Chiropractic Patients Have Better Knees

Chiropractic care and massage therapy was tied to better knee function in patients with knee osteoarthritis in a recent study.

The prevalence of arthritis is growing by nearly 1 million every year, according to a CDC report. An increasingly obese and arthritic population has also contributed to a rise in total knee replacement surgeries in younger patients. These younger patients may require new knee replacements within 5-10 years of their original surgery with more complications arising with each additional operation due to bone loss. Fortunately, there are non-invasive options for knee osteoarthritis that do not involve the risks and costs of surgery.

A recent study, published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics, found that patients who received either massage therapy or chiropractic care had better knee function compared to patients not seeing a chiropractor or massage therapist.

The study included an analysis of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in 1,121 adults with knee osteoarthritis. Researchers found:

  • Almost one third of older adults used CAM therapies
  • People with more stiffness and severe knee pain were more likely to seek CAM therapies
  • Adults over the age of 75 were more likely use dietary supplements than adults between the ages of 65-75 years
  • 18% used glucosamine and chondroitin in addition to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

These findings add to earlier research showing the benefits of non-invasive treatments for osteoarthritis. A 2008 study demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments improved mobility and decreased clicking and grinding sensations among people with knee osteoarthritis. Another study published last year showed that regular exercise plus physical therapy was as effective as surgery for knee OA. The benefits of exercise and chiropractic also extend to patients with hip osteoarthritis.


Levine B. 8 key facts about knee replacement surgery. AARP. March 1, 2011.

Pollard H, Ward G, Hoskins W, and Hardy K. The effect of a manual therapy knee protocol on osteoarthritic knee pain: a randomised controlled trial. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2008; 52(4):229-42.

Yang S, et al. Longitudinal use of complementary and alternative medicine among older adults with radiographic knee osteoarthritis. Clinical Therapuetics. 2013;35(11):1690-702. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2013.09.022