Chronic Inflammation in the bones and the joints (osteoarthritis, OA, or commonly referred to as arthritis) is one of those hushed terms that we tend to associate with aging or obesity. Yet, as the U.S. population ages, surviving well past “old age,” and remaining physically active, more and more people will suffer from OA. Due to chronic pain and limited range of motion, OA places a significant functional limitation on the individual and can negatively impact mental health and well-being.
How do people develop OA?
Knee osteoarthritis, the most prevalent type of OA, is a main cause of disability, and affects men and women equally. Over a person’s lifetime, bones and joints are subjected to normal wear and tear. Our bodies will naturally repair itself through an inflammatory and healing process. As we age, inflammation in bones and joints can become unchecked, made worse by poor diet and other system-wide triggers of inflammation like digestive issues (imbalanced gut microbiome) and chronic stress. (You can learn more about that in Dr. Blum’s book, Healing Arthritis). In weight-bearing joints, such as the knee, in addition to systemic inflammation, the direct and repetitive physical impact with abnormal loading forces and stress to the joint, further contributes to increased inflammation and slowing of the healing process.
How you can prevent or delay knee arthritis
Luckily, knee OA is more preventable than is commonly assumed. The early stages of joint degeneration often does not cause pain, and early detection is key to making sure your arthritis doesn’t progress to irreversible damage. So, what are some of the warning signs to look out for?
Signs that might indicate you have knee OA:
- Decreased range of motion or pain on initiating movement (sitting to standing, getting up out of bed, squatting)
- Difficulty walking up/down stairs
- Knee swelling (with exercise or activity)
How can we solve the Knee OA problem?
Here are ways you can help make sure you don’t get OA, and how you can prevent it from getting worse:
- Have a Physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist) evaluate the physical factors that might be adding wear and tear to your joints:
- Biomechanics — addressing underlying or potential biomechanical problems leading to abnormal forces or stress on your knee joint.
- Ergonomics — activities or position that lead to knee ache, pain or stiffness.
- Footwear — wearing well-fitted and appropriate footwear that supports the entire foot
- Physical and Joint Health — maintaining joint stability with muscle strengthening, range of motion and balance exercises. The key to maintaining active exercise routine is to use proper positioning techniques that are personalized to you. Using proper techniques during any activity, decrease your risk of abnormal joint stress.
- Work with a Functional Medicine Practitioner, such as ours at Blum Center for Health, to treat underlying medical conditions that may cause chronic inflammation, like improving your gut microbiome.
- Work with a Nutritionist to learn how to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
How is Blum Center of Health helping to change the course of Knee OA?
We are thrilled, that in addition to our functional medicine and nutrition team, we are now able to offer Regenerative Medicine — a state-of-the-art treatment focused on directly impacting the damage in, and around, the joint.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)– used to repair the damaged degenerative cartilage, tendons and ligaments.
- Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cells– recommended for more progressive and severe knee OA
- Prolotherapy– for loose and unstable knee ligament and tendon
Remember, knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a medical condition that is increasing in prevalence in the US, as the population ages and survives longer. OA is a chronic condition in the soft tissue of joints that causes significant disability due to pain and limited range of motion. OA can be delayed, or even prevented with proper medical management and innovative/integrative medical interventions. If you or someone you love shows signs of OA, please call us to make an appointment!
Meet Dr. Aligene: Dr. Kathy Aligene is Board Certified Physiatrist, Interventional Pain Management Specialist and an innovative physician in the field of Integrative Pain and Regenerative Medicine. Her expertise in these complementing areas of medicine has led her to successfully treat patients with musculoskeletal, joint, spine, pelvic and nerve related problems without depending on chronic use of pain medication. Dr. Aligene treats men and women of all ages and activity levels to support their functional goals and promote an active and healthy lifestyle. Book an appointment with Dr.Aligene by calling 914-652-7800.