I have been able to save more than one patient from knee surgery. Many times an MRI will show a tear in the meniscus of the knee. The meniscus is the shock absorbing cartilage of the knee. Although this area will not heal on its own, by correcting the misalignment of the painful knee and the improving the biomechanics around that area, tremendous relief can still be achieved. In fact, if one were to take an MRI of the general population, about a third of the people would show tears in their menisci. This is not to say that a third of the population has knee pain and needs surgery. On the contrary, it shows that a meniscus tear is not necessarily symptomatic. The pain may be originating from somewhere else.
Indeed, when I first examine a patient for knee pain I want to determine what is causing the pain. In many cases the pain may be coming from the muscle attachments around the knee. In other cases the joint itself may hurt, but this is due to a misalignment of the knee as opposed to damage to the internal structure.
The primary areas I will examine and treat for knee pain patient are the low back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. The low back directly affects the knees because the nerves that control the movement of the knees originate in that area. Long before any nerve impingement results in sciatic pain or tingling down the leg, subtle pressure on the nerves from low back misalignments can compromise the nerve flow to the muscles. This can, in turn, affect the ability of the muscles to absorb the shock that goes into the knees when walking. It can also affect the tracking of the knees during the gait cycle as a person walks.
Correcting the alignment of the rest of the joints in the lower extremities will also create an improved gait that puts less stress on the knees and surrounding muscles. As an added bonus, by improving the biomechanics of the lower extremities thus, decreasing stress to the knees, the patient may be less prone to arthritic changes in the future.