Thursday, March 25, 2010

Knee Osteoarthritis? Watch Your Back

What has the back got to do with knee arthritis? A lot.
Your back and knees work as a team when we lift. If either one is causing pain, even small amounts of pain only occasionally, it is natural for the other half of the team to work a little harder.

Good lifting technique has always been about bending the knees, not the back. The trouble comes when the knees aren't as happy to do all the bending anymore. Now a choice must be made. Aggravate the knee pain, or risk your back.

My advice here is simple:

1) If possible, don't do the lifting at all or get someone else to do it or help.
2) Protect your back. If if must be lifted, knee aggravation is better than a back problem combined with arthritic knees.

Planning ahead can reduce the strain on both your knees and back. Store heavy items close to waist height. If something can be divided up into smaller parts do so. Avoid repetitive movements and if they can't be avoided, rest frequently.

Remember that exercise is a vital part of treating knee arthritis and you won't be doing that if your back is painful. We can always replace knees, but we can't replace your spine.

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