We have many patients come into the clinic every day that are having their knees worked on. These are people who have popping clicking or grinding in their knees that is painful and they don’t have the range of motion that they used to have. They will say things like, “I want to get down on the floor and play with my grandkids, but I’m afraid I’ll never get back up again.” They walk in the door tilting from side to side because it hurts to try to walk normally. Some of them have had an injury to their knees in the past but the majority of them just think that it is wear and tear from over the years. The “I’m just getting old” theory.
At the Ozzie Smith IMAC Regeneration Center we are thrilled when a knee patient walks in. Don’t get me wrong, we love all of our patients, but we have great success with our knee patients, and we love to be able to give people hope. We examine patients with painful knees, then we take images that allow us to see what kind of degeneration is going on and look for signs of instability in the joint. Typically we find bony outgrowths, very decreased joint space (sometimes even bone on bone!) and the femur sitting tilted or shifted on the bones of the leg. The patient cannot move their knees much, and it is very uncomfortable for them to stand or walk for long periods of time. Often times they have even put on some extra weight because they’re not as active as they would like to be. It’s simply too painful for them to try to exercise.
Once we are done gathering information, we explain to the patient that they have some arthritic changes in their knee and that their presentation along with their X-rays shows us that they have a very unstable joint. We then explain the integrated protocol that we choose specifically for them. It includes physical therapy, regenerative medicine such as platelet-rich plasma and/or stem cell injections and chiropractic care. The part that stumps them is the chiropractic adjustments. They will say, “But I thought I was getting my knees treated?” Then we explain to them how the problem has affected their whole spine. When you are dealing with pain in your lower extremities, you have to compensate by walking differently and moving inefficiently. As your joint becomes unstable you lose the skill in that area and your body doesn’t know how to protect you from injury. Many people develop a wider or leaning walking pattern. By leveling out the pelvis through adjustments and restoring proper motion into the spine, the body begins to retrain itself to move the best way. This helps prevent the patient from having back injuries in the future and also limits excessive wear and tear in there newly rehabilitated knees. We build the skill of the knee and the body back up, then we help it to heal itself without surgical intervention. It just doesn’t get any better than that.