Many think that the management of knee osteoarthritis symptoms is limited to surgery, specifically a knee replacement.
In reality, knee replacement surgery is the very last option for anyone with knee pain, regardless of how much arthritis is actually present. This is because there are many, many options to try long before you get to any type of surgery for your knee pain. The list of things to try to help your knee pain can include:
- Dietary changes to lower overall inflammation.
- Exercise is very powerful for managing knee osteoarthritis pain.
- Weight loss.
- Soft tissue treatment to the soft tissues surrounding the knee.
- Supplements (anti-inflammatory supplements like curcumin as well as glucosamine and chondroitin).
The best approach is going to combine all of these therapies. Some, like the dietary changes, have been shown to be more powerful (you can read this in a previous blog article by clicking here).
Treatment of knee pain in our office absolutely, positively involves advanced soft tissues techinques like Graston Technique and Fascial Manipulation combined with adjusting of the knee. When combined with exercise and dietary changes (leading to weight loss) the vast majority of patients with knee pain will improve and be able to get back to a full level of functioning in his or her life.
This particular article supports the adjusting portion of our office’s treatment of knee osteoarthritis symptoms. In this article, researchers looked at what effect the use of long axis distraction had when added to a standard 10-visit rehab program. Overall, the use of distraction found improvement in all the factors looked at:
- Functional ability
- Quality of life
- Knee flexion range of motion
So what is long axis distraction? To put it basically, it’s pulling your leg.
Sounds like a simple approach, but it can be very potent ONLY when added to soft tissue techiques focused around the knee. Unless you have the adhesions and scar tissue that build up around a knee that has been injured, overused or underused (yes–sedentary behaviors contribute to knee pain as well) distraction alone will have little benefit. This includes rehab only; it is my belief that strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee is not enough without addressing the soft tissues around the knee.