Large-scale cohort studies have a tough time proving that one thing causes another, but they can raise interesting questions about strong correlations. This week, for instance, saw a published study which found that people who drink more milk may have less pain and slower progression of osteoarthritis, an affliction which strikes roughly a third of adults in the U.S.:

[The researchers] found that increasing milk consumption was associated with slower progression of the disease in women. In men, only those who consumed the most milk — seven or more glasses a week — saw the effect. More than 90 percent of the people in the study drank fat-free or low-fat milk, and the study did not find the effect with cheese and other dairy products.

It is possible, of course, that people who drink more milk are just healthier in every way, and that the milk is merely a signpost of that lifestyle than the cause of arthritis prevention. But we can safely assume that the milk isn’t causing any joint distress – and that upping your intake of liquid dairy may, in fact, represent a doorway to safer living.  That being said, it is extremely important for growing children, lactating women, and postmenopausal women to ensure adequate calcium intake.  That threshold may more easily be met with calcium supplements.  Most of the better quality supplements will also have the necessary Vitamin D dosage as well.  For further details reach out to your primary care physician or me to answer your questions.

We’ve spent lots of time in previous posts to discuss how to manage arthritis.  We have now also touched on measures to try to prevent it.  So try it if you like and see if that glass a day keeps the knee pain at bay. As an expert in orthopedic surgery, I have certainly seen enough chronic joint pain to know that every preventive measure is worth a shot.


It is rare to find a folk remedy that cleanly defeats modern medicine in a head-to-head test of efficacy, but that’s precisely what sesame seeds recently pulled off. In a study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, researchers announced that the humble sesame seed outperformed OTC stalwart Tylenol in a controlled experiment involving arthritic patients:

The researchers divided 50 people with arthritic knee pain into two groups. One received 2,000 milligrams of acetaminophen and 500 milligrams of glucosamine daily, while the other got 40 grams of sesame daily. After two months, those who had taken the sesame seed had significantly less pain and better function than those taking the drug. Other scientists have found that sesamin has a beneficial effect on cartilage (Glycoconjugate Journal online, December 2013).

It is a provocative finding which underscores just how little we still know about the science of inflammation, and how it impacts chronic joint pain. At minimum, this study should give pause to physicians who reach for the standard painkillers every time a new symptom arises.

Other holistic and naturally occurring anti-inflammatory foods include fish oil, turmeric, cherry juice, and devil’s claw. Many mature athletes have found knee pain relief with the use of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. To learn more about effective treatments and procedures for knee pain, please contact my San Diego orthopedic surgery offices today.

© 2023 Dr. Robert Afra – San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Shoulder – Knee – Elbow