Alternatives to Orthopedic Surgery

Alternatives to orthopedic surgery
Alternatives to orthopedic surgery

If we are not wrong, then no one likes to have surgery, doesn’t matter how severe the condition is. Even when there is a fracture and it demands surgery, people ask about alternatives to orthopedic surgery. But sometimes, one cannot avoid surgery.

Yes, surgeries are painful, and more than that, they affect our daily routine. It is also noticed that sometimes people opt for surgery rather than making efforts to improve the condition without surgery. In some cases, one can even manage the most severe orthopedic conditions without surgical intervention. Here, you need the right orthopedic doctor and will to become better. In this post, we will be discussing some of the possible alternatives to orthopedic surgery.

What Are the Alternatives to Orthopedic Surgery?

There are two types of orthopedic surgeries, conventional open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), and minimally invasive surgery. The reason why we are discussing this here is that when surgery is the only option, minimally invasive surgery can be the best alternative to open orthopedic surgery. This is because minimally invasive surgery results in less post-operative pain, fast recovery, small incision, and many other health benefits. Though the orthopedic specialist often try non-invasive methods at first, minimally invasive surgeries (arthroscopy) can be an option if other methods are not feasible.

Some of the other alternatives to orthopedic surgery may include:

Physical Therapy

There are several orthopedic injuries that only targeted physical therapy can manage. Even one may not need medicines. In certain cases, physiotherapy is as good as surgery.

Physical therapy is nothing but a form of targeted exercises that healthcare service providers suggest depending on the type and location of the injury. The most common conditions for which physiotherapy is very effective are knee and lower back pain. The physiotherapist will suggest unique physical therapy activities to each patient depending on the type of discomfort.

This alternative to orthopedic surgery helps improve pain along with the range of motion, and muscle strength & flexibility. Following the guidelines issued by the physiotherapist can provide long-term relief.

Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is another popular alternative to surgery. It loosen ups the tight muscles caused by chronic conditions. This therapy is also helpful in improving muscle pain and relaxing muscles and joints.

Both massage therapy and physical therapy work well together. You would even experience the results right from the first therapy session. To get the best output after massage therapy, it is important to find an experienced therapist, especially someone who is an expert in managing sports injuries. This therapy can also provide long-term results and may even eliminate the need for surgery.


When it comes to chronic or persistent pain, pain medicine is the way to only provide temporary relief. In mild to moderate cases, medicines help in the long run as well. Depending on the symptoms, the doctor prescribes different types of medicines.



The doctor will prescribe non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) to improve pain and inflammation. Both over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs are available.


When nothing works to improve swelling, steroids can be the best option. Depending on the severity, the doctor will give steroids either as oral medicine or as an injection.

Cortisone Injections

Cortisone shots can provide immediate relief from pain and inflammation and the effects may last for up to 2 months. They are helpful in relieving painful joint symptoms.

Muscle Relaxants

Some orthopedic conditions cause tightness in muscles and in such cases, muscle relaxants are advised. Healthcare service providers give them on a short-term basis.

Note- Medicines are often given with other treatment options that provide long-term relief from orthopedic injuries/conditions.

Lifestyle Changes

Helping you recover from an injury is not only the responsibility of the doctor, but the patient also must make some changes to his/her lifestyle. The first and foremost thing that needs to be done is to avoid engaging in activities that make the pain worse. Considering this will help improve the quality of life.

Lifestyle modifications also include changing the diet plan and doing exercise regularly. Besides this, avoiding injuries is also an important point that you should notice.

Weight Management

Obesity is the cause of many health problems and orthopedic conditions are one of those. When the BMI of the body is high, it puts high pressure on the knees and ankles. Over time, wear & tear at a high rate starts to occur. This causes severe discomfort. In those who are already suffering from joint problems, high body weight makes the condition worse. Similarly, in people with low BMI, bone deterioration occurs faster, and even small injuries become severe.

So, it is important to maintain an optimum weight to improve the symptoms and avoid surgery.

Other Alternatives to Orthopedic Surgery

  • Occupational therapy
  • Osteopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic adjustments


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