I stumbled upon your book whilst spending hours online searching for advice on chronic knee pain. You have given me a sense of hope I had all but lost. I have recently been told I have irreversibly damaged the cartilage in my knees, told there is nothing I can really do, advised to take glucosamine and to strengthen my quads with exercises I cannot possibly contemplate at the moment. It seems such a relief to hear your story.Wow. Thank you.
I am in the depressed, downward spiral of thinking that, at the age of 41, is this it? How am I going to live like this when even climbing a set of stairs is a challenge? I used to thrive on exercise and being active. To have this unwelcome change in my lifestyle has been extremely difficult to cope with, especially as I have two young children and a wonderful husband I want to be enjoying life with. I just want to thank you for taking the time and effort to share your story. You have given me a glimpse of a hope I had all but lost and well-balanced, well-researched advice I am going to attempt to follow. I know the road is very long with many likely falls along the way but to hear that it can be done inspires me in a way I haven't been for some time. Thank you.
Sometimes, I confess, I feel a bit remote from this blog. Namely: I had chronic knee pain. But I managed to fix it. And the memory of the hole I was in has started to recede.
Then, every once in a while, I get an uplifting, heartwarming comment like this that says to me:
There are millions of people out there who are going through what you once did. They’re scared too, trying to figure out what to do. Some are over 40, as you were, and maybe they too were essentially told, “Ah, you’re just getting old; learn to live with the pain.” Many are getting the same bad advice you did (such as to focus on “strenghtening the quads” when, as Doug Kelsey of Sports Center notes, “having stronger muscles is helpful but weak muscles are not the primary problem”). So don’t stop spreading a message of hope!
I still recall a phone conversation I had with my father, back when I was living in Hong Kong, trying like hell to heal my bad knees -- and succeeding.
My voice was shaking with anger. I was talking about my experience with my knee doctors. I was most upset with them because, after a physical exam would reveal no major structural problems, each would more or less shrug when asked what could be done about my knee pain.
Of course one said that sometimes patients with knee pain get better, sometimes they don’t. So I followed up with what seemed like a logical question: Why do some get better? But he wouldn’t answer.
Later, thinking about that scene, I got irritated. Hell, if I was a knee doctor, and my mission was to heal, and some of my patients improved while others got worse, I’d be lying awake in bed every night, thinking:
Why? What are the ones who heal doing differently? Or what’s different about them?
One of the most inspiring messages I got from Doug Kelsey early on was this response to an imaginary comment from a doctor:
"Well, you have arthritis. Your knees are just wearing out and there's really not much you can do about it."Kelsey's rejection of the gloomy fatalism that bad knees will be bad knees, and only get worse if anything, was for me very encouraging. It helped convince me that I could heal. And I did.
Hogwash. Hooey. Balderdash. It's just nonsense.
Taking away hope, wrongly, from a suffering patient is a terrible thing to do.