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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle Modification’ Category

Black Friday Knee Pain

November 24, 2017


So how was the mall?  How are your knees feeling?

There’s something about a big holiday meal that brings out the aches and pains.  Maybe it’s pschosomatic.  Did you spend a lot of time yesterday sharing your symptoms and ailments with friends and family?  Or possibly you did a lot of the heavy lifting yesterday preparing the bird – meaning you did all the work, not so much the weight of the turkey – though both factors could play a role.  Or maybe it was the opposite.  Maybe you were lucky enough to sit in the recliner, watch the parade and football and not have to lift a finger.  Either way, and I know its not fair, if you did all the work or none of the work preparing the Thanksgiving feast, your knees can feel bad either way.  A lack of motion or too much can unfairly have the same painful affect.

Now I do not recommend starting your exercise regiment for curing your knee pain at the mall on this day.  If you did go to the mall, I hope your knees aren’t feeling too bad.  Don’t get in over your head.  Take breaks, sit when you can, and try not to carry too much.

If it wasn’t black Friday the mall can be a great place to stretch your legs, strengthen the muscles surrounding your knees, and lubricate your joints.  Walking is great way to get some control over your knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.


Get Up and Walk

December 7, 2016
Lifestyle Modification

    Walking Helps the Knees

Walking can hurt. However, it doesn’t cost much, can be done most places, and can be quite helpful.  Walking allows the knee to move through a normal range of motion with low impact on joints. You only need time and effort to go for a walk – this can also help you lose weight.  Your knee arthritis isn’t going to get better by itself.

Walk on an even surface like a track or treadmill.  Shopping malls provide stable walking conditions, as well as heat or air conditioning. Increase your distance or time as your knee grows stronger.  One step a t a time….


Do you drink beer?  Do you have knee osteoarthritis?  Read on.

University of Nottingham just released a study that shows people who drink more than 20 beers per week were 93 percent more likely to have knee OA.

3,171 men and women were studied.  The subjects were between 45- and 86-years old.  2000 of the people studied had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and over 1000 acted as controls.

The weekly drinking habits of the people involved with the study were scrutinized.  The findings showed that people who drink wine and spirits are less likely to suffer from knee OA than beer drinkers.

The findings are published in the journal Arthritis Research Therapy.

From EurekAlert!

“A new study reports that patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who have poor sleep habits display greater central sensitization–an amplification of clinical pain. Findings published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), further show OA patients who catastrophize–consumed by thoughts of pain–had increased central sensitization that was associated with greater clinical pain.

OA–a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling of joints in the hand, hips, or knee–affects nearly 27 million Americans 25 years of age and older according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Further evidence suggests that roughly one third of older adults have knee OA, a leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. Researchers believe that central sensitization, which is a hypersensitivity to pain, may contribute to the clinical pain amplification in OA.

“Our study is the largest and most comprehensive examination of the relationship between sleep disturbance, catastrophizing and central sensitization in knee OA,” said lead author Claudia Campbell, Ph.D. from the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

The current case-controlled study included 208 participants who were categorized into four groups: OA patients with insomnia, OA patients with normal sleep habits, healthy controls with insomnia, and healthy controls without a pain syndrome and normal sleep. Seventy-two percent of the participants were female. Participants completed sleep assessments, psychological and pain evaluations, and sensory testing.

Results show that the subjects with knee OA and insomnia had the greatest degree of central sensitization compared to the controls. The team found patients with poor sleep and high catastrophizing scores reported increased levels of central sensitization. In turn, central sensitization was significantly associated with increased clinical pain.

Dr. Campbell concludes, “While no causal processes may be determined from this study, our data suggest that those with low sleep efficiency and higher catastrophizing have the greatest central sensitization. Understanding the intricate relationship between sleep, central sensitization, and catastrophizing has important clinical implications for treating those with chronic pain conditions such as knee OA.”

This study was supported by grants from National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (R01 AR05487 & AR059410 [Smith]) and the National Institutes of Health (K23 NS070933, CMC).

This study is published in Arthritis Care & Research. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact

Full citation: “Sleep, pain catastrophizing and central sensitization in knee osteoarthritis patients with and without insomnia.” Claudia M. Campbell, Luis F. Buenaver, Patrick Finan, Sara C. Bounds, Mary Redding, Lea McCauley, Mercedes Robinson, Robert R. Edwards and Michael T. Smith. Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: June 4, 2015 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.22609).

URL Upon Publication:

Author Contact: To arrange an interview with Dr. Campbell please contact Vanessa McMains with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at

About the Journal

Arthritis Care & Research is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College.Arthritis Care & Research is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes both original research and review articles that promote excellence in the clinical practice of rheumatology. Relevant to the care of individuals with arthritis and related disorders, major topics are evidence-based practice studies, clinical problems, practice guidelines, health care economics, health care policy, educational, social, and public health issues, and future trends in rheumatology practice. The journal is published by Wiley on behalf of the ACR. For more information, please visit the journal home page at

About Wiley

Wiley is a global provider of knowledge and knowledge-enabled services that improve outcomes in areas of research, professional practice and education. Through the Research segment, the Company provides digital and print scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising. The Professional Development segment provides digital and print books, online assessment and training services, and test prep and certification. In Education, Wiley provides education solutions including online program management services for higher education institutions and course management tools for instructors and students, as well as print and digital content.”

Knee Pain

February 12, 2014
Knee Pain

Knee Pain


If your knee hurts enough that you found this blog post, chances are your arthritis is getting worse.  So what can you do?  You have plenty of options, it’s just a matter of figuring out which one is right for you.

Let’s start with the basics:  Lose weight, eat healthy, stretch, and exercise.  Yes, losing weight and eating healthy can be difficult.  But it’s not impossible.  Stretching and going for a walk is real simple.  Just doing these four simple things can make a big difference.  It’s completely up to you.  You don’t need a prescription, you don’t need to get health insurance involved.

Try this today.  Have a nice salad for lunch, then stretch your legs for five minutes, and then go for a half hour walk.  In just one hour you proactively treated your knee without drugs, without surgery, and without going to see a doctor.  Try doing this a few times a week.  Imagine the results if you stick with this simple plan for a month, or for a year?

Why not?

OA and Housework

January 31, 2013

Some housework involves heavy lifting, and can cause osteoarthritis over time.

There is a well known connection between osteoarthritis and heavy physical exercise. While intense exercise does negatively effect joints and often causes knee pain, this does not mean that all exercise increases risk of osteoarthritis.  In fact, new evidence suggests that routine stresses lead to osteoarthritis more often than exercise does.  Many studies do connect exercise to osteoarthritis, but this connection is most visible in professional superstars, and is far less common for recreational athletes.

A recent study at the Women’s Hospital of Boston examined the stresses that housework can put on the knee.  They found that housework often involved squatting, kneeling, and stair climbing, and that these activities increased risk of osteoarthritis.  This same study shows that recreational sports and fitness are more helpful than they are harmful.  Most of the stress applied to the knees comes from carrying body-weight, and so weight loss can be helpful in reducing knee pain and slowing the progression of osteoarthritis.

So be aware of the damage that housework and manual labor can do.  Most knee osteoarthritis develops slowly over time and is made worse by obesity.  If you suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee, do not avoid exercise to avoid knee pain.  In the long run, weight loss will help you more than rest will.


August 2, 2012

Getting enough sleep is important.

Knee osteoarthritis can be very painful and cause the knee joint to swell and become inflamed. Proper rest and relaxation is crucial to maintaining mobility and reducing pain caused by knee osteoarthritis. Sleep allows the body to recover and regenerate in order to reduce inflammation and heal the joints. A simple exercise routine combined with proper rest and recovery can be helpful in improving your overall knee health.

By maintaining a proper sleep schedule you can help your body recover faster and reduce overall pain and stiffness. You know your body better than anyone and if you feel sore or tired you might be in need of some recovery time in order to prevent injuries. We’re in the dog days of summer summer so make sure you have enough recovery time so you can enjoy the weather without knee pain.

An over the knee sleeve can be beneficial to an arthritic knee.  The sleeve will provide warmth and compression.  Do not underestimate how this can make your knee feel.  Even just a modicum of knee pain relief and additional stability might mean the difference between taking the steps or taking the elevator.  Small changes in your lifestyle can add up as the days, weeks, and months pass.  And decreasing the amount of medications you consume over the days, weeks, and months can also have a beneficial effect to your overall health.

It took years for osteoarthritis to deteriorate your cartilage, it will take some time to overcome and circumvent the damage.  Strong flexible legs should be your goal.  An over the knee sleeve can help!



Exercise, eating right, stretching, and weight loss are all important when it comes to controlling the pain associated with osteoarthritis.  This means lifestyle modifications.  A simple exercise and stretching program coupled with a change in diet can make a huge impact on the way your knees move and feel.  Think about all the other aspects of your life this will effect in a positive way.

And it doesn’t cost anything.  Walk and stretch everyday.  Eat fruit instead of chips and salsa.  No prescriptions.  No pharmacies.  No waiting rooms.  No co-pays.  It can’t hurt to try.

Relying solely on drugs will make the pain go away, but not what is causing the problems.  The drugs will not work forever.  And more importantly the drugs and medications will lead to other health problems not related to your knee pain.  Drugs address the symptoms not the disease.

Lifestyle modification is a necessary knee arthritis treatment for many patients.

4th of July and OA

4th of July and OA

A great way to treat your knee osteoarthritis is with a healthy diet.  Eating right can reduce pain and increase function in your arthritic knees.  For every ten pounds a person is overweight the stress on their knees increases by 30 to 40 pounds.  Multiple studies have shown that losing weight will ease the pain of knee osteoarthritis.

If you have OA, manage your diet this holiday weekend and manage your pain.  Enjoy your 4th of July BBQ – just enjoy it with more fruits and vegetables.