By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
July 6, 2016
- Is knee surgery a good option for you?
- Best way to restore knee function, mobility and flexibility
- … And shut down arthritic joint pain
If you have arthritic knees, you may think that undergoing knee surgery at some point in the future will fix you up and get rid of that disabling joint pain. It may even be something you’re already considering.
Well, despite popular belief, knee surgery isn’t always your best option. In fact, I seldom recommend it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
You see, awhile back a group of patients with this common knee problem took part in an experiment. All of them went into an operating room and had their knees cut open for surgery.
The thing is, some of the surgeries were real, and others were bogus. The surgeons didn’t actually perform the operation on some of the patients… but the patients didn’t know it.
Guess what happened next?
Two years later neither group – those with real surgeries or those with fake ones – reported less pain or better knee function.
But that’s the least of your worries. If you opt for a total knee replacement surgery, your chances of a heart attack increase by more than eight times in the first 30 days after the procedure.
This type of surgery also comes with another complication. It can produce blood clots in your veins and lungs that can last years for years after the surgery.
So you can see why I always suggest trying safer and more effective ways to take care of your knees before resorting to surgery.
Boost Knee Mobility and Flexibility – Without Surgery
Here’s a number that will startle you. One out of every two adults will get symptoms of knee OA at some point in their lives. This makes it one of the most common chronic health conditions in America today.
It also means that, even if you don’t have symptoms of knee OA yet, you have about a 50/50 chance of developing it in the future.
The best ways to avoid this crippling disease are to get plenty of physical activity, keep your weight at a healthy level and eat an anti-inflammatory diet. These are also the best ways to relieve symptoms if you already have it.
But there’s a dilemma here.
If you already suffer from chronic knee pain, it can be tough to get enough physical activity. After all, just the act of walking can send aches and pains shooting from your knee joint. (This can also make it difficult to lose weight if you need to shed a few pounds.)
So while muscle-building activities like sprints, lunges and squats are great for people without knee OA, they can aggravate symptoms in those with the disease.
With this in mind, I often recommend that my knee patients take up more gentle exercise activities, like tai chi and yoga.
For example, Hatha Yoga – the type that’s most commonly practiced here in the U.S. – can make a huge difference in your symptoms. It can help decrease pain systems and increase your ability to perform daily activities so that you can participate in sports and involve yourself in other spare-time activities.
Aquatic exercises, which you can do in a pool, are another great way to cut pain and boost physical function. And since the water adds buoyancy, they don’t stress your knee joints. So you can jog in place, perform jumping jacks and even do squats without aggravating your joints.
Shut Down Knee Pain for Good
For extra symptom relief, I also recommend a few supplements.
Green-lipped mussel extract is one of my favorites for joint pain. It’s high in something called “furan” fatty acids. These fatty acids scavenge damaging free radicals. Just 150 mg. daily can reduce joint tenderness, morning stiffness and improve pain levels.
Another good choice is chicken cartilage extract. It contains type II collagen. This is a type of collagen that’s needed for the synthesis and repair of connective tissue. 400 mg daily can reduce pain and improve mobility.
And let’s not forget about turmeric. The main compound found in this spice, curcumin, has the ability to block inflammatory enzymes. Take 500-1,000 mg. twice a day to shut down inflammation. Look for one that contains 2-5 mg of bioperine (a black pepper extract) to help boost absorption.
If you do happen to experience a flare up, apply a little topical capsaicin cream to your knees. Look for a maximum-strength formula that contains 0.75% capsaicin. I like roll-on formulas so that you don’t have to worry about getting it on your hands or in your eyes.
Moseley JB, et al. A controlled trial of arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jul 11;347(2):81-8.
Lu, N, et al. Total Joint Arthroplasty and the Risk of Myocardial Infarction – A General Population, Propensity Score-Matched Cohort Study. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015 Oct;67(10):2771-9.
Ghasemi GA, et al. Effects of Hata Yoga on Knee Osteoarthritis. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Apr; 4(Suppl 1): S133–S138.
Hinman RS, et al. Aquatic physical therapy for hip and knee osteoarthritis: results of a single-blind randomized controlled trial. Phys Ther. 2007 Jan;87(1):32-43.
Coulson S, et al. Green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) extract efficacy in knee osteoarthritis and improvement in gastrointestinal dysfunction: a pilot study. Inflammopharmacology. 2012 Apr;20(2):71-6.