The medical community is never short on opinions on how to manage chronic pain. Common recommendations range from the use of anti-inflammatories such as NSAIDs, to stretches, exercises, even meditation. One effective fix that isn’t usually mentioned: weight loss. Now a new study has appeared which suggests the effects can be profound:
The study included 20 obese patients who had weight-loss surgery and 40 patients who had total knee replacement due to arthritis.
One year after their procedure, the patients who had weight-loss surgery reported significant improvements in knee pain. Their results were comparable to the patients who had a knee replacement, according to the study, which was presented Friday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in New Orleans.
It is yet another reminder that our knees are complex mechanical systems, and that ensuring their safe operation has as much to do with reducing loads as reducing stress. The collateral health benefits of weight loss only shore up the case, of course, and lend credence to a holistic view of sports medicine that incorporates the entire body as a single system.
Furthermore, there is growing scientific evidence that injections of PRP (platelet rich plasma) and/or stem cells into the arthritic knee provide significant pain improvement. In fact more and more evidence seems to indicate that PRP is more effective in reducing knee pain than the highly touted hyaluronic acid (HA) injections, such as Synvisc, Hyalgan, Orthovisc, and Suppartz.