Saturday, July 18, 2015

Forbes on Hyaluronic Acid Injections: Don’t Waste Your Money

I found this article by a Forbes writer (who suffers from knee pain) to be a good read.

Readers of this blog may recognize that meta-study he references that’s critical of hyaluronic acid injections. I wrote about it back in July 2012.

I then followed a year later with this post, which in many ways was more interesting, as it deconstructed a counterpoint meta-study that found the injections provided “significant improvement in pain.”

So was it simply a matter of warring meta-studies, with nothing resolved in the end? Well  . . . the second meta-study, it so turned out, was “supported” to some unclear degree by makers of viscosupplements and put out by an “open access” publisher. Lots of funny odors coming off that one.

So is hyaluronic acid -- a kind of synthetic synovial fluid, which is the “oil” that your knee joints need to stay lubricated and easy moving -- a waste of money?

Judging from anecdotal evidence, I don’t know. I’ve read comments from some patients who claim to experience a lessening of symptoms after the procedure. However, the effect of the shots can wear off in as little as three or four weeks. And then, you have other patients who claim that they felt worse after getting the shots.

So it’s kind of a crapshoot. Anyone considering viscosupplementation should look long and hard at the treatment. This is a moneymaker for a number of drug companies, and for doctors who give the injections. Make sure that when they recommend what to do with your knees, they’re looking out for you, and not their own wallets.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Do Your Knees a Favor and Get Enough Sleep

Here’s a study, the results of which (published in Arthritis Care & Research) surprised me not at all.
Researchers discovered poor sleep habits among people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) appear to increase their sensitivity to pain resulting in an amplification of discomfort.
The study included 208 subjects (72 percent of whom were female). They were split into four groups: osteoarthritis patients with insomnia, OA patients with normal sleep habits, then two control groups of healthy subjects -- half with insomnia, half who slept normally.

The group with knee OA and insomnia had the greatest degree of “central sensitization” -- a condition of the nervous system where pain signals are amplified.

I’ve mentioned before how important getting a good night’s sleep is. I think it does wonders on different levels: It gives your body downtime to mend, puts your legs in a relaxed, non-stressful position, and improves your outlook on life in general.

So if you’re trying to win the knee-pain battle, and you’re not getting eight hours a night (or whatever constitutes a full night of rest for you), maybe you need to rethink your schedule to give yourself enough good, restorative sleep time.