Fix Your Nagging Hip or Knee Pain
Posted 6/28/2016 by UHBlog
Like many people, you may not think of yourself as aging. But maybe your body tells you otherwise through the aches and pains in your joints, especially the hips and knees.
Oftentimes, people think of medications and joint replacement as the last hope for pain relief.
“When people ask me about replacing joints, I tell them it's important to reframe the question,” says sports medicine specialist Robert Truax, DO. “A knee or hip replacement is usually elective surgery, unless it’s someone who has fractured their hip. That's different. But for the majority of people, it’s important to understand that this surgery only fixes the specific abnormality that your X-ray or MRI shows. It doesn’t fix all the (other) causes of your hip or knee pain.”
Plus, joint replacements have unintended consequences. For instance, if you’re a gardener who squats down to plant, a knee replacement means you’re no longer able to perform deep squats. The same holds true with pain medications, which can have side effects – and limitations on the number of injections permitted.
Instead, consider the amount of daily exercise you do and a once-over of your body’s musculoskeletal system, Dr. Truax says.
“Exercise – or chronic activity – reduces your pain level,” he says. “For example, studies show that people with fibromyalgia are helped by exercise and physical activity. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain and people report feeling less pain.”
Although physical activity doesn’t prevent pain, it helps your ability to function longer.
“Who’s more likely to have a successful hip or knee replacement: The person who is 75, runs and is active but who is slowing down due to pain, or the 75-year-old who is obese and doesn’t exercise?" Dr. Truax says. “If you’re able to put off this kind of surgery until later in life but remain active, there’s a strong likelihood you can return more quickly to your activities after a hip or knee replacement.”
Similarly, if your musculoskeletal system isn't in balance, knee and hip pain can occur. Osteopathic manipulation can help correct this so that you have improved functionality in your joints.
“Your lumbar and hips joints can get stuck, causing your alignment to be off,” Dr. Truax says. “If they stop working well, your joints can stop working well and you move less easily.”
By realigning you through gentle, hands-on osteopathic manipulation, Dr. Truax can help your tendons and muscles to move back into place, freeing up restricted constricted areas and enabling your body to heal itself naturally.
“Osteopathic manipulation can help put movement back into different areas of your body – your spine, hip, foot, etc. – so that you're able to move with less pain,” he says.
Robert Truax, DO is a sports medicine specialist. You can request an appointment with Dr. Truax or any other University Hospitals doctor online.