Knee Arthritis – A Very Common Problem
Knee pain is one of the more common musculoskeletal complaints among adults. So if you are looking for osteoarthritis pain relief in Surprise AZ, read more about why seeing one of our clinical experts is a great first choice.
Because the knee is critical to so many movements of the body, this type of pain can be debilitating. In many cases, the source of this pain is the result of torn or degenerative cartilage in the knee.
Knee Anatomy & Osteoarthritis
The knee contains two types of cartilage, articular cartilage and meniscus cartilage. The meniscus cartilage in the knee includes two parts, a medial (inside) meniscus and a lateral (outside) meniscus. Together they are referred to as menisci. In addition to providing lubrication and joint stability, these menisci act as tiny shock absorbers in the knee and provide a critical cushion between the thighbone and the shinbone.
These menisci are particularly prone to tearing, although sometimes they just wear out as a result of degeneration with age. In fact, a torn meniscus is often seen in the nine million Americans with knee osteoarthritis.
Typical symptoms of a torn meniscus may include:
• Stiffness and swelling in and around the knee
• Pain and tenderness along the joint line or general knee pain
• Catching or locking of the knee
Meniscal tears with concomitant osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee are a common source of pain and disability. Until fairly recently, the best course of action for treating these types of meniscal tears has been unclear in the past. However, results from a Meniscal Tear in Osteoarthritis Research (MeTeOR) trial published in the England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) indicate that physical therapy has proven to be as effective as surgery.
At six and twelve month intervals, patients who had standardized physical therapy alone showed similar improvement in pain and functional status of the knee as those who had undergone arthroscopic surgery to repair their torn meniscus.
As the NEJM report points out, not all symptomatic meniscal tears need to be repaired surgically. As a result, knee pain specialists in Surprise have been able to help their patients avoid the often unnecessary risks and expenses of surgery.
Drug-Free Approaches Recommended First for Chronic Pain
Many of our knee arthritis patients have suffered with knee pain for months, even years. Because of the addictive side effects of prescription pain pills, the Centers for Disease Control are now recommending physical therapy first in this recent publication:
Its first recommendation: “Nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain.”
“Based on contextual evidence, many nonpharmacologic therapies, including physical therapy, weight loss for knee osteoarthritis, complementary and alternative therapies (e.g., manipulation, massage, and acupuncture), psychological therapies such as CBT, and certain interventional procedures can ameliorate chronic pain,” the draft states. “In particular, there is high-quality evidence that exercise therapy (a prominent modality in physical therapy) for hip … or knee … osteoarthritis reduces pain and improves function immediately after treatment and that the improvements are sustained for at least 2–6 months.”
Physical Therapy is the Clear First Choice
To learn more about eliminating your pain and improving the functional status of your knee, please contact us today, and our team will work with you to devise a program to help you control your knee pain and get back to your active lifestyle.