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Archive for January, 2011

walking

walking

A New study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism found strong evidence that an increase in activity relates to better knee function while walking.  People with arthritis should participate in moderate intensity, low-impact exercise for at least 10 minutes, totaling at least 2.5 hours per week.

Data from patients was gathered in Columbus, Baltimore, Providence, and Pittsburgh.

Dorothy Dunlop, the study’s lead author, said, “The more active people are the faster they can walk.”  Dr. Dunlop is an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

So even if your knee is stiff, just getting up and walking a little will help!  You don’t need medicine, or prescriptions, or fancy gym equipment….just put on your shoes and walk!  A neoprene support brace can help you get up and moving.



There are alternatives to taking medication for osteoarthritis. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, many of the treatments we will briefly describe have been successful for people living with this degenerative condition. The first osteoarthritis treatment you may want to try is hot and cold therapy. Placing a hot compress to your joints will increase blood flow to the region and soothe inflammation. Applying a cold compress has a numbing effect on nerves that are sensitive to pain.

Another osteoarthritis treatment to try is a lifestyle change. Try changing your eating habits and kicking bad habits like smoking and drinking excessively. Increasing exercise will also help increase blood flow to your joints. Weight loss will also alleviate pressure on your joints since heavy people tend to stress their joints out faster than people in healthy weight ranges. These relatively minor, unobtrusive treatments can have a significant impact on the pain associated with osteoarthritis.



Avoid Surgery

Avoid Surgery

Dr. David Hunter from New England Baptist Hospital in Boston and University of Sydney in Australia recently published a study in Arthritis Care & Research.  “Quality of Osteoarthritis Management and the Need for Reform in the US” is research aimed at drawing attention to the fact that health care professionals in the United States often treat the pain and try to increase function in arthritic knees, but seldom try to improve joint structure or try to work with patients on long-term solutions.

The authors of this study recommend conservative treatment options for knee OA, especially avoiding pharmacological solutions.  “Weight management and exercise programs tend to be overlooked by clinicians,” said Dr. Hunter.  “These conservative approaches are beneficial to patients who adhere to weight-loss and exercise programs.”

The study examined prior research on treating osteoarthritis of the knee and found that up to 30% of surgeries are inappropriate!  And as we discussed on this blog arthroscopy should be avoided as a treatment option for knee OA – it doesn’t work yet orthopedic surgeons still perform the operation – every day.

Weight loss and exercise are the best treatment options for knee OA – how many more studies have to be conducted on the subject?  Joint health supplements, and knee braces are conservative treatments that will help you get up and moving.



Celebrex

Celebrex

116,00 patients takings non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were studied by The British Journal of Medicine.  This recent publication states that taking certain medications, like celecoxib, will increase the risk of cardiovascular events in patients, especially as the dosage increases.  Celecoxib is sold as Celebrex by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Pfizer is the world’s largest drug maker.  In 2004 Pfizer spent $117 Million in advertising Celebrex.  In 2005 the FDA forced a moratorium on Pfizer’s advertising efforts of Celebrex because of the cardiovascular risks.  Sales of Celebrex plummeted by $1.7 BILLION.  Four months later the advertising ban was lifted.

Now Pfizer must print that “Celebrex may increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke that can lead to death” on every box sold.   Consumer groups have launched campaigns in magazines that Pfizer should be forced to stop selling Celebrex, not encouraging people to use it.

So why have you never heard of treating knee osteoarthritis with a knee brace?  Because the companies that manufacture them are small.  They cannot compete with big pharma.  Pfizer spent $117 million on advertising one single drug in 2004.  The companies that manufacture braces to treat osteoarthritis measure their advertising budgets in the tens of thousands.  Billions and billions of dollars are spent annually to treat osteoarthritis.  Half of one percent of that money is spent on bracing.

Talk to your doctor, do your homework, and try conservative treatments for your knee OA.  There are much safer options than drugs.  NSAIDs kill.  Knee braces do not.



Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen

A new study released by the British Journal of Medicine reports that of all the non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, Ibuprofen carries the highest risk of stroke.

The researchers used a sophisticated system to examine studies and trials that included over 116,000 patients.  Research was examined that compared NSAIDs with other NSAIDs and placebos.

This large meta-analysis discovered compelling cardiovascular problems in patients using prescription-strength NSAIDs.  Dr. Jeffrey Berger of NYU Medical Center in Manhattan said that a patient can take enough pills purchased over the counter to equal a prescription dose, so the findings “most likely” apply to over-the-counter NSAIDs as well as prescription-strength.

So check with your doctor.  Stop looking in your medicine cabinet for pain relief the next time your knee is hurting.  A knee brace is a safe, conservative treatment option for your osteoarthritis.  Nobody has ever died from a knee brace.



Most people who think they eat a well-balanced and healthy diet probably aren’t aware that it’s almost impossible to get all the nutrients and minerals that our bodies need from eating balanced meals. In fact, in order to obtain the minimum amount of necessary nutrition people would have to consume far more calories than is healthy. As a result, dietary supplements have become more and more popular among people of all ages and from all walks of life. When you augment your nutritional regimen with vital supplements you’re giving your body the energy and nutrients it needs to combat the negative effects of aging.

For anyone living with knee OA the proper supplementation can make a world of difference. Osteoarthritis supplements have been proven effective in helping to manage pain and promote joint health. By treating causes rather than symptoms you can experience pain relief and a higher quality of life. And the best part is, they’re affordable. You can lead a life with less pain without breaking the bank.



Psoas Stretch

Chair Stretch

This stretch is to help loosen your hip flexors.  It is easy and quick.  This stretch in conjunction with others to help keep your hamstrings and quadriceps can help ease the pain associated with your osteoarthritis of the knee.

Hip Flexor Chair Stretch:

1.  Find a sturdy chair – no wheels.

2.  Place one knee on the chair.  Keep the majority of your body weight on the leg you are standing on.

3.  Slowly move your hips forward – do not rotate – until you feel a gentle stretch.

4.  Hold the stretch for ten seconds.

5.  Stretch each side five times.



Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

A kneeling hip flexor stretch is an effective stretch for limbering up the muscles in front of your hips.  Tight hip flexors will cause undue tension on your knees.  The knee is a complicated joint and the surrounding musculature plays an important role on how the knee bends and functions.  Stretching these muscles will help your osteoarthritis of the knee.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch:

1.  Kneel on your right knee – use a towel as a cushion.

2.  Place your left foot forward, and bend your knee.

3.  Place your right hand on your right hip to keep your back straight.

4.  Lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch.

5.  Hold the stretch for ten seconds.

6.  Stretch each side five times.



Hip Flexor

Hip Flexor

The Hip Flexors are comprised of three muscles: the rectus femoris, psoas major, and the illiacus.  Hip flexors are responsible for flexing the hip and knee.  By keeping these muscles limber, you can help ease the pain of your knee OA.

Stretching, exercise, and weight loss will all help your knees feel better.  Stop taking the medications and avoid surgery.  Start thinking about conservative treatment options for your osteoarthritis of the knee.



Stretching the quadriceps is a great idea, but what if you can’t reach your ankle to pull your knee backwards?  Sometimes it’s okay to cheat.  Use an assistive device like a towel, exercise band, or even a bungee cord.

Assistive Device

Assistive Device

Stretching is a legitimate treatment option for your knee osteoarthritis.  It’s free, easy, and you can do it right now!  Consider conservative treatment options for your Knee OA.  This is one post in a series about stretching to make your knees feel better.