Knee pain is a common and debilitating condition that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by injury as well as medical conditions such as gout, infections and osteoarthritis. Chronic knee pain is usually the result of osteoarthritis (OA). The knee is particularly susceptible to pain and damage as it is the joint that takes the complete body weight. This is probably one of the main reasons that overweight or obese people have more chances of developing the condition. If you are among the millions of people suffering from osteoarthritis, even reducing a small amount of body weight can significantly ease your knee pain.
Obesity is one of the most important risk factors for OA and can accelerate the symptoms. Maintaining a healthy body weight is an important factor for the protection of the knee joint. Reports from the Arthritis Foundation suggest that about one in five Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis and among obese people, the rate is more than 1 in 3.
What is the Link between OA and Excess Weight?
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease occurs when the cartilage (the tissue that covers the end of bones where they form a joint) breaks down, causing the bones to rub against each other. This leads to pain, stiffness, swelling and difficulty in moving the joint.
There are two main ways osteoarthritis develops. The first is through forces acting upon the joints. The second is through an increase in inflammation that affect how muscles work and how sensitive nerve endings are. Fat is active tissue that creates and releases chemicals within the body, increasing inflammation and pain. These chemicals can influence the development of OA.
Being obese or carrying around extra pounds not only increases the potential risk of developing arthritis, but also makes the symptoms worse. Being overweight increases the load placed on the knee joints which can help to speed up the breakdown of cartilage. When compared to women and men of healthy weight, obese women have a four times and men have a five times higher risk of developing OA.
Shed Pounds to Reduce Knee Pain
According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70.7 percent of the US adults are obese. Keeping body-mass index (BMI) at a healthy level can reduce knee pain and improve mobility. In addition to a healthy diet, a proper exercise program is a key strategy in any weight loss program. Patients who have significant osteoarthritis pain should consult a pain management expert before embarking on an exercise regimen.
Knee Pain Treatment Options
Osteoarthritis treatments are negatively affected by obesity. Patients may experience extensive joint problems if they are obese. Weight loss is the best solution to ease knee pain as well as lower the risk of developing OA. Along with special weight loss programs, health care centers offer various treatment modalities to ease knee pain:
- Exercise – Low-impact exercise programs are recommended for knee pain. These exercises allow patients to move within the limits of pain and do not aggravate the joint pain. Exercises such as walking, swimming, stationary training; elliptical machines and water aerobics can increase the flexibility and strength of the joints, thus preventing further pain.
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy combines physiology with exercise and applies these principles to help patients to improve mobility, build strength and flexibility of joints. It also reduces joint stiffness by increasing its strength and range of motion. The types of exercises include strengthening, stretching and range-of-motion exercises.
- Injections – Pain management injections such as corticosteroid help to better manage the aches. Hyaluronic acid knee injections such as Monovisc and Orthovisc can help replenish lubricating substances in the knee and provide pain relief.
- Ice/Heat therapy – Heat application provides relaxation to muscles. Ice pack lowers muscle spasm, joint inflammation and swelling.
- Medications – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen will help in reducing swelling and stiffness thereby reducing muscle spasms.
When it comes to debilitating OA-related knee pain, one of the best options is to get treatment at a professional pain management center in Brooklyn, NY. In a reliable health care center, a multispecialty team will assess your condition and provide you with a customized treatment plan to ease your symptoms and improve mobility. Such centers also offer innovative weight loss programs that help you achieve your healthy weight without stress.