to the joint, it protects the cartilage. The "snap crackle pop" in your knee goes away and so does the pain. Maximum pain relief is fairly slow (6-8 weeks after the start of treatment), but many patients begin to experience pain relief after the first or second injection. The pain relief from the FLEX Shot™ is longer lasting than the cortisone, and you can be assured that you are fighting the actual problem rather than masking the symptoms.
Supplements like Glucosamine and Chondroitin have been used for joint pain for years with varied success. Studies have now demonstrated that if used in combination they can be as effective as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) in pain relief while also helping to slow down the progression of arthritis. Contact Dr. Riggs at ActiJoint for proper dosage.
Supplements that contain HA are available in pill form. This is especially exciting for those patients who suffer from pain in multiple joints. A pill has the potential to help all joint pain! However, its effectiveness is limited in a critical way. HA structure resembles a sugar molecule. Once the HA pill gets into your stomach, most (if not all) of it gets broken down into simple sugars and is used as fuel. Very little survives to actually enter the blood stream. Even the HA which enters the blood stream circulates and can be absorbed by connective tissue — muscles, eyes, ears, nose and other cartilage. So, even though HA in pill form is promising, at this point its effectiveness for joint pain is questionable.
LASER treatments, just like most other treatments for OA, treat pain alone. It does nothing to alter the course of osteoarthritis. And, as far as treating pain goes, it is not as reliable as an anti-inflammatory pill like ibuprofen.
When you come for your first appointment, expect to provide a detailed medical history and undergo a focused knee exam. X-rays are usually taken, and a gait analysis is performed. With all of these tools, Dr. Riggs will discover what is causing your pain and recommend a treatment plan appropriate to your specific needs.
This is simply not true. Although some treatments produce more significant results if done within a specific time frame, there is almost always some treatment that can relieve your symptoms. And many times there are treatments that will treat the underlying cause of your pain, allowing your pain to be controlled significantly longer than if only your pain were treated.