Knee and hip pain are common pain generators, prompting surgical interventions. It is the hope anytime someone has surgery that their pain will be reduced if not entirely eliminated. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. This may be because the pain experienced prior to surgery was from a variety of causes, and replacement of the joint did not address all causes.
Some patients may experience pain following a knee replacement or hip replacement. This pain may be described as the same aching, sharp, gnawing pain experienced prior to the replaced joint.
Following joint replacement surgery, the nerves going to the joint are still intact. These nerves may transmit a painful sensation from the area surrounding the replaced joint and thus, the patient may still experience pain.
Your Center for Pain Management physician will work with you to design a treatment plan to meet your unique needs. The plan of care will depend on your symptoms and examination. On the initial visit, a thorough history and physical exam will be performed. Early treatment focuses on confirmation of the diagnosis and the initiation of a treatment plan to alleviate pain. Your physician may order imaging to ensure proper alignment of the joint.
Your treatment plan may involve lifestyle modifications, evaluation of your gait, rest, physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories if your medical history allows, and topical creams and patches.
If your pain is not improved with some of these modifications, you and your pain management doctor may discuss interventional pain management options. After joint replacement, it is no longer recommended to inject medication into the joint. Your doctor may suggest a procedure called cooled radiofrequency denervation to treat your pain. This option includes a diagnostic phase where medication is injected along the nerves, sending nerve signals to the joint, and if pain is relieved, then those nerves will be heated to produce a lesion and stop the transmission of painful stimulation.