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Joint Replacement
Old 02-24-2014, 07:42 PM   #1
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Joint Replacement

Joint replacements are shaping up to be like the Hysterectomies debacle during the sixties and seventies. I don’t have any way to prove or disprove what the experts are saying. I can only tell two stories that convince me that both procedures are often unnecessary.

Old Man With A Bad Shoulder

I owned a small auto repair shop and knew most of my customers on a personal base. I had one customer that was in his eighties and would come to my store once a year to get his vehicle inspected. He only drove about a thousand miles a year. One day he came into where I was working and I could see right a way that he was hurting.
He was holding his right arm close to his body and his face grimaced with pain at every slight movement. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he was going to get a total shoulder replacement in a month. I questioned why he had to wait in pain for such a long time and he replied that the surgeon was booked up that far ahead. He gave me his keys and I gave them to the mechanic that was going to inspect his vehicle.
I had had problems with my knees and had found great relief after I started taking Glucosamine Chondroitin pills. I asked him if he had tried taking that for his shoulder and he said that he had never heard about it. He asked me to write it down and since his car was inspected, they left.
A year passed and I was again working when the same old gentleman came in and tossed an empty box on my desk. I was surprised and looked at the box and it was from Glucosamine Chondroitin pills.
I did not remember our conversation from the year before, so I guess I gave him a curious look. “Don’t you remember me?” he asked. I was starting to remember what I had told him and asked, “ Did it help?” He swung his right arm around several times like a softball pitcher. “Did you get the shoulder replacement?” I asked. “NO!” he shouted. He then told me what had transpired.
When he had left my shop the year before, he had stopped at Wal-Mart and purchased two bottles of the Glucosamine & Chondroitin. He started taking the supplement as suggested. After a week, he began noticing that he had some painless movement in the shoulder. It kept improving so much that after another week, he called the surgeons office to post pone the surgery. The surgeon got on the phone and became angry and told them that he could not postpone the surgery because it was too late to schedule anyone else in the time slot that he had set aside for him. When the old man heard that, he cancelled the operation. The doctor was screaming as he hung up the phone.
He continued taking the supplement and was almost completely back to normal within six months. He kept thanking me for telling him about the supplement.

Second Knee Replacement

Another customer came in using a walker. I started to talk to her as he car was being worked on. She told me that she had had one knee replaced two years prior and was scheduled to have the other replaced. She was dreading it and had postponed the procedure several times. She had not fully recovered from the first surgery and was dreading another. Her surgeon assured her that it was necessary.
Once again I asked her if she had ever used Glucosamine Chondroitin pills. She had not heard of them. I told her how they had helped me and also told her the story about the old man with the bad shoulder. She was very interested and left telling me that she was going to try.
At least two years passed and one day a car pulled up in front of the showroom and the lady that had used the walker the last time I had see her, bounded out of her car and came up the steps to my office.
“I need to give you a hug!” she said loudly. Once again I did not even remember who she was. I guess she noticed my curious look and said. “Don’t you remember?” I was in here a while back because of my bad knee?”. I remembered then and told her so. She then told me how she had purchased the Glucosamine Chondroitin pills after she had talked to me two years prior. It had taken about a month before she started noticing an improvement in her knee. Another month passed and she had quit using the walker. After two years she had no more pain in that knee but still had a pain in the knee that had the joint replaced.

I won’t say that all joint replacements are unnecessary. I have a friend that worked for a freight company all his life and when he retired his knees were so shot and he was so bowlegged that he could have straddled a gas pipeline and touched his heals underneath. His knee replacements were needed.
My experience is that he was the exception.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franco45 View Post
Joint replacements are shaping up to be like the Hysterectomies debacle during the sixties and seventies. I don’t have any way to prove or disprove what the experts are saying. I can only tell two stories that convince me that both procedures are often unnecessary.

Old Man With A Bad Shoulder

I owned a small auto repair shop and knew most of my customers on a personal base. I had one customer that was in his eighties and would come to my store once a year to get his vehicle inspected. He only drove about a thousand miles a year. One day he came into where I was working and I could see right a way that he was hurting.
He was holding his right arm close to his body and his face grimaced with pain at every slight movement. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he was going to get a total shoulder replacement in a month. I questioned why he had to wait in pain for such a long time and he replied that the surgeon was booked up that far ahead. He gave me his keys and I gave them to the mechanic that was going to inspect his vehicle.
I had had problems with my knees and had found great relief after I started taking Glucosamine Chondroitin pills. I asked him if he had tried taking that for his shoulder and he said that he had never heard about it. He asked me to write it down and since his car was inspected, they left.
A year passed and I was again working when the same old gentleman came in and tossed an empty box on my desk. I was surprised and looked at the box and it was from Glucosamine Chondroitin pills.
I did not remember our conversation from the year before, so I guess I gave him a curious look. “Don’t you remember me?” he asked. I was starting to remember what I had told him and asked, “ Did it help?” He swung his right arm around several times like a softball pitcher. “Did you get the shoulder replacement?” I asked. “NO!” he shouted. He then told me what had transpired.
When he had left my shop the year before, he had stopped at Wal-Mart and purchased two bottles of the Glucosamine & Chondroitin. He started taking the supplement as suggested. After a week, he began noticing that he had some painless movement in the shoulder. It kept improving so much that after another week, he called the surgeons office to post pone the surgery. The surgeon got on the phone and became angry and told them that he could not postpone the surgery because it was too late to schedule anyone else in the time slot that he had set aside for him. When the old man heard that, he cancelled the operation. The doctor was screaming as he hung up the phone.
He continued taking the supplement and was almost completely back to normal within six months. He kept thanking me for telling him about the supplement.

Second Knee Replacement

Another customer came in using a walker. I started to talk to her as he car was being worked on. She told me that she had had one knee replaced two years prior and was scheduled to have the other replaced. She was dreading it and had postponed the procedure several times. She had not fully recovered from the first surgery and was dreading another. Her surgeon assured her that it was necessary.
Once again I asked her if she had ever used Glucosamine Chondroitin pills. She had not heard of them. I told her how they had helped me and also told her the story about the old man with the bad shoulder. She was very interested and left telling me that she was going to try.
At least two years passed and one day a car pulled up in front of the showroom and the lady that had used the walker the last time I had see her, bounded out of her car and came up the steps to my office.
“I need to give you a hug!” she said loudly. Once again I did not even remember who she was. I guess she noticed my curious look and said. “Don’t you remember?” I was in here a while back because of my bad knee?”. I remembered then and told her so. She then told me how she had purchased the Glucosamine Chondroitin pills after she had talked to me two years prior. It had taken about a month before she started noticing an improvement in her knee. Another month passed and she had quit using the walker. After two years she had no more pain in that knee but still had a pain in the knee that had the joint replaced.

I won’t say that all joint replacements are unnecessary. I have a friend that worked for a freight company all his life and when he retired his knees were so shot and he was so bowlegged that he could have straddled a gas pipeline and touched his heals underneath. His knee replacements were needed.
My experience is that he was the exception.
WOW!
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:16 PM   #3
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Ah gee, from what I have read about knee replacements, you may be onto something. However, my total knee replacement, at age 52, totally changed my life. Bow-legged? Yep. Excruciating pain if I walked over 10 yards? yep. I told dr. i was using Glucosamine Chondroitin. (had to cut & paste because that is some serious spelling). Dr. suggested I double recommended dosage. Still no relief.

A year later, i opted for TKR. My only surgery, except for tonsillectomy at age 7. The recovery was awful....but what a difference it has made in quality of life! I can keep up with other folks. Before, it was such a drag---always looking for a bench.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:26 PM   #4
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Some glucosamine is made from shellfish covering. If you are allergic to shellfish watch out for this.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:26 AM   #5
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I have early onset osteoarthritis in both knees. Took Glucosamine Chondroitin for a couple of years. It made no perceptible difference, so I stopped taking it. My brother, who is 18 years older than me and with much more severe arthritis in his knees had the same experience.

I am 50, and the discomfort is mild at this point. I hope to not need knee surgery for quite a while but will not hesitate to go ahead with it if it looks as if it could help my quality of life at that point.
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:32 AM   #6
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I am 50, and the discomfort is mild at this point. I hope to not need knee surgery for quite a while but will not hesitate to go ahead with it if it looks as if it could help my quality of life at that point.
71 here......had arthroscopic surgery in 1998...(bone-on-bone osteoarthritis)...told by the surgeon that 'eventually' I'll need both knees replaced.....this was repeated by another surgeon in 2001......both said to put it off as long as possible.

Take glucosamine/chondroitin....no idea if it does any good, but I take it anyway.

Stopped running after the arthroscopy......always 'aware' of my knees, but rarely in pain, per se.......able, (sometimes with a tensor bandage), to go stair climbing when the weather's conducive, and work out daily on the elliptical......(ran a marathon, wearing tensor bandages, in 1984...so the situation has existed for decades).

Perhaps my knees will outlive me.............I'm in no hurry to get replacements........good luck to you!
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:02 AM   #7
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Randomized, controlled studies of GC (the gold standard experiments) show no more effect than placebo. Your point may still be valid. The two people you mentioned seem not to have needed surgery. Placebo treatment was sufficient. I had a similar experience. My right knee swelled up to the point where I could hardly walk. Lasted about a week and started to subside. A neighbor who is an orthopedist came by for dinner and noticed my still red and swollen knee (I was wearing shorts). He insisted that I come in to his office for a MRI which I did. He showed me a little line on the chart that indicated I had a patella tendon tear (or something like that -- the same thing Bill Clinton had just been operated on for). The doc told me that since the acute episode was passing I could let it go but should expect the problem to recur and I would eventually need surgery. About six month later the problem did recur -- but in the other knee! I took myself to another orthopedist who took one look and said "gout." I had long had gout flare ups in my toe but didn't realize it could move up. I have been on allopurinol for the decade since and have never had a problem with either knee. My conclusion is that these things are hard to diagnose. My neighbor was a great guy (albeit a bit myopic since he didn't check my gout history) and I am sure that something was showing up on my MRI - it just wasn't causing my problem. That said, a lot of people have clear cut damage that will not resolve spontaneously (or with a placebo) and artificial joints, reparative surgery, etc. may do wonders. Take your time (if you can), get second opinions, research for yourself.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
I have early onset osteoarthritis in both knees. Took Glucosamine Chondroitin for a couple of years. It made no perceptible difference, so I stopped taking it. My brother, who is 18 years older than me and with much more severe arthritis in his knees had the same experience.

I am 50, and the discomfort is mild at this point. I hope to not need knee surgery for quite a while but will not hesitate to go ahead with it if it looks as if it could help my quality of life at that point.

Same age and very minor discomfort level as you, Tom, and had the same result with the G/C as you had. As others mentioned studies do not show effectiveness, yet it still gets trotted out as a benefit. Not the cheapest supplement to take that is a waste of money. Though, I guess like anything, if there is perceived help, it's worth the cost.
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