In this video I am going to share with you knee arthritis treatment guidelines. These treatments have been very helpful for my patients suffering from knee pain due to arthritis. I am going to go some helpful guidelines for knee arthritis pain relief. Arthritis is one of the most common reasons why someone can have knee pain. A large number of people suffer from knee arthritis and billions of dollars are spent every year on health care costs.
Hey guys, this is Manu Kalia, physical therapist and Ayurveda herbalist. So today I wanted to talk to you guys about knee arthritis treatments. So this is a continuation for one of my last videos I did about different types of knee arthritis, so we’ll focus more on the treatment end of things on this one.
So, first of all, one of the common reasons for more and more people getting knee arthritis is that more and more people are overweight, which results in increased load on those joints and excessive wear and tear. So we have to control the increased weight, which will take some of the pressure off of that joint. The second reason is more and more people are less active, so whether they’re doing less exercise or just generally less physically active, which results in overall deconditioning and muscles are weaker, and even the joint health is not as good.
So when I design exercise programs for my patients with knee arthritis, I’ll often have them start off with some form of aerobic activity, with some form of aerobic exercise. So riding a bike or a stationary bike, walking in water or doing aerobic exercise in water are much better options because most of these people don’t tolerate too much walking or definitely not jogging, running or squatting and doing yard work, any of those kind of activities, just because they put too much pressure on that joint and patients don’t like that, or the knee doesn’t like it. So, better to start off with an aerobic exercise, as I mentioned, riding a bike or walking or exercising in water where you can still improve the circulation for the whole system as well as reduce the amount of load that’s being placed on that joint.
The second thing to target is the strengthening routine, which means that you want to make sure that you strengthen everything above and below that joint. So remember, it’s not just your quadriceps muscles, your hamstrings, your calf muscles that are just around that knee joint. You want to go above and below the chain. So above the chain, you’re going to hit a lot of your glute muscles, all the hip musculature. So you want to make sure you strengthen your glutemedius, glute max, all those guys, because they really help stabilize the pelvis as well as set up a good base off of which the leg functions better. And below the chain, your foot muscles. So they’re stronger. You’re going to have less load going up the chain towards the knee. So always target, whether it’s the strengthening or the flexibility routine, always above and below the joint, so this way the whole chain works better.
And even with these exercises, I will have my patients do non-weightbearing strengthening or flexibility routines first because most of the time they don’t tolerate weightbearing exercises such as squatting, lunge walking or step-ups, so those kinds of things, because they just put too much pressure on that joint. So I have a few videos that I’ve posted in the past which teach you nonweightbearing exercises, so check them out because they’ll at least give you a guideline. And then you can transition, once you’re stronger and the joint can tolerate weightbearing better, you can transition over to strengthening exercises in weightbearing such as partial squats or other things. So that’s more for the exercise component of your rehab, which is the aerobic exercise as well as strengthening and flexibility exercises, which will not only help reduce weight, help improve strength and flexibility and just overall help that joint too.
So the second thing to think about is a topical application of things. So I know most people use ice but I am not one for using ice at all. I think it slows down the healing process, it causes more blockages into the tissue, and actually it hinders the recovery process. And most arthritic patients that I have seen, and I can’t even think of an example, most of the people when I ask them, “What would you rather use for an arthritic knee, heat or ice?” most of the time people say they’ll use heat. So if the majority of the population’s asking for heat for that stiff, achy, painful joint, why would you want to use ice then? In addition to, heat is much better for improving circulation to the tissue, removing blockages there and reducing that stiffness in that joint too. So I think it’s a much better modality to be used than ice.
I will often have my patients do herbal oil massage for that joint first where it’s a topically applied oil massaged into the joint and then the heat is applied, and often we can even do a warm water soak with Epsom salt and/or ginger and some other herbs to help improve circulation, to detox the joint as well as improve circulation for nutrition coming into the joint, plus it’ll help reduce stiffness in that joint, too, and with that, pain. So herbal poultices are another thing that I use quite often with my patients. Poultice prepared with ginger and various other herbs can be applied to the joint, which is very effective in controlling arthritic problems. So there are a lot of things that can be done to help improve, reduce the stiffness, pain and just help the joint heal better and faster.
So the next thing that I always incorporate and look into is some form of herbal supplements or dietary supplements that I’ve found have been helpful for my patients. So, first of all, I know there’s a lot of talk about glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. So I have found 50/50 results with that. Fifty percent of patients say yeah, they find some relief with it, and another 50% say not that much relief. So I know that has been around for a while and a lot of people have used it or tend to use it. So essentially it’s hardware for the joints, food for the joints, and I’ve read different studies and some studies say if you take glucosamine by itself not combined with chondroitin and other things it tends to work better as opposed to combining those two things. So as I said, in my patients, I have seen about 50/50 results.And the other thing I’ve read is that the absorption is not that good when taken orally. So it’s something you can try over the counter and you might find beneficial.
So what I prefer to use more than that is turmeric. So turmeric is the yellow spice in Indian cooking. So it’s been around and used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, very effective anti-inflammatory. It detoxifies the joint, cleanses the joint, and it’s an antioxidant too, and it’s used in various Ayurvedic herbal formulations for pain, recovery after injuries and arthritic problems. So that’s something that can be incorporated into your diet to help that joint heal better and faster.
Boswellia is another thing that’s quite effective, it’s the Indian frankincense, though I find that guggulu, which is in the same family or similar family, tends to work; guggulu formulations, more specifically, that are used in Ayurvedic medicine work much better for arthritis joints. They are much more specific in different formulations at targeting what kind of arthritis the person presents with, so whether you have the cold, cracking, popping, moving, shifting pain kind of arthritic knee or you have the very sharp pain, red hot, swollen kind of knee arthritis or you have the dull ache, lot of swelling, cool to touch, just stiff kind of arthritis that gets better with movement. So depending on the type of presentation, the guggulu formulations you can pick and they’re much better for addressing arthritis pain. So they not only help detoxify the joint, it actually provides nutrition to the joint, and for pain relief it’s very good, I find.
Hyaluronicacid is another thing that seems to provide not only for hydration of the cartilage but also provides nutrition to the cartilage too. So that’s found to be somewhat promising also. Oral ginger, also taken orally, can be helpful for that joint in addition to topical application too. It’s a natural pain reliever and it improves circulation and detoxifies tissues also. Eggshell membrane is another product that’s been out in the market, which has elastin protein in it, and that seems to provide nutrition to the cartilage as well as the collagen, and it supports the cartilage. So that’s found some promise also. So I think these things have been helpful for my patients, in addition to there are some other specific Chinese as well as Ayurvedic herbal formulations that I find to be very effective for various types of arthritis and definitely for knee arthritis too. So I think a more comprehensive approach to addressing this problem with exercise, with topical application of things such as herbal oil massage or heat, and then oral supplementation, they are much better strategies for not only managing but also really taking care of that arthritis so you can get back to a more active lifestyle and functional activities.
So I hope you found that helpful. Check out information on knee problems as well as other rehab discussions that I have on my site.