Your knee arthritis pain is caused by degeneration of cartilage or a torn meniscus, right? Every doctor you’ve been to has told you that, so it has to be right. Well it’s WRONG! There’s big scientific body of evidence showing that arthritis itself doesn’t cause pain, and the pain of arthritis (and maybe even arthritis itself), is caused by nerves. At my Dry Needling Clinic & Acupuncture Clinic in Tampa, FL, I take a different approach to treating arthritic joint pain. Instead of only treating the structure (which we also treat), I also make sure ALL of the nerves that innervate the joint are being treated too. This COMPREHENSIVE approach allows me to help ~95% of the patients I see avoid unnecessary surgeries and get back to living their life with SIGNIFICANTLY less pain.
So what causes pain from arthritis?
Despite what your orthopedic doctor (read surgeon who just cuts things out), Irritated nerves dump a batch of bad chemicals into your joint which cause pain signals to go to your brain and make you feel pain. This isn’t my opinion, there’s a ton of research to prove this. This paper shows that they way patients described knee arthritis found it almost exactly the same as how patients describe nerve pain (The Nerve of Knee Osteoarthritis). This paper shows that when researches create an arthritis joint in animals they see significant changes in the nerves that supply the joint at the spinal cord.
Unfortunately most doctors only use x-ray or MRI imaging to show that there are changes in the joint, so they irrationally assume that those changes are the only cause of your pain. It’s also unfortunate that it generally takes 20 years for clinical practitioners to catch up to what medical research is showing.
What seems to be developing is a ton of medical research supporting the concept that arthritis in a joint is caused by sensitized or overly active nerves. These nerves dump “bad” chemicals into the joint which cause it to become inflamed and hurt.
This research suggests that our focus on trying to only fix the structure of a joint and not worry about how it got that way in the first place is the wrong approach.
So what can you do different?
First things first, I take the approach that we need to COMPREHENSIVELY treat your pain, this means structures (joint capsules, ligaments, tendons, muscles), nerves (both the local ones to where your pain is but also the entire segment to your spine), and the surrounding biochemical environment. The best way I’ve found to do this (after performing over 13,000 procedures) is with dry needling and electro-acupuncture. This combination is a powerhouse that can make massive changes to how your body functions and in turn to how you experience pain.
The approach I take is so different from what a normal acupuncturist might do and something that a physical therapist who has only taken a short weekend course on dry needling could ever do. (You did know that physical therapists that do dry needling literally only take a short weekend course consisting of minimal training before they are allowed to stab you with needles, right?).
I am continually refining and perfecting both the assessment and procedures I use to help restore function to your nerves so you experience less pain.