A Healing Journey with An Osteoarthritis Patient
Madam Irene Lo, age 66, from Subang Jaya came to YapChanKor Pain Treatment Centre to treat severe pain in her right knee which started in March 2018. The knee pain originated from a mild sprain or injury sustained when she stood up after sitting on the floor for 30 minutes.
When the pain started, she did not seek treatment from our centre immediately. She visited a medical doctor in April which resulted in a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers. The doctor brushed off the injury by saying that it was common for the elderly to injure themselves if they were doing anything strenuous.
What started as a mild throbbing pain on her knee gradually worsened into constant and severe pain. It was aggravated by constant walking and performing household chores.
By May, the pain was so bad that it affected her daily mobility. She could not walk, sit or sleep without feeling the pain. While sleeping, a bent knee would trigger the pain so she had to keep her leg straight all the time. Doing housework, marketing, taking care of the grandchildren and walking the dog were all out of the question. Madam Lo was in so much pain that, where once she walked upright, now she could only walk slowly with her back bent, relying on her left knee and a cane for support.
When she visited YapChanKor in May 2018, her condition had deteriorated and the knee was swollen with inflammation; the injured right knee was visibly larger than the left knee. She was seen by our senior physiotherapist Vicky and the case was diagnosed as Grade 3 chronic osteoarthritis. Madam Lo signed on for 21 treatments of 2 herbal patches and would also be guided to do some physiotherapy exercises at home to strengthen her joints.
In this article, we give you some insights into Madam Lo’s treatment course and what goes on behind the doors of the treatment rooms at YapChanKor.
(Note: Although the 21 treatments were spread across 3 months, for the purposes of this article, we will name the first day of treatment as Day 1, second treatment as Day 2, and so on.)
Phase I: Daily
Day 1 to Day 3
The swollen knee was treated with ice packs to reduce inflammation and 2 herbal patches were wrapped around the knee before Madam Lo was sent home. As the injury was still prevalent, no massages or other treatments were done in order to prevent the inflammation from getting worse. After 3 consecutive days, the swelling had reduced tremendously and Madam Lo reported feeling less pain and tenderness around the injury.
Phase II: 2 to 3 Times A Week
Day 4 to Day 12
After the swelling had reduced, the proper treatment began. In every session, Madam Lo experienced the same sequence of treatments.
First, the knee was warmed for 15 minutes with an infrared heat machine to relax muscles and improve blood circulation. This step is only introduced once the swelling has fully subsided, which depends on the speed of the patient’s recovery.
If infrared heat treatment can’t be introduced yet, an ultrasound device is used on and around the injury to reduce swelling and improve the healing rate by increasing blood circulation. The device administers sound waves and low heat to the skin.
Ultrasound treatment device
Following that, a TENS machine providing an adjustable electricity charge was hooked up to Madam Lo’s knee to stimulate the muscles and nerves. This process takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
The second last part of the treatment involved a light massage of about 10 minutes to loosen and strengthen the tight muscles of the leg. Finally, the 2 herbal patches were administered and wrapped. The patches should stay on for at least 12 to 18 hours.
Madam Lo was advised to come 2 to 3 times a week during this second phase of the treatment. Each appointment is given a specific date and time slot by the physiotherapist in-charge. The entire session takes approximately 1 hour.
Day 12 – Physiotherapy Begins
When Vicky, the physiotherapist, detected an improvement and reduction in the swelling of the knee, she began teaching Madam Lo some physiotherapy exercises to perform at home. All she needed are an exercise band and ankle weights. The number of repetitions was suggested and was gradually increased after monitoring the progress.
The stationary physiotherapy cycle is an optional exercise where she could use a stationary bicycle at home or at the gym.
Madam Lo’s skin was a bit sensitive so there were some days when the herbal patches are skipped until the following session, but the steps of the treatment still remain the same.
Phase III: Once a Week
Day 13 to 16
Great progress was seen to the knee recovery and so, Madam Lo was asked to visit only once a week from now on. During each session, she spent about 1 hour undergoing the treatment and did some physiotherapy exercises as guided by the physiotherapist for about 15 minutes.
Madam Lo reported that after 16 sessions (approximately 8 weeks) and diligent practice of physiotherapy exercises, she could do some light walking around a shopping mall with barely any pain. She felt extremely relieved to know that she was on a fast journey to recovery!
Day 17 to 21
With great happiness that her injury was healing well, Madam Lo was elated that she could now stand upright without her cane and walk with greater walking speed. She also felt well enough to be doing some light cooking, housework and playing with her grandchildren again!
In her own words, she praised the treatment at Yap Chan Kor Pain Treatment Centre for its effectiveness, comfort and efficiency in healing her osteoarthritic knee”
“I would like to thank my therapist, Vicky, for being so patient and skilful in treating my injury. Before the treatment, I couldn’t walk due to the pain. After the treatment, I can walk very well without any pain. I want to thank YapChanKor Pain Treatment Centre for giving back my freedom and mobility.”
Below are videos of Madam Lo’s walking to show the difference before and after the treatment.
This article was written by Chuah Ai Jou, Madam Lo’s daughter, who is a returning customer herself of YapChanKor Pain Treatment Centre.