Arthritis – Low Back and Knee
Read 2 studies recently on arthritis that I thought you might find interesting. The first is one on the effect of chondroitin on knee arthritis. Now, anecdotally, I hear from people that they find chondroitin to be effective for knees quite regularly, a lot more than they say it about other joints – hip or lower back for example. They found the people taking chondroitin had significantly less joint degradation , the people taking chondroitin experienced pain relief significantly faster than the placebo group, and it’s safe—“No differences in safety between groups”.
In the 2nd study they did CT scans (which are very accurate) on 3,529 people and looked at how many have arthritis in the lower back, and how many of them have low back pain. I am consulted all the time by people who have been told that: 1. the “cause” of their pain is arthritis; and 2. they will either have to just live with it or take antiinflammatories from now on. And so they feel like they have no options, and no hope. I’ve never agreed with that. And this study helps us explain why.
Seems like there’s a lot of people with arthritis! 44.7% of people aged 40-50, and it increases with age, up to 74.2% of 50-59 year olds and a staggering 89.2% of people aged 60-69. Nearly 90% of people in that age group. So if those people out there who say to someone that arthritis is the cause of pain are correct, 90% of people 60-69 should be in pain right? But that’s absolutely not the case. It just doesn’t ring true in my experience, and I treat a lot of people in this age group.
And the study backed that up – they found that for the group of people they sampled there was NO ASSOCIATION between having arthritis and having low back pain. So what is causing the pain? For mine, it is linked to the arthritis. Arthritis is simply wear and tear. Over time, the joints have worn out and degenerated a bit. And so with the joint being a bit worn down, it becomes a bit unstable. And so the muscles, tendons, and ligaments nearby tighten up to try to help stabilise the area, creating a lot of muscle spasm, which is a source of pain. Also, as the joint wears down, you can get a lot of joint compression, that is, the bones being squashed closer together – this hurts. So it basically becomes a normal low back pain situation – just tight muscles and stiff joints, and this is something that an Osteopath primarily works on.
No-one would ever say that you could reverse the arthritis, but you can certainly release the muscles and get some more mobility into the joints, with simple, safe, and proven techniques, and this can certainly help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.