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Chiropractors like me, your chiropractor in Grand Rapids, help many people who have developed OA in a number of places in the body, including the knee joints. Knee pain and disability is one of the most widespread problems of the musculoskeletal system, second only to spinal abnormalities. In fact, an astounding 4.3 million men and women in the US over 60 years of age have been diagnosed with knee OA, according to the CDC, and it anticipates that half of the people in America may incur symptoms of OA in at least one knee by age 85. Knee OA causes pain, immobility, functional disabilities, and a decreased quality of life.

Why do so many men and women develop OA? Undue stress over the years is a major determinant in the majority of musculoskeletal problems that develop as we get older. It follows that as people get older they are more at risk for developing OA in their knees, as well as other joints. Improper mechanics of the knee, irregular gait, compensatory foot mechanics as an offset of foot pain, and repetitive use of the knee joint all cause inordinate stress on the knees. Consequently arthritic changes in the knee joint develop. The majority of chiropractors suggest such natural, drug-free practices as Tai Chi, in addition to their chiropractic care. Tai Chi (Chuan) is a traditional style of Chinese martial arts that features slow, rhythmic movements that create peace of mind, as well as improved balance, an increase in strength, and more flexibility.

A new study conducted by Tufts University School of Medicine has found that patients that are at least 65 years of age or older who suffer from knee osteoarthritis (OA), and who practice Tai Chi, improved their physical capability and encountered a decrease in pain. Osteoarthritis is a general form of arthritis that causes a breakdown of joint cartilage.

In otherwise good health, the 40 adults with confirmed OA that were chosen for the Tufts study were, on average, 65 years of age and overweight. Patients were randomly picked to take part in 60-minute “Yang style” Tai Chi sessions twice weekly for 12 weeks. Each session included a 10-minute self-massage and a review of Tai Chi principles, 30 minutes of Tai Chi movement, 10 minutes of breathing technique, and 10 minutes of relaxation.

Tai Chi practice involves the type of range of motion, flexibility, muscle conditioning, and aerobic workout that is compatible with contemporary exercise recommendations for osteoarthritis. Furthermore, researchers observed that the “mental component” of Tai Chi promoted a sense of well-being, life contentment, and perceptions of health that helped the participants to deal differently with chronic pain. Significantly, the group practicing Tai Chi exhibited a meaningful decrease in knee pain compared with those in the control group.

If you are suffering from knee pain, see your Grand Rapids Chiropractor, get out of pain, and learn about the proper exercises that will be best for your knees.

Full findings of the study were published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.