Just to add to the level of confusion around what to do for something like osteoarthritis, a recent study found that most doctors are likely not following the recommended, evidence-based guidelines for treatment of the disease.1
What are they doing?
Prescribing pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications and suggesting or performing surgery.
And what should they be doing according to the article?
Recommending weight loss and exercise.
So, why would doctors not follow the evidence-based approach of weight loss and exercise?
First, it takes about twenty years for newly published research to make its way into clinical practice. For example, in the 70's Dr. Robert Salter discovered that moving joints after surgery produced a far better outcome than immobilizing them. Yet, in the 80's, we still had orthopedic surgeons who refused to use a Continuous Passsive Motion machine after knee surgery and instead placed the patient in a long leg cast.
Second, people do what they know and are comfortable doing. Doctors, most - not all - know very little about how to help people lose weight and how to use execise to improve the structure and function of a joint. So, they stay with what they know. Drugs and surgery.
But, at least you know.
And physical therapists can help you with the rest. :-)
1. “Quality of Osteoarthritis Management and the Need for Reform in the US.” David J. Hunter, Tuhina Neogi, and Marc C. Hochberg. Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: June 25, 2010 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.20278); Print Issue Date: January 2011.
It's a project I've been working on for three years and it's going to launch in the next few weeks. If you like The View, you'll love my new project. I can't tell you too much about it right now - would spoil the story. But, it's coming. Watch for it.