Knee osteoarthritis is one of the foremost causes of disability in the United States today. Estimates show that 4.3 million adults over age 60 have the symptomatic form of the disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now a new study has discovered that patients who have osteoarthritis in the knee also have associated pain in other joints making the knee pain much worse. Mainly pain in the lower back along with foot and elbow pain on the same side as the knee with arthritis is linked to greater knee pain.
A study which was published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism has stated that 59 million persons have low back pain, the most usual cause of loss of work time in persons 45 years of age and younger. It ranks as the third most reason of persons aged 45 to 65 years old.
The study headed by Dr. Pradeep Suri, of Harvard Medical School, New England Baptist Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital located in Boston. The research team had applied information provided by persons from the Arthritis Initiative, which is a multi-center population-based observational cohort study of the knee osteoarthritis (OA). In a subgroup of 1,389 volunteers, age ranged 45 to 79 years old, who had symptomatic knee OA in at least one knee had been included. Persons were asked to distinguish pain in the lower back, neck, elbow, shoulder, wrist, ankle, knee or foot. To gauge the pain level in persons the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index was used in the study. The gauge scale ran 0 to 20 and the lower scoring indicated less pain and stiffness.
The findings had shown 57.4% of the volunteers had noted having lower back pain. Those with lower back pain had a pain score of 6.5. Among those without back pain had scored 5.2. Researchers discovered that low back pain was greatly linked with an increase in the knee pain score along with related links indicated in all other individual joint areas which were studied. Those models evaluating pain areas at the same time display only low back pain with foot and elbow pain on the same side were greatly linked to a higher knee pain score.
Researchers had concluded that experiencing pain in more than one area, regardless of site, was linked with higher knee pain scores. In persons who had four or five pain areas the severity of pain was greater.
Dr. Suri concludes their information show that pain located in low back, foot or elbow possibly is linked with more intense knee pain. This confirms that symptomatic knee OA hardly ever occurs singly.
More studies are required to evaluate if treating the pain that occurs in other areas in the body will improve therapy outcomes for knee OA.
Osteoarthritis of the knee usually is slow progressing degenerative disease, where the cartilage slowly wears away.
There are alternative treatments that are used in treating OA of the knee along with other pain areas.
Below are a few of the top choices that have been recommended.
Scientific review evidence has shown chiropractic care when used with glucosamine supplements and chiropractic recommended exercises is very effective for knee pain and other types of pain especially pain in the lower back area, where chiropractic care is the first choice in alternative medicine.
Studies have shown that manipulations used by chiropractors have been known to improve range of motion, restore normal movement, relax muscles, improve joint coordination and greatly decrease pain.
Among exercise, nutrition and manipulations, chiropractor may also use ice massage and TENS units which have been shown to reduce pain at resting stage, reduce stiffness, heighten walking speed, increase muscle strength and knee range of motion.
In a few studies acupuncture has been shown to decrease pain levels and may improve joint functioning. Some case studies have shown persons that have used acupuncture treatments have had relief of pain and joint functioning improvement equal to that of medications such as asproxicam, a non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication.
Herbs have been shown to aide in the treatment of osteoarthritis in general. Herbs usually are available in forms of pills, capsules and tablets, teas and liquid extracts. The liquid extracts can be mixed into a beverage of your choice. In making a tea the usual amount is one or two heaping teaspoons of herb added into cup of boiling water and let stand for ten to fifteen minutes. Please note roots will take a longer time. Some of the herbs commonly used:
Turmeric at the dosage of 300mg a day for pain and inflammation. If you take blood thinning medications check with your health practitioner first as this herb may cause bleeding.
Cat’s Claw at a dosage of 30mg three times a day. It has been used for many years to treat pain from OA. If you take blood thinning or high blood pressure medications do not use this herb.
Willow bark used at a dosage of 500 mg up to three times a day. Willow bark has the same effects as taking aspirin. Do not use if you are taking aspirin or blood thinning medications. If you are allergic to aspirin or salicylates check with your health practitioner before using this herb. Never give to anyone under the age of eighteen.
Capsaicin cream applied to the skin. It is said to reduce pain and inflammation. Several studies have proved its effectiveness in this area. Pain decrease is usually seen after three to seven days from starting to apply cream.
Yoga and Tia Chi
Yoga has been noted to aide in decreased pain and improve range of motion. Persons should start out slowly with the asanas exercises and done only after a warm up. Make sure you find an instructor who is familiar with osteoarthritis pain.
Tai Chi just as in yoga has been known to reduce pain. It also has been shown in studies to improve fitness, build stronger muscles, improve flexibility, reduction in body fat and has been shown to lower the risk of falls in the elderly.Sources:
Medical News Today
University of Maryland Medical Center