What Are Common Alternatives to Orthopedic Surgery?

December 21st, 2021 Becki Andrus
What Are Common Alternatives to Orthopedic Surgery?

If an orthopedic condition is causing pain or mobility issues, you might assume that surgery is your only option. While there are many benefits from orthopedic surgery for specific situations, we also offer a range of minimally-invasive treatments.

When surgery is required, you have access to a team of top-notch orthopedic surgeons with years of experience and modern solutions. Additionally, our team provides a full range of services, giving you access to everything you need for recovery – in one convenient location.

Whether you are trying to avoid surgery or you want to learn about other options for recovery, we invite you to talk to us at Orthopedic Associates for more information. Our team is here to provide full-service solutions for injury recovery and more.

Do You Need an Orthopedic Consultation?

When you find that pain and mobility concerns hinder your everyday activities, it’s time to talk to a specialist about your treatment options. Orthopedic doctors can assist with everything from back pain to osteoarthritis and other chronic conditions.

The lingering effects of an injury can have lifelong consequences, especially when left untreated. So how are these physical conditions affecting your quality of life?

Some people hesitate to talk to an orthopedic specialist because they are worried that surgery is the only recommended treatment. But there are often other solutions to improve your condition and help you feel better as soon as possible.

When you schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic surgeons at Orthopedic Associates, we provide information about ALL of your treatment options – including surgery and minimally-invasive solutions.

Surgery vs. Minimally-Invasive Treatments

There are situations where surgery is the obvious treatment, especially with severe injuries or long-lasting chronic pain. Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and complete a thorough examination to determine whether your symptoms and condition warrant surgical intervention.

In many cases, non-invasive treatments are recommended first. Patients often experience relief from these non-surgical treatments, helping to reduce the risk that you’ll need to go in for surgery.

It isn’t an easy decision to schedule surgery, which is why it’s vital for every patient to understand all of their options.

Orthopedic Treatments: Alternatives to Surgery

The good news is that there are many alternatives to surgery, helping you find relief without the pain and recovery that occur after surgery. Here is an overview of some of the alternative treatments you might discuss with our orthopedic doctors:

Physical Therapy

For certain types of injuries, physical therapy can be just as effective as surgery. For example, physical therapy is often recommended for conditions such as lower back pain or knee pain.

Your physical therapist creates a treatment plan that focuses on your unique needs. The goal is to strengthen the muscles, boost flexibility, and improve mobility in the affected area.

Not only do you complete exercises with the physical therapist during your appointment, but you will have “homework. – exercises to complete each day. Consistency with the at-home exercises helps to optimize your overall results.

In addition to exercises, a physical therapist might use other treatment modalities, such as stretching, electrical nerve stimulation, ice, and heat.

Massage Therapy

When the muscles are tight due to injury or a chronic condition, massage therapy can be a great way to provide relief. Working the muscles helps to reduce pain and address specific mobility concerns.

While massages can be relaxing, therapeutic services focus on reducing tension and improving the way your muscles and joints are moving. As a result, massage is a great companion to other treatments, such as physical therapy.

When you are choosing a massage therapist, find someone who specializes in sports injuries. This specialized skill set will ensure you are gaining the best results from each massage session.

Many people feel great after a massage appointment. However, the benefits of massage can accumulate over time, which is why it’s a good idea to maintain a consistent schedule.


Using medication is only a temporary solution to help with pain management. But it can be an essential part of your treatment plan to reduce pain and decrease inflammation during your recovery.

Orthopedic specialists can recommend a variety of medications, including:

  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as NSAIDs, might be sufficient to reduce pain and manage inflammation. While moderate or severe injuries might need prescription-strength medications.
  • Corticosteroids: When swelling needs to be reduced, then steroids can be an option to consider. Corticosteroids are available in oral dosages, usually only prescribed for one to two weeks at a time. Or, steroids can be administered in an injection.
  • Cortisone Shots: Injections can be beneficial to decrease joint symptoms. Patients often experience immediate relief after an injection and might need to return for additional treatment in the future. These shots reduce pain and inflammation and can last up to two months.
  • Muscle Relaxants: Sometimes, muscle relaxing medications can be helpful to reduce the tension in tight areas. These medications have an overall sedative effect on the body, so they are only used on a short-term basis.
  • Antidepressants: People who experience chronic pain often have a higher risk of depression as well. Antidepressants can provide relief for certain patients, helping them find more motivation to be proactive in their orthopedic treatment plan.

Always work closely with your doctor if you are taking any type of medication. The use of medication is usually paired with other treatment options. For example, medication helps with immediate relief, while other treatments offer the long-term results each patient desires.

Lifestyle Modifications

How are your daily habits and activities affecting your pain levels? Sometimes, small lifestyle changes can have compounding effects to improve overall health.

For example, your doctor might talk to you about diet and meal planning. Focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet can be an essential part of the overall treatment plan.

Other lifestyle adjustments might be needed in training and ergonomics. It’s vital to assess how your daily activities could be contributing to your pain and injuries.

Weight Loss

Carrying excess weight can put unnecessary pressure on the joints – especially the knees and ankles. This added strain can lead to chronic injuries over time.

When a patient is overweight, the doctor might recommend weight loss as a primary goal. This is because reducing weight can be an effective way to decrease pain and prevent the need for future surgeries.

Additionally, weight loss is beneficial to optimize the patient’s recovery after surgery.

Even small amounts of weight loss can have a positive effect on decreasing joint pain.

Other Alternative Treatments

A variety of other treatments might be discussed, depending on your condition and the severity of your symptoms. Recommendations might include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Occupational therapy
  • Osteopathy
  • Acupuncture

Alternatives to Orthopedic Surgery: Full-Service Treatment Plan

With the right treatment plan, these minimally-invasive options can help reduce pain, improve mobility, and avoid the need for surgery. While surgery is necessary at times, it can take a physical toll on the body – which is why we prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible.

Often, the ideal treatment plan is to use a combination of the alternative treatments listed above. For example, your orthopedic doctor might recommend physical therapy, medication, and massage therapy. Then, the treatment plan is adjusted as your condition improves over time.

Schedule a Consultation with an Orthopedic Surgeon

Just because you meet with an orthopedic surgeon doesn’t mean that you will need surgery. Learn more about all of the available treatment options by scheduling an appointment with our team.

At Orthopedic Associates, we are here to help people of all ages. Contact us for a consultation if you have chronic pain or sports injuries. You can schedule an appointment or call our office at (972) 420-1776.

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