How Chiropractors Assist with Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis Pain
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, affects more than 30 million people in the United States. Hips and knees affected by osteoarthritis become painful due to damage or the breakdown of cartilage between the joints. Chiropractic treatment is an option that can bring relief. Here’s what you need to know about how chiropractors assist patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis pain.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis because it involves cartilage that wears down over time. The most common joints affected by osteoarthritis include joints in the hand, spine, knee joints, and hip joints. It is a potentially debilitating condition with symptoms such as aches and pains, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion.
When in good condition, cartilage provides a firm, slippery surface that allows joints to move smoothly. When affected by osteoarthritis, the cartilage surface becomes rough and damaged. It’s no longer smooth, so joints no longer move as quickly. Over time, the cartilage continues to wear down, causing the bone to rub against bone. As you can imagine, this bone friction is painful.
Common symptoms include stiffness, swelling, shooting pains, severe joint pain, aches, tenderness, a grating sensation, and “crackling” joints. These symptoms can be exacerbated by cold weather or when engaging in physical activities. Reduced joint function and disability can occur in some cases as can bone spurs and loss of flexibility. In severe cases, patients may not be able to perform daily tasks or work. Joint replacement surgery may become necessary for severe cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
- Injured joints
- Joint overuse such as repetitive stress or knee bending
- Gender (osteoarthritis is more prevalent in women than in men)
- Obesity (hips and knees are weight-bearing joints and particularly prone to osteoarthritis)
Knee Osteoarthritis Pain
The knee joint is susceptible to this condition, with cartilage deteriorating over time due to overuse. At the same time, a sedentary lifestyle can weaken the knee joint, making it essential to find the balance between moving the knee joint sufficiently without overdoing it. Osteoarthritis in the knee can lead to stiffness as the muscles around the joint become weak. As a result, patients with osteoarthritis in the knee often have difficulty walking or getting up from a chair or bed. Knee pain may eventually lead to hip pain as well, further complicating matters.
Hip Osteoarthritis Pain
With the hip joint, osteoarthritis can lead to problems walking or bending over to put on shoes. It’s not unusual for patients to have pain in areas other than the hip or to experience hip pain or stiffness after sitting for a long period of time or upon getting out of bed.
Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in arthritis and related conditions. They often prescribe prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers, exercise, physical therapy, canes or crutches, weight loss, or surgery (in extreme cases).
Regardless of whether you have knee or hip pain, or both, due to osteoarthritis, you may find yourself looking for alternatives to pain medications or surgery. Many osteoarthritis patients turn to chiropractic care to better manage their condition and get pain relief without painkillers or invasive surgeries. Others want to take a more proactive role in improving their range of motion and ability to perform daily tasks.
How Chiropractors Treat Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis Pain
Chiropractic care for the relief of knee and hip osteoarthritis pain is worth considering if you suffer from either of these ailments.
Some of the treatments offered by chiropractors include:
- Stretching, flexibility, and strengthening exercises — These exercises can help reduce joint strain, strengthen supporting muscles, and improve flexibility.
- Active Release Technique (ART) — Used to treat soft tissue disorders, Active Release Therapy involves moving the muscles around the knee or hip through a range of motions while the chiropractor performs ART.
- Spinal manipulations and adjustments – Ensuring proper spinal alignment can help alleviate pressure on the joints, bringing pain relief, relieving muscle tension, and increasing range of motion.
While no doctor can cure osteoarthritis, chiropractors play a vital role in managing the disease, easing symptoms, and helping patients improve the quality of their lives. If knee or hip pain affects you or a loved one, consider chiropractic treatment. Schedule a consultation to learn more about your condition and how a chiropractor could help bring immediate pain relief.
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