Knee pain, especially in the old age, is a near certain ailment, and millions are desperate for a treatment. For people who are looking for a much more stable form of treatment than popping pain killers, one is right around the corner.
Medically referred to as osteoarthritis, knee pain is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage that lines and cushions joints becomes rougher and thinner, usually as a result of wear and tear. The bone then tries to compensate by thickening and creating growths, or spurs. In simpler words, as the padding reduces, the bones tries to fill the void left behind. Needless to say, when bones grind, they cause pain, and joints stiffen and get inflamed when the body sends in cells to “repair” the damage.
Owing to the fact that the knees are constantly used as compared to any other joint, they are first ones to be affected. By recent estimates, one in five adults over 45 suffers from osteoarthritic knee pain, albeit in varying intensity.
Pain killers merely kill the sensation of pain, but don’t address the root cause. In other words, the symptoms are controlled to some degree, but they don’t stop or reverse the damage. More severe and invasive treatments involve Micro-fracture surgery – using a drill or pick to make holes in the bone surfaces to encourage new cartilage to grow, but for those who can afford it, an artificial joint replacement remains the only reliable option.
Fortunately, a new form of treatment is already in the final stages of trial and may involve simple injections that deliver a drug. These injections are to be administered directly to the knee joint and hence could have minimal side-effects, if any.
The injections being developed are based on antibodies extracted from the basic immune system of the human body. Though, the drug doesn’t promote cartilage growth or reverse years of wear and tear, the injection works on two critical components that are responsible for worsening of knee pain. One of the culprits is a compound called Interleukin-1 or IL-1, and the other is cytokine, a chemical messenger for the immune system, reported Express.
IL-1 gathers around joints upon impact or as a result of day-to-day wear and tear, causing inflammation and harming the cartilage in the process. It has also believed that IL-1 is involved in increasing the “perception of pain.” The new drug, labeled as ABT-981, works on blocking the harmful cytokine as a result of which IL-1 doesn’t form in the extensive quantities that it did earlier.
While these drugs could take about a year to be made available, medical researchers have developed a new knee-warmer treatment which involves a needle being inserted into the joint, reported Daily Mail. This needle delivers radiofrequency to heat the surrounding region by about 7 degrees. This simply interferes with the pain signals and patients have been reporting positive results.
[Image Credit | Your Sports Therapist]