Saturday, February 02, 2013
What's the best treatment for creaky, arthritic knees?
a. Sitting down
b. Taking glucosamine supplements
c. Doing tai chi
d. Taking shark cartilage pills
Answer: c. In controlled experiments, glucosamine and shark cartilage have failed to reliably relieve knee pain, but a 2011 review of multiple studies of tai chi---that famously flowing series of stretches and poses---concluded that it is generally effective at controlling pain and improving physical function.
When I was young (back when dinosaurs roamed), I was a cheerleader. Whenever I would bend my knees, they would talk to me..........they would snap, and groan, and creak and I was always glad for a noisy crowd, because then it wouldn't be noticeable. I always thought, (erroneously I now know) that my knees were bad because I was too hard on them. I was constantly jumping on and off trampolines, doing splits, cartwheels, contorting them in various positions for our more intricate cheers, etc.. Now, I know that it wasn't the constant exercise that was causing the problem. It was arthritis. The exercise was probably keeping me more mobile and keeping the arthritis from getting worse. I now know that sitting for long periods and being inactive in general is much more damaging. I will now be looking into that Tai Chi class I have wondered about for too long!!!