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Synvisc Injections for Osteoarthritis- Why do they work?

For over 10 years patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and shoulder have had an alternative to oral medication for controlling knee or shoulder pain.  The advent of the use of an intra-articular injections of mostly known as there brand name Synvisc  or Hyaluranon that serve to lubricate the joint surfaces can provide significant pain relief for for  patients with osteoarthritis.  It is believed that the supplementation of hyaluranon compensates for a reduced amount found in osteoarthritic knees.

Currently, researchers are unsure of the exact mechanism that contributes to pain relief from these injections.  Researchers propose it is related to one or all of the following:

  • Pain relief by “turning off” pain receptors in knee
  • Inhibit the  free radicals in knee that can cause joint surface damage
  • Anti-inflammatory effect in joint

Overall, these injections as a group have few side effects and when done in conjunction with paramus physical therapy have great results.  Most of the time my patients  have improved tolerance for range of motion and strengthening exercises when patients have received an injection.  If you have limited physical therapy benefits are recommend waiting till 6-8 week s following an injections that are a series of three done over a three week period.

 

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