Sunday, March 31, 2013

Good News! I Have Severe Degeneration

by Glen Depke

Good news for me and potentially for you?
Recently I was diagnosed with severe degeneration in my medial right knee and moderated degeneration in the rest of my knee. Now this was not a complete surprise since I hurt my knee about 31 years ago. You know, the old football injury? How many times have we heard this story?

To make my long story short, my knee was injured when I was 17. The doctors wanted to do complete reconstructive surgery (the only option way back when) and I was not open to this. Seven years later, I had arthroscopic surgery for pain and dysfunction, was told they cleaned up some torn cartilage and all would be fine. With very little motivation, I minimally completed rehab and away I went. So here I am many years later, living with this diagnosis.

Here's where the good news comes in...

First of all, I feel lucky to have received this info. I am not currently suffering with constant knee pain and if it was not for a gate dysfunction, I would not have reached out to check in with my knee. Having this information allows me to take the proactive measures necessary so I can still be mobile in for decades to come. My father had a knee replacement some years ago and this is not something that I would look forward to. Getting this information now, while I can still do something about it is very empowering.

The other piece of good news is for everyone following Depke Wellness. When I have an issue with my health, I am of course going to research every end of this possible. Well, who else benefits from this? You do of course because I always share information learned with my clients as well as followers of Depke Wellness. 

Here's what I have learned so far.

What do you do when you injure yourself?

Well, the old thought is to use the R.I.C.E. approach. This is rest, ice, compression  and elevation. I have always thought that this goes against the natural healing process of the body. The RICE approach makes inflammation look like the bad guy when really the inflammatory response is exactly what the body needs to heal properly. When using the RICE approach the immune system response is decreased, blood flow to the area is decreased, collagen formation is hindered, speed of recovery is lengthened, range of motion of the joint is decreased and the potential of complete healing is decreased. I don't know about you but I'm not interested in the RICE approach response.

So what should you do when you injure a joint and it becomes inflamed?

How about the M.E.A.T. approach? No, I do not mean to put a piece of meat on your injury. Here's what the MEAT approach stands for. Movement, exercise, analgesics and treatment. When using the MEAT approach the immune system response is increased, blood flow to the area is increased, collagen formation is encouraged, speed of recovery is shortened, range of motion of the joint is increased and the potential of complete healing is increased. Sign me up, this is supporting the natural process of the body rather than hindering. 

It is also important to recognize that blood flow and inflammation play a very positive role in your healing. Your blood allow nutrients to the area and increases removal of waste. The inflammation allows for natural immobilization, creates enough pain to slow you down a bit and allows for a proper immune system response for healing. Remember, inflammation is not a bad guy. The use of ice actually reduces blood flow and inflammation which you can see is a part of natural healing.

How about anti-inflammatory medicines and/or NSAIDS such as Mortin, Advil, aspirin, prednisone or cortisone? While these may provide some short term pain relief, long term along with the RICE approach, the long term effect of this pain relief may end up as an arthritic joint. Not the option I'm looking for. 

The use of analgesics such as bromelain, trypsin and papain aid in soft tissue healing by reducing the viscosity of extracellular fluid which is turn will increase nutrient and waste transport to and from the injured site, naturally reducing swelling and edema. 

Movement and gentle range of motion exercises actually improve blood flow to the area and as mentioned above, assist in removing debris. If the pain is too great for movement, isometric exercise can be used.

The treatment aspect may be physical therapy, massage, chiropractic care, ultra sound, myofascial release and/or electrical stimulation to stimulate blood flow and treatment healing.

I have also learned quite a bit about supplements to assist healing. 

When you talk about joint pain glucosamine and chondroitin are often the first two supplements you'll hear of. While there are definite benefits of both of these, I have found through my research that most of the brands on the market do not contain the full amounts mentioned on the bottle. So in essence, you may not be getting what you bargained for. With this in mind, I personally use the Chi Enterprise Joint Force. Joint Force contains Boswellia serrata, Glucosamine sulphate, Chrondroitin sulphate, MSM, vitamin C and Manganese. Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM are well-known for their effect in rebuilding joint cartilage in osteoarthritis. Boswellia is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that in increases joint flexibility and reduces joint pain. Manganese is a mineral essential for the formation of connective tissue. Vitamin C is important for the production of collagen, which is needed for healthy bones and cartilage.

Another supplement that is in my regiment is liquid hyaluronic acid. This has been show to support synovial fluid, cartilage as well as healthy skin. Hyaluronic acid supports water retention in tissues and joints to maintain proper cell-to-cell communication, joint lubrication, nutrient delivery and toxin elimination. It also modulates prostaglandin production to support joint comfort.

There are of course other supplements that may be a benefit but I am a less is more person and like to see where my results are coming from rather than throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this.

There is also a treatment that I am definitely a candidate for the may actually assist many reading this article. That treatment is called Prolotherapy. I have known of Prolotherapy for some time but have never done the deep research on this. After looking at all of the research, talking to some associates that have used with with their patients and reading the book "Prolo Your Pain Away!" by Dr Hauser, if have to say that this is a potential promising therapy for those suffering from arthritis, back pain, scoliosis, migraines, neck pain, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, loose joints, RSD pain, TMJ, tendonitis, sciatica and/or herniated disks. Not everyone that has these issues is a candidate for Prolotherapy, but this is definitely worth a look. 

If you are suffering from any of the above challenges, I would at least recommend getting Dr Hauser's book listed above to get acquainted with Prolotherapy.

From my perspective, this is a perfect fit. One of the challenges that lead to my X-ray and recognition of joint degeneration was the fact that my LCL ligament in my knee was found to be non-existent. Now if this ligament is still intact yet stretched beyond the point of usefulness, Prolotherapy may be my answer. With Prolotherapy I would have anywhere from 1 but up to 6 injections in my ligament that would form scar tissue and potentially tighten this ligament and create a working environment again. This along with the intense rehabilitation of my gluteal muscles, hips as well as every muscle in my leg should provide me the ability to remain fully functional and vibrant for many, many decades to come.

My "bad" news is ending up as a gift for me and I hope this can lead you down the same path if you suffer from joint pain personally. Bad news can often be good news, it just depends on what we do with the news.

If you have any comments or questions, please leave this below and I will address this personally.