I've shared my story on curing hip OA and am working hard to help others understand how they might achieve this too.
To pre-empt any confusion over what I meant by cure here's what Dictionary.com has to say:
1.a means of healing or restoring to health; remedy.
2.a method or course of remedial treatment, as for disease.
3.successful remedial treatment; restoration to health.
4.a means of correcting or relieving anything that is troublesome or detrimental:
I stress I am not trying to tell anyone that they SHOULD attempt this. You are all free agents and if you know it's not for you then I have no interest in convincing you otherwise.
This is for people that ARE interested in taking the same steps I took to help myself. I'm now symptom free. It *might* work out that way for others.
For moderators that aren't clear on what muscle imbalance is - it's simply, well .... like it says on the tin. Muscles get out of balance causing joint to track abnormally. The treatment isn't anything controversial. It's physical therapy. Recommended by NICE and all competent sources of info on OA self help. Including Arthritis Care.
Here's what a Doctor *** ******** has to say about it:
"There's a continuous process of ‘wear and repair’ happening in our joints. But some circumstances tip the balance more towards wear in the joint rather than repair. For example, injury or muscle weakness around the joint, which in turn leads to pain and the changes seen in the joint in osteoarthritis.
Addressing problems like muscle weakness or abnormal load passing through the joint can help to bring the balance back towards the repair process. In summary – for most people osteoarthritis isn’t an inevitably progressive thing and can be modified by looking for and addressing the problems that tip the balance from wear to repair in the joints."
So, by correcting muscle imbalances and restoring good posture and movement we can bring the balance back towards the repair process.
Now, in my case I had a whole host of problems. Including:
- Hip OA (one symptomatic hip; both hips with degenerative changes)
- Stiff, painful neck (moderate to severe degenerative changes)
- Bone on bone shoulder impingement
- Bunions (toe OA)
- Chronic, uncontrollable pain (nerve pain)
ALL became symptom free when I corrected the muscle imbalance. A single muscle imbalance was responsible for all of these symptoms. It wasn't the random collection of symptoms that it seemed to be.
It's well publicized that the best treatment for oa is exercise and physical therapy. Unfortunately only generic plans are recommended and they tend to not get good results. Even with these simple plans research shows that patient compliance is poor. Stellar results from these generic plans is rare. I'm told (I don't know how much truth there is in it) that this isn't researched and offered as a personalised treatment plan simply because most people won't be willing to put in the work to get good results. It's essentially cost considerations getting in the way.
Fortunately, if you're willing to put in the work and do your homework there is plenty of information out there to help you to become your own expert. Outside the health service there's lots of expertise in this. To eliminate muscle imbalances isn't easy. You first need to accurately diagnose what's wrong. But it CAN be done.
I found the key was:
- Accurately diagnosing the precise nature of the muscle imbalance.
- Identifying which muscles are involved - throughout the body. (So not just targeting with generic corrective exercise plans)
- Using targeted trigger point therapy to get pain relief and restore mobility
- Working hard on appropriate corrective exercises.
Every case is different. My feeling is that hips will be the hardest - and that's perhaps why hip OA is most likely to progress to needing surgery. But I got my hip problem sorted - it CAN be done.
I don't know what state my actual joints are in now. I don't much care. They are symptom free so I'm now in the same boat as all the non-symptomatic people with xray evidence of joint wear. But from what researchers are telling us it is possible that now that my body and joints are functioning normally the repair process may well be reversing the degenerative changes in my joints.
I'm not allowed to share details - by instruction from the moderators.
But I can guide you towards Googling "muscle imbalance" "Trigger Point Therapy" "Myofacial Release" "shirley sahrmann " "postural dysfunction'.
This *may* throw up information that will help some. But don't assume you're not curable if you fall at the first hurdle. It took me 9 years to figure it out. On a more positive note the things I learnt kept me pain free enough to keep training hard for the most part.
Best of luck and I'm happy to answer whatever questions I can within the rules of these forums.
Edited by Moderator JK