Help for Arthritis Sufferers

Man holding his knee in pain


At Divine Savior Healthcare we have a variety of resources and specialists available for those with arthritis looking to ease pain and increase mobility. We’ve taken a new approach to joint replacement and created a special Joint Journey program that brings together a team of experienced and skilled surgeons with caring and specially-trained nurses, therapists and technicians.

Our goal is to provide seamless, coordinated care, and get you back to your favorite activities as soon as possible. For this program, we created a special area just to care for knee and hip replacement patients. Here patients will be able to work towards their goals to recovery with an excellent support system. Our Joint Journey patients and their family attend a pre-op class and procedure so our team can get to know each patient’s unique needs and to prepare him/her for joint replacement. Exercise and therapy is provided in a group setting, and family members are encouraged to participate in group activities, meals and other special events.

We make it a priority to ensure your stay with us is as pleasant and comfortable as possible and have a dedicated Joint Care Coordinator who guides patients along their journey before, during and following surgery. Learn more about the Joint Journey program by contacting the coordinator at 608 617-5260.

Upcoming 2016 Arthritis Seminars

Questions about your knee or hip pain? Attend a free upcoming Arthritis Seminar at Divine Savior Healthcare! Learn what you can do now to relieve joint pain and what your options are for treatment.

Evening Seminars

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

October 5

December 7


Daytime Seminars

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

November 2



The Wellness Center – Suite 4

Divine Savior Healthcare

2815 New Pinery Road, Portage

For Questions or to RSVP, Call 608 745-6289 or email: CommunityWellness@dshealthcare.com


Walk With Ease

Divine Savior Healthcare also offers a new interactive program to help those suffering with joint pain.  The Walk With Ease program at La Vita is both an educational and hands-on program, promoting self-management and getting you on-the-move to walking safely and comfortably. This program is supported by the Arthritis Foundation. Staff leading the program have been trained and certified by the Arthritis Foundation.

Participants can join the program anytime starting Monday, October 3, 2016 and you will continue to meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12:30 – 1:30 pm for 6 weeks for a total of 18 sessions. Physician referral is required for participation. For more information or to sign up for the program, contact La Vita member services to register at 608 745-3800.


Top 10 Things You Can Do For Arthritis

As the cold dreary weather begins, many suffering from arthritis say they feel joint pain the worst this time of year. But whether this is true or not for you, there are 10 things you can do for your arthritis to relieve symptoms and support your healthcare needs.


1. Get a Proper Diagnosis

Many causes of joint pain are not related to arthritis. These include fractures, nerve damage sciatica from back problems, a torn meniscus knee, bursitis, synovitis, tendonitis, myositis, and even cancer. Always get a proper diagnosis first.


2. Start an Exercise Program

Moderate exercise is an integral part of treating arthritis. Although exercise may sometimes cause discomfort, proper exercise will help nourish the cartilage, strengthen the muscles, and may prolong the life of your joints. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program to obtain permission, precautions, or guidelines.


3. Modify Your Activities

Proper body mechanics can lead to a more effective use of your body and less strain on your joints. Following these activity modification guidelines may prove helpful:

  • Avoid slouching and practice good posture by standing up straight.
  • Avoid sitting in low chairs to reduce stress on your knees when sitting and rising.
  • While traveling, get up and move around every hour or so to avoid stiff joints.
  • Avoid impact-loading activities running, etc..


4. Nutritional Supplements

Recently, nutritional supplements have become popular with patients with arthritis. Glucosamine and Chondroitin have been some of the most widely used. It is best to talk to your physician about their recommendation before taking any supplements.


5. Apply Heat/Cold

Heat and/or cold may be used to decrease pain and increase flexibility. Cold decreases blood flow and helps relieve joint pain and swelling. Heat increases blood flow and helps relax muscles.



Use prior to exercise or activity

Use after exercise or activity

Increases local circulation

Decreases local circulation

Improves motion

Decreases swelling

Decreases joint ache

Reduces pain

Helps you relax

Reduces inflammation



 Gel packs that can be kept cold in your freezer or heated in a microwave can be helpful.


6. Use Orthotics/Bracing/Self-Help Devices/Support

Simple everyday tasks are difficult to accomplish when your joints hurt. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about self-help devices for the feet, knee, hands/wrist, or back-hip-knee.

Support – Support devices such as canes, walkers, or crutches may also help with pain and discomfort. Talk to your doctor if you feel these might help you with support and balance and be sure you’re trained on their proper use.


7. Investigate Over-the-Counter Medications

Medications are important in the treatment of arthritis. Many over-the-counter OTC medications are effective in patients with arthritis with few side effects.

Pain-relievers such as Tylenol® are generally safe and effective in relieving minor pain and discomfort, however, they do not reduce the inflammation caused by arthritis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs such as Motrin ®, Advil®, and Aleve® help relieve joint swelling and inflammation.

The American College of Rheumatology recommends Capsaicin cream or gel as part of the treatment plan. Other creams may be found to be useful as well. Always check with your doctor before starting any medication or supplements.


8. Ask About Prescription Medications

When OTC medications are ineffective in reducing the pain, swelling, and stiffness from arthritis, prescription medications may be helpful. There are four general classes of prescription medications:

NSAIDS – NSAIDS reduce the production of prostagladins, which is a major cause of pain and swelling in arthritis patients. The drug blocks the COX enzyme, which exists in two forms: COX 1 good and COX 2 bad. Traditional NSAIDS such as Motrin block both of these enzymes.

Non-Narcotics – Several drugs, such as Ultram Tramadol, are usually well tolerated and effective for pain relief. They work by reducing the brain’s recognition of pain. Many other combinations with Tylenol give these drugs a variety of names.

Narcotics – Narcotic medication is usually reserved for severe pain of a short duration. These include medications such as Percocet, Lortab, and Demerol. They work by reducing brain recognition of pain, but have significant side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and addiction. As most arthritis pain is chronic longstanding, narcotics are generally not used in people with arthritis.

Rheumatoid, Lupus Drugs – There are many excellent medications today for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. These complex drugs include Methotrexate, Plaquenil, Remicade, Arava, Enbrel, Prednisone, and others. They are used mainly by rheumatologists, internists, and family doctors.

Your orthopedic surgeon may refer you to one of these specialists for care if you may need one of these medications.


9. Consider Injections

Cortisone Injections – Injecting Cortisone directly into joints helps relieve both swelling and pain. Cortisone is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the adrenal gland that helps for months. The effect occurs usually within a day or two of the injection.

The long-term use of cortisone injections is controversial. Cortisone may play a role in weakening tendons or cartilage, if used too often. Most doctors limit its use to a few times a year, depending on the circumstances.

Hyaluronate Injections – Hyaluronate injections have been approved for arthritis of the knee. The injections may help relieve osteoarthritis pain and restore joint function. Hyaluronate is a naturally occurring substance in joint fluid that provides lubrication and cushioning to the joint.

Several synthetic forms of hyaluronate have been developed for use in the knee joint. To be effective, you must receive three to five injections weekly. The effectiveness is usually not noticed for a month or so.

Studies have shown that the more severe the arthritis, the less effective the injections. When effective, however, the relief may last six months to a year. Injections may be repeated in six months.


10. See a Surgeon who Specializes in Arthritis

Surgeons who specialize in arthritis can provide you with all the options and expertise to decide whether surgery is right for you.

Knee Surgery Options Arthroscopy – Arthroscopy is a form of surgery where surgeons place small instruments through punctures into your knee joint. Damaged tissue can be removed or repaired within the joint, providing relief from both pain and swelling, while possibly preventing further damage to the knee. This procedure is usually not helpful if you are suffering from severe arthritis.

Total Knee Replacement – For patients with significant arthritis, your surgeon may recommend knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement involves replacing the worn-out surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components.

Partial Knee Replacement – The knee is composed of three compartments. Osteoarthritis sometimes develops in only one compartment, while the other two remain relatively healthy. Patients who have osteoarthritis in only one compartment may be candidates for a partial knee. The advantage of a partial knee is that it resurfaces only the damaged cartilage of the knee, preserving the undamaged cartilage. You and your surgeon will determine if a partial knee replacement is right for you.


Hip Surgery Options

Hip Replacement – Total hip replacement replaces the ball on the upper end of the femur thigh bone and resurfaces the acetabulum socket. Resurfacing the ball on the upper end of the femur instead of replacing it, is sometimes done in younger patients. These implants are designed to restore function and eliminate as much discomfort as possible, while allowing you to return to a more active lifestyle.

Other Forms of Arthritis Shoulder – Arthritis of the shoulder that results in pain and stiffness, may necessitate a shoulder replacement. The ball end of the shoulder is replaced with a metal ball. The socket may or may not be resurfaced with plastic. The hospital stay is typically one to two days. Therapy usually continues for three months or more.

Ankle – Arthritis of the ankle can be quite painful. Two options exist. Fusion of the ankle is most common and works well. Occasionally total ankle replacement is performed.

Hands/Wrist/Elbow – These joints can often be treated without surgery. However, in some cases, either fusion or replacement is performed.

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Experiencing a dull pain in the pit of your stomach

Stomach PainGastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and gallbladder disease are two very common disorders. Knowing which one you have may be trickier than you think. Symptoms may be vague, such as a “dull pain in the pit of your stomach”, making it hard for you to explain to your doctor what’s exactly going on.

At Divine Savior Healthcare, General Surgeons, Dr. Eric Anderson and Dr. Joshua Pogorelec, have seen many patients with these symptoms and after further examination are able to help  diagnose and treat both diseases.

What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD refers to stomach contents moving into the esophagus causing a burning sensation commonly referred to as heartburn. Other symptoms may occur as well, such as pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea and an acid taste in your mouth.  If this continue, prolonged exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus.  This in turn can result in difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing or permanent damage to the esophagus.

Although not all reflux results in symptoms or damage to the esophagus, common symptoms include:
• Heartburn
• Acid regurgitation
• Belching
• Difficulty or pain when swallowing
• Waterbrash sudden excess of saliva
• Dysphagia the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus
• Chronic sore throat
• Laryngitis
• Inflammation of the gums
• Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
• Chronic irritation in the throat
• Hoarseness in the morning
• A sour taste
• Bad breath
• Coughing at night

What is gallbladder disease?
The gallbladder is located below the liver on the upper right side of the abdomen. The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is made in the liver and allows fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Any condition that affects the gallbladder is considered a disease, and there are many different scenarios that fall under gallbladder disease:
• Inflammation
• Gallstones
• Common bile duct stones
• Biliary Dyskinesia
• Infection
• Perforated gallbladder
• Gallbladder polyps
• Porcelain gallbladders
• Gallbladder cancer

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec share "the most common disease of the gallbladder is gallstones. Most people with gallstones do not even know they have them.  Once they cause problems, the gallbladder may need to be removed. Symptoms include pain below the right rib cage or in the “pit” of the stomach. This pain may radiate to the right upper back, chest, or shoulder. Other symptoms may include, bloating, nausea or vomiting, fever or chills, chronic diarrhea, jaundice yellow-tinted skin, or unusual lighter-colored stools or dark urine.”

After taking a closer look at GERD and gallbladder disease, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec are able to provide helpful insight on common distinguishing factors between the two diseases.

Common distinguishing factors:
• Location: Although both may feel like a “pit in your stomach”, if you experience symptoms located closer to your throat or in your chest it is more likely to be GERD related. Symptoms located near your right lower rib radiating into your right upper back, chest and shoulder are more likely to be associated to your gallbladder.
• Pain: Unlike GERD, gallbladder pain usually begins suddenly, and changing positions, belching, passing gas or taking medications rarely helps pain symptoms go away.
• Timing: With heartburn being the most common symptom of GERD, symptoms of reflux are likely to occur shortly after eating, where symptoms of gallbladder disease usually occurs several hours after eating and have more consistent patterns of reoccurrence the same time each day.

What does treatment look like?
The symptoms of GERD are commonly and effectively treated with over-the-counter medications such as anti-acids and proton pump inhibitors. However, if relief does not go away from these medications your provider may recommend you be evaluated by one of our surgeons at Divine Savior.

After a thorough history and physical, our surgeons may recommend further evaluation of the esophagus and stomach with endoscopy.  Similar to colonoscopy, but without the need for prep, upper endoscopy allows the surgeon to visualize the esophagus, stomach and intestine to evaluate for damage to the esophagus, infection and a hiatal hernia.  Depending on the findings, further testing may be indicated to evaluate the function of the esophagus. 

Patients with severe GERD benefit from surgery to prevent reflux from occurring.  This procedure is commonly performed by both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec, is minimally invasive, and very effective at treating GERD.  In fact, most patients no longer require any antacid medications after the procedure.

If you are found to have stones in the gallbladder causing symptoms, the best course of action is to have the gallbladder removed.  Leaving the stones in place will continue to cause pain and may result in serious infection of the gallbladder and bile ducts, jaundice or pancreatitis. 

Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec routinely perform minimally invasive removal of the gallbladder.  This is most often an outpatient procedure and very successful.  After a short recovery, most patients will find their symptoms are gone and they are able to live a normal life. 

If you experience symptoms related to GERD or gallbladder disease, or have concerns about either, it is best to consult your provider for further examination. Treatment for either disease varies person to person, but taking action immediately and being properly treated can help you prevent problems from worsening.

To schedule an appointment with Divine Savior Healthcare General Surgeons, Dr. Anderson or Dr. Pogorelec, call 608-745-5176.

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