When a 50-year-old complains of difficulty in walking, sitting and climbing stairs because of knee pain, the first conclusion either by a family member, doctors or a physiotherapist “The pain is because of Knee Osteoarthritis”.
Is It Really True??
Is Osteoarthritis A Real Cause of your Pain?
What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?
OA is referred to as a wear and tear of joint cartilage after years of use and abuse. Cartilage is a cushion which prevents rubbing of two bones. This wearing away of the joints aka arthritis till date is labeled to be the primary cause of pain. When seen on the x-ray, the frustrated patients are informed about arthritis and there is nothing that can be done.
BUT……. Physiotherapists have helped millions of patients who have been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis to become pain-free.
In that case, Can Physiotherapists Cure Arthritis?
Let’s understand Why Pain occurs in the first place.
If cartilage’s primary function is to act as a cushion between the joints thus preventing bone rubbing, then over course of a lifetime, wearing of cartilage is normal. Indicating arthritis is just a normal change. Anatomically, cartilage has a very few pain receptors and muscles are loaded with it. Most pain comes from structure outside of the joint, namely muscle, ligament and nerve. The muscles with optimal length and tension(strength), are responsible to unload the joint, helping the joint to move freely and pain-free. When the muscle’s length-tension relationship is altered could be because of weak muscles, altered muscle length or coordination of agonist and antagonist muscle, the tension within the joint increases causing altered joint biomechanics leading to inflammation and pain.
There seems to be increasing amount of evidence to support this view and clinical experience. A recent large cadaver study in the US compared peoples’ medical records during their lifetime and then looked at the wear and tear (arthritis) on their joints. There was found to be no correlation between these two measures at all.
Thus, many of the patients who have been x-rayed to show they have severe wear and tear have little pain. And those who have minimal wear and tear have pain that is off the scale.
How to Address this Pain?
Physiotherapists are the Professionals who can help you to be pain-free and get back to your daily activities. They help you to reduce pain and inflammation, guide you through the exercises to strengthen your muscles and achieve optimal length and educate you with tricks to prevent further damage.
- Osteoarthritis is a normal wear and tear of the joint cartilage due to lifelong use and abuse.
- The pain is not because of wear and tear but due to the abnormalities in the supporting structures.
- Visit a physiotherapist in order to be pain-free and get back to your normal activity.
Dr. Mansi Parikh,
Co-Founder EndoRush App.