Confidence as treatment

We notice that many of the presenters who purport a structuralist view of the body have a strong and passionate and powerful charisma about them and, I have no doubt, portray this to their patients.  Their patients, of course, see them as body part experts (he’s the best knee guy in town) and will no doubt, under the placebo treatment of confidence and charisma (which is all good to me) get better just by interacting with them. Continue reading

Osteoarthritis and the Painful Knee: Part 2/2

men s black crew neck shirt

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Ok, so we discussed some of the contributing mechanisms of knee pain in Part 1/2 and we have yet to look at diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.  Let’s see what this prospective article, my main reference for this post series, suggests!

We have postulated that knee pain from osteoarthritis (OA) has three contributing factors: knee pathology, psychological distress, and neurophysiology.  So when diagnosing individuals with knee OA who have pain we must see if these criterion are met.  The authors in the article propose a phenotypical diagnostic thought process since the OA population is heterogeneous and broad.

The patient could present with varying levels of each of the three domains noted above along with a reported pain rating.  Example: a patient may have minimal radiographic changes, high psychological distress and moderate pain neurophysiology (central sensitization, etc) and report a 7/10 on the pain scale.  Another phenotype could present with high radiographic damage, and low distress and neurophysiology and report a 3/10.  This form of diagnosing a patient may help lead to the next two important steps; prognosis and treatment.

The authors do not state how to determine some of the levels in the different domains.  My question: how do you differentiate a person with high radiographic OA evidence with appropriate nociceptive input vs a person with high radiographic OA evidence with central sensitization as well?  I am sure there are diagnostic methods that are appropriate for PTs to administer in this arena.  (post to comments if you have some good guidelines!).  Ok, we continue… Continue reading

Osteoarthritis and the Painful knee: Part 1/2

Nocebo Confession: this image makes my knee hurt!

The recently published prospective (March 2014) Future directions in painful knee osteoarthritis: Harnessing complexity in a heterogeneous population really breaks-down some wonderful concepts about pathoanatomy and pain perception.

The article reports that 50% of individuals with osteoarthritis-like knee pain have positive radiographs for osteoarthritis (OA).  Interestingly enough, 50% of those with positive radiographs for OA have knee pain.  Citing the NIH they quote “it is important to separate conceptually the disease process of OA and the syndrome of musculoskeletal pain and disability.” They also refer to N. Hadler’s paper Knee Pain is the Malady, Not Osteoarthritis, which is a wonderful title indeed!

The authors propose a new conceptual model which is outstanding in breadth and scope.  They delineate the disease process into three contributing categories:  1) Knee pathology 2) Psychological distress 3) Pain neurophysiology.

Knee pathology involves the regular and commonly held positions about OA.  They include the radiographic (X-Ray) evidence, the chondral changes, osteophytes, the joint narrowing, the “bone-on-bone”, the “you have the knees of a 90 year old.” This part of the puzzle obviously contributes, but the relationship is NOT 1-to-1 for pain and dysfunction.  – Try explaining that to someone who has knee pain, has been told they have OA and been told they have the knees of a 90 yr old.  It will be a long discussion. Of course there are the biomechanical stresses on the knee including increased body mass and joint positioning that are implicated in the knee pathology puzzle piece.

The psychological distress part has to do with fear of movement (moving could cause pain!!) and catastrophizing (ruminating over the situation and winding it up into a hypersensitive syndrome) and other factors (don’t want to give it all away, read the article!) similar to other chronic pains.  It is shown that the better the coping mechanisms and the better the positive belief strategies that the patient can employ the better the outcomes.

The pain neurophysiology aspect is… well, please allow me to quote: Continue reading

Iliotibial Band? More like Lateral Knee Pain.

(Credits: This post is inspired by a recent Journal Club discussion)

 image credit from: http://saveyourself.ca/tutorials/iliotibial-band-syndrome.php

The Ilitotibial Band (ITB) pain that many people seek relief from and many of us will treat is a confusing phenomena. The ITB lies lateral to the thigh as a thickening in the compartmental fascia of the upper leg.  Proximally the tensor fascia lata and gluteus medius insert into the band and distally the fascia inserts onto the lateral femoral condyle and the proximal lateral tibia at Gerdy’s tubercle. The ITB also dives perpendicular to the fascial plane to meet and attach to the femur along the lateral linea aspera.  The muscle belly diectly under the ITB is primarily the vastus lateralis muscle and the cutaneous sensory innervation along the ITB is the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. Continue reading