Pain Relief from Chiropractic
In addition to the traditional chiropractic focus on adjusting the spine to ease joint pain, many doctors today are using a wide array of approaches to ameliorate hip and knee pain, whether the cause is an injury, inflammation, arthritis or a chronic condition.
Determining the cause is the first step, says chiropractor Derrell Blackburn, senior manager of chiropractic relations and training for The Joint Chiropractic, a nationwide chain of 500 clinics. If both hips or knees go bad, he says, it’s probably due to aging. If the problem involves a hip or knee on one side, “the underlying truth is overuse or compensation” which can be helped by realigning the sacroiliac joint or pelvic girdle.
Chiropractor Gil Kentof, of the Dr. Gil Center for Back, Neck, and Chronic Pain Relief, in Franklin, Tennessee, first recommends that patients with hip pain join a basic yoga class, find a good video or search “hip stretches” online and exercise according to what they research five times a week. “If there is no improvement in three weeks, or if there is more pain while doing the exercises, an examination is in order to determine the origin of the pain and the best treatment option,” he says.
The exam often includes X-rays and sometimes an MRI. Treatment options can include specific chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue laser therapy, stem cell injections into the hip joint and in severe cases, referral out for surgery, but, “Surgery is always a last resort,” he says. For knees, “Good success has been obtained with stem cell treatment and platelet-rich plasma injected into the knee,” he advises. “This procedure is performed by our medical team and is minimally invasive with very little downtime.” He also suggests that knee-pain patients stretch the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves on a regular basis and use a pull-on brace or ice packs for temporary relief.
Supplements for Suppleness
* Glucosamine and chondroitin. Research suggests this combo relieves pain, improves joint mobility and slows arthritic damage to the joints. One study found it benefits up to 70 percent of people with knee arthritis, and a large multinational trial found the mixture to be as effective at reducing pain, stiffness and swelling in knee osteoarthritis as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) celecoxib. It appears most suited for treating for moderate to severe pain and takes two months to take efffect.
*SAMe. This naturally occurring S-adenosyl-L-methionine molecule builds strong joints by delivering sulfur to cartilage, and research shows it may be as effective as aspirin and ibuprofen at improving joint function. It takes a month to take effect, but doesn’t have the side effects of NSAIDs. It’s also been shown to lower depression.
*Avocado soybean unsaponifiable (ASU). Routinely used to treat osteoarthritis in Europe, ASU improves symptoms of hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) and reduces or eliminates the use of NSAIDs, a meta-analylsis concluded; it also appears to reduce OA’s progression.