It seems that knee and hip pain is becoming more common than it has been in the past.
And an awful lot of people are being told that they have arthritis in the knee.
There are far too many young people using canes, walkers and scooters.
I am going to share some simple stuff with you so you can take control of this problem in almost every case at a very early stage and pretty well any stage.
The typical series of events for most people goes like this ... a person feels a little pain in the knee. They haven't injured themselves that they can recall. The pain just sort of appeared and is gradually getting more noticeable. There may also be a little swelling.
For some people, the pain goes away after a few days. But for others, it persists.
So they go to their doctor.
The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories and / or pain killers and or muscle relaxants and order an x-ray.
If there are bony changes or a little loss of joint space the patient will be told that they have arthritis. Another prescription will probably be given for the arthritis.
OK, let's stop right here and evaluate. What sort of health care has been given so far?
Has there been any discussion about the cause of the problem? No.
There has only been a focus on the pain, the swelling and the "arthritis".
What is arthritis? First of all the word itself literally means inflammation of a joint.
Is that a diagnosis? When you get told that you have arthritis, do you think that the doctor has figured out what's wrong and now he's going to treat your condition?
If so, read on to find out why you are going to be disappointed thinking that way.
Here's what is going on with knees in the majority of gradual onset cases with no recent history of trauma.
I want you to understand so I'll deliver this step by step.
First, the muscles in your legs span across your knees.
The way our knees were designed to move is very fascinating - to say the least.
These muscles must work together under dynamically changing conditions to perform some quite complicated movements.
Modern science and technology for all of its research and development, inventions and milestones over the years still has nothing anywhere near the capability of the human knee. Compared to the knee, today's advanced technology is rudimentary.
Let's look at what the knee does when we go up the stairs.
We take this movement for granted. Most of us don't even give it a second thought.
But let's look closely ... first, we put our foot on the stair above.
Our knee is bent and so is our hip joint.
Then we transfer our weight to that leg.
Then we straighten out our knee and hip until both have progressed through quite a range of motion.
With all our weight on the one knee.
The knee joint has a ball and socket type of configuration, but the socket is more of a plateau, and the ball is more of a rocker. The bottom of the thigh bone (femur) is rounded at the end and the bone of the calf (tibia) has the shallow plateau below.
The rounded end of the femur must spin in place on the tibial plateau. There can be absolutely NO horizontal movement front to back or side to side.
And it is the MUSCLES that cross the joint that must correctly choreograph and control this amazing movement.
But if any ONE of those muscles are say, 95% as strong as they needed to be, then there would be some horizontal movement during the spin.
The horizontal motion will cause a little bit of cartilage to be picked off the surface of the tibial plateau's cartilage - an injury that breaks loose some of the cartilage itself.
Now a chain of events sets up.
But please remember that the first thing in this chain of events was MUSCLE WEAKNESS.
That is the CAUSE of all of the rest of the series of events that I am going to describe that happen - it is because of the muscle weakness that that has occurred to this person.
I don't know of many stairs that only have one step. So immediately after disrupting the internal knee tissues, the person takes two more stairs and disrupts the knee a little more.
And a little bit more with every stair.
Now those bits of cartilage are noticed by our immune system. This system believes that the pieces could be part of a bacterial invasion and immediately responds by moving lots of white blood cells and fluids to the knee joint.
That's what makes the pain and the swelling. It's called inflammation.
So the tissue disruption and the inflammation are all consequences - or SYMPTOMS - of the muscle weakness.
Actually the inflammation is doing you a service by removing those pieces from floating around inside your knee as the bits themselves can further disrupt the joint tissues.
The anti-inflammatory medication tries to knock off the symptom, not deal with the cause. So the cause is ignored and allowed to continue over time.
The pain killers simply make your nervous system unable to feel. So your pain goes away.
Is that a good idea?
Perhaps you might want to know when you are destroying your knee joint.
But with anti-inflammatories, and pain killers in your system how would you?
Unless the pain is too much, so you get stronger ones.
And the underlying cause (the weak muscles)is left alone to allow you to continue to chew up your knee.
But let's plow on. The muscle weakness is blissfully ignored by your medical practitioner until way down the road when the problem progresses and gets big enough to make them think about trying something else.
So physio is often recommended. and finally, strengthening begins.
Now, during the time lapse from the original muscle weakness and the final strengthening, a lot of water has gone under the bridge.
Since we are always on our feet, we will continue to chew up our knees.
The inflammation will always be in the joint eating up a continuous supply of cartilage and other tissue bits.
This is what changes a short term problem into a chronic problem.
After the inflammation (which is arthritis by definition) has been around for a few years, the body will respond to the chronic inflammation by laying down some bony outgrowths and losing some parts of the bone which will show up on x-ray. Also, since the cartilage pieces have been dropping off for years, there will be a loss of some of the space between the bones.
All of these are consequences of muscle weakness, or SYMPTOMS.
It is the result of failure of the health professional to deal with the cause of the problem, and instead trying to make the patient feel better.
It is simply a decision by the health care practitioner to apply chemistry to a what is a simple mechanical issue.
And it allows the problem to fester and grow and the consequences to become larger over time.
Eventually you're offered another "solution".
It's sort of like asking a roofer to fix your furnace. And you will get similar results.
They don't do mechanical. They do chemical.
Has there been any "health care" dispensed by the original practitioner? I'll make a suggestion or two a little later.
A big question is this ... if you are the knee pain & arthritis sufferer, will muscle strengthening help you?
The answer is almost certainly - YES.
Would it have stopped the problem in the first place?
How can you strengthen your leg muscles?
Here are some options ...
Walk. That is a very good option. Most of us do that every day. But very few of us are doing enough walking to maintain our health, never mind improve it.
Gym membership - and regularly work out. But don't quit or you will very soon lose the gains you worked so hard for and spent all that money on.
Exercise equipment. Takes a lot of time. You have to get sweaty. It is expensive. And, again don't ever quit or you will go back to pretty much where you started. Then the equipment will be in the garage or at the end of the driveway.
Get yourself a Wellness Belt. It will strengthen your legs and stabilize those pesky knees without you having to work out. It simply makes your legs exert more with every step. You are going to walk every day anyways - so you might just as well turn those steps into a work out that you won't even notice. You're going to take whatever steps you usually take each day. Turn them into turbo-steps!
And if you just continue to wear it, it will maintain your gains as long as you choose.
And it is a heckuva lot less expensive than any of those other options.
Now - about the question of whether any health care has been given by the medical approach to this problem.
I suggest that by totally ignoring the cause, the patient is going to get worse.
Dispensing chemicals for knee pain is rather like fiddling while Rome burns in my humble opinion. It pretty much guarantees the patient's situation is going to get worse. What kind of "care" is that?