Being Depressed Could Make Your Knee Osteoarthritis Worse

Researchers from South Korea through the use of x-rays evaluated the degree of knee osteoarthritis in 660 participants, both male and female and aged 65 years and older. They also had an assessment on the severity of their symptoms and depression.

The studies findings had revealed what researchers had expected. Higher pain levels were observed in patients who had x-rays revealing greater joint damage. It was also discovered that depression was linked with increased pain in those patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, even if remarked joint damage was not appearing in the x-rays.

The conclusions from this study has been published in the March 16th issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Dr. Tae Kyun Kim, author of the study, director of the division of knee surgery and sports medicine at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital’s Joint Reconstruction Center, stated in the news release knee osteoarthritis is a usual cause of pain and impairment in older adults. Most of the time, the level of arthritic symptoms is greater than what is observed in x-rays. This makes it hard for a physician to treat the patient.

Dr. Kim goes on to state the findings of this study demonstrate that depression can have a vital part in the way patients experience the symptoms of knee arthritis. Even though x-rays can show the arthritis is not severe, patients who have depression may report remarked pain.

The association between pain and depression implies that both should be taken into consideration by practitioners when treating patients with knee osteoarthritis, especially when x-rays do not reveal severe joint damage.

Dr. Kim also remarked that some patients with knee osteoarthritis still have pain and impaired movement even after they have had knee replacement surgery.

A study conducted last November had also revealed that patients who have knee osteoarthritis have pain in other joints which ends up with the knee pain becoming much worse.

There are alternative therapies in which can address depression and knee osteoarthritis from the same practitioner. Listed are a few of them.


Studies have shown that chiropractic manipulations have been demonstrated to improve range of motion, restore normal movement, relax muscles, improve joint coordination and significantly decrease pain.

Chiropractic care can also aide in decreasing symptoms of depression, sometimes results are seen quickly and there are times when results may take a little while to be noticed. Some patients fall into depression due to pain.

In studies conducted both large and small, many of the patients had displayed a subluxation meaning an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint or organ. Sometimes this happens due to a physical trauma other times it can be due to something else in the body. No matter what the cause there does appear to be a link between depression and lower back pain.

As far as the length of time for results depends on the person. In one study a patient had seen results with just eleven treatments. In another study it took the patient eleven months to see a dramatic improvement. Other studies results had averaged in the middle between the two studies.

There are two explanations available for this occurrence. One is when chiropractors relieve the pain the depression seems to end. The second reasoning is the chiropractors not only deal with issues of pain but also stress relief that aides the mind to relax to a degree where a patient is more able to cope with daily issues in their lives.

Studies appear to indicate that chiropractic services can go a long way in aiding patients coming to terms with their depression. No one stated it would cure depression but can immensely improve the depression.


Acupuncture is also a two fold alternative therapy system. Acupuncture can provide decreased levels of pain and just may also improve joint functioning. Some studies on acupuncture have demonstrated that its ability to decrease pain levels and restore joint functioning was equal to that of medications such as asproxicam.

Acupuncture has also demonstrate positive effects when it comes to depression. Once again studies have revealed it is as effective as anti-depressant medications.


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