Is your knee pain really arthritis? It may not actually be. Not to say you don’t have arthritis. I’m just speculating really: Are you sure that arthritis is the cause of your pain? Please read on and I’ll explain.
Lately, I’ve been reading on blogs from reputable MDs who suggest that not all knee pain is caused by arthritis. Sometimes, that knee pain is a result of favoring a back injury and over-compensating, putting excess pressure on the knee or other joints. And over time, knee pain or any joint pain can be a result of misalignment of your major joints. I’m thinking this is why my yoga teacher, who is also a physical therapist, corrects us when we talk about knee arthritis. She suggests calling it an issue and being open to other possibilities.
The more that I’ve read on the subject, the more I’ve realized that it makes sense to check for other issues. It’s quite possible that misaligned posture could be the primary cause of your knee pain and your arthritis. It makes sense, then, to get to the root cause and correct it first. If you still need joint replacement, at least your body is aligned properly.
Recently I discovered The Egoscue Method . It was created by Pete Egoscue whose philosophy is this: “A pain-free life is not only possible, it is how you should expect to feel.”
Too Good To Be True?
My first thought was that it sounded too good to be true. I tried out an exercise from his book, “Pain Free,” for a problem I had with my left ankle. Last year I began having pain in the left ankle that at times prevented me from putting weight on my left foot. In desperation, I decided to try some of his exercises.
Wasn’t Expecting This!
To my surprise, and delight, the pain was gone within a few days! That was when I started taking the book more seriously. It has a chapter for ankles, feet, backs, knees, etc. I had pain in a number of areas and needed more advice than the book alone offered.
Eventually, I discovered that there were Egoscue clinics. In November, I had an appointment with an Exercise Therapist at the Egoscue clinic in Austin, TX – the closest one to me. Here is her description of my situation:
Your joint pain may not be from arthritis! Click To Tweet
“The most prevalent disfunction (sic) I found was that your left hip wasn’t properly extending and your right hip had to compensate to do all of the work. When we can get your left hip turned on, we can get proper hip function. When we can get proper hip function, we can get everything else falling in line. When I say “everything else” I mean postural deviations: left shoulder elevation, left tibial torsion, and external femur rotation (both left and right).”
That’s a lot of stuff going on! She put me through a series of exercises that day. After doing that 20-30 minutes of exercise, I could feel a difference. I now meet with her weekly via Skype, and do the recommended exercises daily, without fail. She can make observations on what has changed, and then modify my exercise menu.
Was My Knee Pain Really Arthritis?
I’ve now had just 3 sessions and here is what I’ve experienced:
- My left knee works better on the stairs. It used to ‘catch’ and cause pain, something doctors said was because of arthritis and the need for knee replacement. It’s not 100% gone, yet. But with time and more exercise, it will clear up!
- I can spend more time in the kitchen. For quite a while, I haven’t been able to stand for more than 15 to 20 minutes without experiencing pain in my right foot, my back and, inexplicably, having my right thigh go numb. I’m excited because I love to create things in the kitchen!
- I can sleep without shoulder pain and numbness in my hands. Who knew that those issues could be posture related?
- I can use my thumbs with less pain. I’ve had pain issues with the joints at the base of my thumbs. A doctor told me it was due to arthritis. There’s no joint replacement surgery for this one, instead they remove one of the bones. Yeah, I’ll pass on that one.
I’m encouraged by what I have seen so far and expect more improvement as time goes by. It has been a valuable lesson to keep an open mind as to the cause of and solution to pain.
Is your knee pain really arthritis? Maybe so. Maybe not. Do you owe it to yourself to find out if improper postural alignment is part of the problem? Only you can answer that one.
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