Is There A Way To Avoid Hip, Knee Or Shoulder Surgery?

By Dr. David Biedebach, D.C., C.C.F.C.

No matter what age you are, would you like to avoid hip, knee or shoulder surgery, or even a joint replacement? Avoiding surgery or a joint replacement is not only possible, it’s easy if you act early.

The key is understanding how your body functions. When you suffer an injury, you voluntarily and quite understandably limit your own movement — because it may hurt to strive for a full range of motion. That’s the beginning of the problem — you get into a habit of limiting your movement. Eventually, whatever movement you do not use becomes movement you cannot use. That part of the tissue becomes very brittle, drying and dying over time.

Woman stretching
Simple exercises can help you avoid surgery – but it doesn’t have to be this extreme!

Take your hip, for example — if you’re only moving it out 20 degrees when you could originally move it out 45 degrees, then eventually you cannot re-flex to 45 degrees. Also, it doesn’t take your whole life for that to happen. I’ve had some 40-year-olds that need hip implants and many 50- and 60-year-olds.

The reason is that joints only work if you use them; if you don’t they die. So people are actually unknowingly setting themselves up for trouble. They might not even realize they’re not using a full range of motion. They don’t challenge the joint to see if it can be used. The cartilage in joints works based on function. If you use all the function, then when you fall your joint tissue (cartilage) is supple and springs better and doesn’t break that easily. When tissue is dry you can practically blow on it and it will break.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that arthritis is normal as you age. It’s actually not normal — it’s common but not normal. Many people get it because they have neglected certain parts of their body and the neglect has caused it to advance with degenerative changes because of lack of use. It is not age that causes arthritis but lack of use. That’s why one body part — a shoulder, for example — may be perfectly fine and another part — the other shoulder — has trouble. Age — or, more precisely, time — is only relevant in regard to how long you’ve neglected the full movement of a joint. It’s an entirely different concept: age is not important — the amount of time joint function is neglected is the key.

It’s especially troublesome when medication is involved. It reinforces the idea that if you feel okay today, then you’re okay. But it is probably simply the medication disguising the problem. Using medication is understandable — we all want to feel better — but it is not curing the problem.

The answer is to begin a simple hip-stretching exercise – one that just takes 30 to 40 seconds – and if you do it daily or at least four days a week, you’ll reduce your chances of ever needing a hip replacement or surgery. It’s best to learn these exercises in person, so if you’d like to get started give me a call at (805) 379-1644. This will also give us the chance to check out any joints that you’re concerned about and create a customized exercise plan that will help you ensure your well-being far into the future!