If you occasionally find saying to yourself “my knee pain is getting worse” or “my knee pain is unbearable” you may not be alone. In data collected from 2010 to 2012 in a National Health Interview Survey 22.7% of American adults, or 52.5 million, had self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. This number rises with age and included in the already projected 67 million people that will have arthritis by 2030.
Of the three main types of joint conditions knee pain due to arthritis, or more specifically, osteoarthrits, is the one that occurs most often. Rheumatoid arthritis is primarily a small joint disease while psoriatic arthritis starts out as a skin condition on surfaces of knees, elbows, belly buttons, and genitalia and then could also spread to the joints.
Osteoarthritis in the knee could be caused by either abuse of joints, such as jumping from unreasonable heights to hard floors, twisting sharply or as a result of trauma accident. Injury to joint cartilage as a result of abuse will sooner or later translate into arthritis pain.
The other reason for osteoarthritis is almost no activity; that would mean total lack of exercise involving the knee. This can be caused by sitting for long periods at your work or long distance driving where frequent walking or exercise breaks are not possible. Lack of fresh blood that keeps the joint supplied with nutrients and hauls away dead cells contributes to degeneration of cartilage, and result in arthritis pain.
What invariably makes osteoarthritis worse is being overweight. The CDC has determined women can reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis by 50% with a reduction in weight of just 11 pounds.
Even though people take NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti inflammation drugs) like Ibuprofen and acetaminophens such as Tylenol and Panadol for pain relief these drugs do nothing to address the root cause. Instead prolonged use of NSAIDs can cause stomach disorders such as ulcers and bleeding and acetaminophens are known to damage the liver. Some patients also take Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and Hyaluronic Acid supplements but long term benefits have not been conclusively proven in peer reviewed studies and clinical trials.
A continued regimen of exercise, starting with light movements and working up to more involved activity are better approaches to managing osteoarthritis and its related pain. It is exercise that will make muscles around the joints stronger and what will stimulate fresh natural hyaluronic acid and lubricin, the primary components of synovial fluid that provide healing and lubrication for joint function.
For people who do not, or are unable to, make changes in their lifestyle such as weight loss and regular exercise may eventually be heading towards a total knee replacement. It is neither a guarantee of a pain free life, nor total recovery of freedom or range of movement.
From Knee Pain to Knee Replacement.