Mobility is the prerequisite of leading a fulfilled, happy and independent life. It can be restricted for a number of reasons, but knee problems represent the leading cause for a reduced mobility. Those of us who have suffered from knee pain know how much discomfort it can cause and to what extent it can affect the overall quality of life.
Osteoarthritis of the knee and damages to the knee cartilage and meniscus are the main health problems that affect this important part of our body. An alarmingly growing number of American citizens suffer from knee osteoarthritis, which often causes severe pain, reduced mobility, swelling, stiffness and inflammation.
The risk of developing this disease increases with age, although women are more susceptible to it than men. There are other factors which make certain people more prone to this disease, such as heredity, being overweight and having an occupation which exposes the knee and the joints to constant stress and pressure.
Surgery is sometimes the only possible treatment for some patients but we should not resort to it as a quick-fix solution to this health problem. Like any invasive procedure, it carries certain risks, not to mention the financial burden. Fortunately, painful knees and joints can be effectively treated in some natural and non-invasive methods.
Some exercises, like squats, lunges, and step-ups effectively mobilize, stretch, and strengthen the muscles and joints. They need to be done slowly and accurately, watchfully guided by an experienced physiotherapist at the beginning of the treatment.
Study proves that physical therapy is as effective as surgery in people with knee damage and injury
351 patients who suffered from osteoarthritis of the knee and torn meniscus were asked to participate in a trial, which was led by orthopedic surgeons from Harvard Medical School and six other big hospitals.
Surgery had previously been recommended to all of them. Half of the patients, however, were subjected solely to physical therapy in the duration of six weeks, so that their muscles would be strengthened, inflammation reduced and mobility of the knee improved.
The other group had a surgical procedure of removing the damaged parts of the meniscus and smoothing the remaining ones. Surgery was followed by a series of physical exercises.
Both groups of patients experienced improved mobility of the knee and reduction of pain within the same time intervals.
Dr. Jeffrey N.Katz, who was among the leading orthopedic surgeons of this trial, has said: “We did this trial because surgeons really haven’t been sure what’s best for these patients. Now we have a better picture, and can advise people with knee osteoarthritis and a torn meniscus that physical therapy and surgery are both good options.”
According to Modern Reflexology, massage can greatly alleviate the knee pain by releasing the build-up of calcium in the tissue. This method also gently moves the knee without causing additional pain and damage. Here is how you can do it: make gentle, circular movements with your fingers below the kneecap for up to five minutes.
Warm water tubs
According to The Arthritis Foundation, the age-old method of soaking the painful knee in warm water is very effective in relaxing the joints and lowering the pain. Gravity adds even more pressure and stress on the joints, which increases the inflammation and pain. Water counteracts the negative effects of gravity and relieves the symptoms. Adding Epsom salt to the warm water greatly increases the benefits of this treatment since it has a high content of bone-friendly mineral magnesium.
The effects of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis were studied in a long series of analysis. The results were published in the issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine in July 2003. The conclusion of the authors was that: “Our results demonstrated a highly significant efficacy of glucosamine on all outcomes, including joint space narrowing.”
There are some natural products that have an immensely powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Numerous studies have confirmed that ginger and turmeric contain substances that act against inflammation and significantly lower the pain without the potentially dangerous side-effects of the common analgesic medications.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are also beneficial for soothing the debilitating symptoms of arthritis, according to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Extra virgin olive oil also contains anti-inflammatory components and it can be easily incorporated into our diet. Massaging the joints with olive oil is also recommended for the painful joints.
Citrus fruits have a high content of vitamin C, which participates in the creation of cartilage. It also defends the cartilage from the damaging effects of the free radicals, being a powerful anti-oxidant. Just mix some water with lemon, lime or orange juice and consume it regularly to replenish your body’s supplies of this precious vitamin.
Beans and nuts are high in magnesium. This valuable mineral performs a myriad of vital processes in our body. Magnesium sustains the strength of our bones and reduces the pain and stiffness, which is why you should consume foods rich in magnesium or take it in the form of supplements.
We should never take our body for granted. All our organs and body parts work in perfect unity and harmony, so taking care of our health is our first and foremost obligation. This includes regular consultation with our physician regarding any remedies, techniques and diet changes we may consider.