Knee Pain – Do I Need a Replacement?

About a quarter of adults experience frequent knee pain, which results in limited function, reduced mobility, and impaired quality of life. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of knee pain in those over 50 years of age, and it is the #1 reason for total knee replacement (TKR). The rate of TKR in the United States and the United Kingdom has increased substantially in recent decades, which many have written off as a consequence of our aging populations. But is that really the case?

knee-pain-300x300

One study reviewed long-term data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and the Framingham Osteoarthritis (FOA) study. The research team concluded that advancing age is indeed a factor behind the increase in TKR since the 1970s, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The researchers also found that obesity is a risk factor for symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee, and as you know, obesity rates have skyrocketed in the last four decades.

So, what can be done to reduce your risk for a total knee replacement? There isn’t anything you can do about getting older, but there’s a lot you can do to maintain a healthy weight. Begin by switching to a more anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet or the Paleo diet. You don’t have to change everything you eat all at once. Start by eating an extra serving of vegetables and one less serving of processed food a day. As you notice yourself starting to feel better, it will give you the confidence to make further dietary modifications.

Because the primary way for the cartilage in your joints to get nutrients is through movement, you’ll need to become more active. Increase the number of steps you take per day and raise the intensity over time. You should also engage in balance and strength training exercises.

Of course, you’ll also need to ensure your knee isn’t subjected to abnormal movements both above and below that can compromise the tissues that make up the joint. For example, ankle pronation can overload the medial compartment of the knee. Similarly, a problem in the hip, pelvis, or lower back can also place stress on the knee, which can impair its function. That’s why doctors of chiropractic evaluate the whole patient to identify any and all contributing factors to a patient’s chief complaint. Otherwise, the patient may not experience a satisfactory outcome.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Advertisements

Can Chiropractic Prevent Some Types of Arthritis?

This question is asked frequently by patients visiting chiropractors.article-009-arthritis

To answer this question, let’s first talk about, “what is arthritis?”

The word “arthritis” is derived from “arth-” meaning “joint” and “-itis” meaning “inflammation.”

Hence, arthritis is basically swelling in the joint.

Many types of arthritis have been identified—in fact, over 100!

Some types of arthritis are primary (not caused by anything that can be identified), while others are secondary to a disease or other condition.

The nine most common primary forms of arthritis are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, gout, pseudogout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Still’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.

The most common type that virtually affects everyone sooner or later is osteoarthritis. This is basically the wearing out of the joint, which usually seen in the older person but can be found at any age after trauma or injury occurred or after an infection in the joint.

The next most common is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease where the person’s antibodies attack the joint (and possibly other tissues as well). This can occur at a young, middle, or older age whenever the body is triggered to produce the joint attacking antibodies. Crystals deposited in joints can injury the cartilage surface of which the most common is gout—often attacking the base joint of the big toe, and pseudogout.

SO NOW THE QUESTION…
CAN CHIROPRACTIC PREVENT
SOME FORMS OF ARTHRITIS?

The answer is yes…. sometimes. For example, when a spinal joint is fixated, stuck, or subluxated, the normal biomechanics of the spine are altered because of the faulty movement between the vertebrae.

Restoring movement can restore proper function so excess forces are not exerted on the adjacent levels.

A good example of this is when 2 or 3 vertebrae are fused together (surgical or congenital), the levels above and below the fusion have to work harder for the spine to move and function and tend to become osteoarthritic sooner than the other non-fused levels.

From a more broad approach, lifestyle changes including exercise, weight management, the use of a brace or splint, and certain medications and dietary supplements can be helpful as well.

Exercise, in particular, can have significant benefits to the joint surface in both pain relief and slowing down or even stopping the degenerative process (osteoarthritis).

Diet emphasizing an anti-inflammatory approach includes the paleodiet or caveman diet where grains/glutens are avoided and lean meats, fruits, and vegetables are emphasized (see http://www.paleodiet.com/ and http://www.deflame.com/).