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March 2010
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Archive for March, 2010

knee painA study on arthroscopic surgery to treat knee OA was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study reported “At no point did either of the intervention groups report less pain or better function than the placebo group.  Because there is no confirmed usefulness for these surgeries many agencies are reconsidering paying for a surgery which seems to create risks with no benefit”.

Further, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons released in their 2008 Treatment Guideline for Knee Osteoarthritis that they could not recommend arthroscopic surgery as an effective treatment option.

The New England Journal of Medicine and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons both agree that arthroscopic surgery may not be an effective treatment for your knee pain.

Have you ever considered trying a knee brace to treat your OA?  Bio-mechanical knee braces are clinically proven to decrease pain and increase function in arthritic knees.  They are commonly called Unloading Braces or Off-Loading braces.  Nobody has ever died from wearing knee braces.

Magnet Therapy

March 23, 2010

We all know that braces provide additional support to joints that are injured or stricken with degenerative diseases such as arthritis. While the brace is undoubtedly a necessary measure in treatment, there is more that can be done. For centuries, cultures around the globe have utilized magnets in medicine, and now there are peer-reviewed studies that support this practice.

A magnetic knee brace gives you the added stability of a traditional knee brace while also taking advantage of therapeutic magnet therapy. Because there are charged particles in our body that are constantly creating magnetic fields, the magnet is able to interact with these ions to achieve a harmonic balance. This increases blood flow and helps relieve pain and swelling.

Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) is an over the counter pain reliever.  It is a primary ingredient in cold and flu remedies like Anacin-3, DayQuil, Liquiprin, Ny-Quil, Tylenol, and Xcel.  It is used to relieve minor aches and pains, as well as treat fevers and headaches. It is also used as a short term osteoarthritis treatment for knee pain.

However the pain relief comes with risks.  When used correctly side effects are rare.  Although the risk of liver damage increases with large doses, chronic use, and use with alcohol.  In fact Paracetamol Toxicity is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States.

Other side effects include allergic reactions, irregular heartbeat, stomach pain, fatigue and kidney failure.


Causes of OA

Causes of knee pain

It is estimated that women comprise 60% of the 27 million people in the United States that have osteoarthritis (OA).  Why?

Generally men will develop OA at a younger age than women.  But at 55 women begin to develop OA with an increased frequency and severity.  The reasons are biological, anatomical, and fashion related.

Women generally have a higher percentage of body fat than men.  So they carry more weight relative to their skeletal structures.  More weight means more wear and tear the knees absorb with every step.  Also researchers believe that estrogen helps protect cartilage.  At menopause when estrogen levels drop, so does the protection for the cartilage.  So as women age, their knees take more abuse with less protection.

In addition, women have wider hips than men and the tendons surrounding their knees are more lax.  The hourglass shape helps facilitate child birth but puts females at a bio-mechancial disadvantage to men in regards to how weight is distributed across their knee joints.

Fashion must also be figured into the OA equation.  Most men don’t wear high heels.  A Harvard study explained that high heels were shown to strain the knees and stress the surrounding anatomy.

Add genetics.  Heredity certainly plays a role.  There is a good chance that the daughter of a woman with Knee OA will have Knee OA herself.

Most people are familiar with arthritis and its various symptoms, but there is less mainstream understanding of the specific types, such as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and can occur in any joint in the body, although osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the most frequent. Some of the common symptoms include pain, loss of flexibility and bone spurs

Like many diseases, there is not a single cause, but doctors suspect that it is a combination of aging, heredity, muscle weakness and other factors. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the osteoarthritis, and it will worsen over time. However, several treatments can provide temporary pain relief.

There is a litany of prescription medications on the market today, many of which have the risk of unpleasant side effects. Thanks to advancements in medicine, however, there are natural supplements that can be taken for many ailments that have comparable effects to their prescription counterparts. For those suffering for osteoarthritis, particularly in the knee, glucosamine has been proven to provide relief.

Glucosamine is found naturally in cartilage, and research shows that when taken as a supplement, glucosamine can strengthen cartilage and aid in synthesis of glycosaminoglycan. Although glucosamine has been proven to promote knee health, it is typically used most effectively with chondroitin sulfate.