In my experience there isn't much worse of a feeling than being in pain and feeling like you can’t participate in various activities that you love because of this. Some people do just push on through the pain and do things anyway, others avoid doing activities or movements that aggravate their pain. Regardless when joint pain is present it does make day to day life feel a lot more restricted and less enjoyable.
On the other hand being pain-free and moving our bodies optimally really gives us a sense of freedom and opens up a lot of possibilities as to the various experiences we can engage in from day to day. I believe we all should have our bodies performing in a way that is optimal for us. Optimal means not feeling held back or restricted by pain at all and having minimal if not zero pain along with a level of performance that allows you to participate in all the things you would like to (activities, hobbies, passions and day to day tasks).
Knee Arthritis (both osteo or rheumatoid) and the associated pain in our knees with movement can really slow us down. Having pain in our knees when bending or kneeling down can really stop us from engaging in many activities that we otherwise would love to do if it was not for the pain. For many people knee arthritis and the associated pain is just accepted as a normal process of ageing “its just ware and tear from old age”.
The reality is everyone experiences some form of arthritis or “wear and tear” in their knees as they get older, however not all of these people have pain in their knees. The knee joints have a lot of load going through them throughout the many years of our lives and they need servicing from time to time. Think of our knees (and all of our joints) as being like a car engine. Things can start to go wrong if we don't give them a service and optimise their function from time to time.
Its very interesting when we look at the degree of arthritic change on X-rays and notice that levels of arthritic change do not always correlate with levels of knee pain - its not uncommon to people with lots or arthritic change and no pain along with people who have minimal knee pain and lots of arthritic change. When we look at people with arthritic change who are in pain verse people who are not in pain and assess function / performance of the knee join itself - this is where we can understand why the pain is much more prominent in some individuals and not in others.
When function of the knee is compromised this is when issues such as pain begin to arise. When a joint is operating in a dysfunctional manner various structures within the joint will have too much force / stress placed on them resulting in more “wear and tear” than just the base level of arthritis. The focus should be on getting your knees working as optimally as possible with the correct program (mobility, muscle balance, strength and movement quality) along with maximising the health of your body in general.
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