Got Knee Pain?  Noninvasive Treatment Almost Always Best

by: Dr. Linda Anegawa

Knee symptoms are the most common musculoskeletal symptom among patients seeing PCPs in the USA, according to the 2012 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.  


In most cases, except where breaks or infection are felt to be likely, nonsurgical treatments should always be recommended first.  Physical therapy and other integrative care modalities should also play a leading role for at least 6 weeks, according to experts at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.   Strengthening of knee support muscles under the guidance of a trained clinician can be highly effective.


In addition to physical therapy, weight loss can play a critical role in alleviating knee pain.  For every extra pound a person carries, the knee must bear an extra 5 pounds of force. Multiple studies have linked weight loss with reduction of symptoms and improved function among those who are obese – even in patient with end-stage osteoarthritis symptoms.  Besides just symptoms though, a study in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases in 2014 showed that among 112 obese individuals, their percentage of weight loss corresponded to a reduction in their knee cartilage loss.  What this means:  actual reversal of disease!


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