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Too Old for HRT # 3 Knees: Chiropractic VS Orthopedic



Welcome back to my blog, “Too Old for Hormone Therapy.”

A few of my clients and I were discussing the joys of aging in one of my support classes the other day, and we were laughing about how we're beginning to feel like late-model automobiles. One day, we wake up, and the bumper’s loose; the next, we wake up, and a hubcap has popped off! Our attention to the maintenance of our vehicles is becoming a priority in our daily lives, whether we like it or not!

 

In the past ten years, it has been chiefly my spine that has given me problems with pinched nerves, stenosis, and fractured vertebrae. Recently, since the end of April, I've been having on-and-off issues with my knees. I know some of this is because I've put on some of the weight I previously lost, but it seems that all my troubles have gone south from my back to my knees!

 

Just before my Regents’ Retreat in April, my right knee popped out of alignment while walking the dog. There was no extraordinary stress or strain; I just took a normal step, and my knee made two loud pops. I was standing in the middle of the street in pain, thinking, “Holy shit, what just happened!?” Four days of ibuprofen, ice, and rest put Humpty Dumpty back together, and I was off to the retreat. All Good.

 

A few weeks after the retreat, my left knee began to bother me. OY!

 

For the past year or so, when my daughter has been working as a flight attendant, I have been the official dog walker for her two-and-a-half-year-old golden doodle, Frodo, who is extremely high-energy. If we want to keep our sanity, not walking him is not an option.

But hey, I was walking the dog, and he was walking me! I was getting a brisk 45-minute walk, half uphill, half downhill, in the hills of Santa Clarita, so it worked out that we were both getting the exercise we needed.


Gradually, over about two weeks, my left knee became more achy and sore. I decided to go see the chiropractor because my scoliosis pulls my hips out of alignment, making one leg shorter than the other.  I thought, “Well, this must be the problem. My hips must be out of alignment; I'll get adjusted, which will help.”

 

Nope! There's another issue with my late-model vehicle. Because I now officially have osteopenia and former vertebrae fractures, the chiropractor won’t manually adjust my spine anymore. After discussing the problem, he noted that despite all the walking, the muscles of the inner and outer leg were losing strength, which was causing the issue. He gave me tortuous self-deep tissue massage exercises, icing, and ibuprofen instructions, and within 48 hours, I was feeling improvement.

 

Just to be on the safe side I decided to book an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. He looked at the X-rays and said, “Yup, you have arthritis in both knees.” (no kidding) “thinning cartilage and little bone growths are forming where two parts of your kneecap bones are hitting each other when you walk. Pick another exercise, like swimming.”  

 

Just before I started writing this blog, I jumped on Instagram. The scroll opened to Dr. Vonda Wright, the orthopedic surgeon I suggested you follow, who focuses on keeping women's bones strong as they age and the role of estrogen in women's bone health. She was talking about her knees. She, too, is having a problem with her left knee, and she thinks that she may have a meniscus tear! Isn't that a synchronicity? She discussed the difference between meniscus tear pain and arthritis pain. Very timely.

 

Before I left the Orthopedists, he prescribed Meloxicam 15 mg.

It’s an anti-inflammatory. I took one that evening before bed, and holy cow! I got up the next morning and felt 15 years younger. No pain anywhere!  I got a great night’s sleep because nothing hurt.

 

I’m back at the gym, strengthening the appropriate leg muscles to help my knees. I have a physical therapy appointment later in the month…maybe by that time, I won’t need it? I’m reducing my walking by 90 % while seeing how much healing I can accomplish. Though the Meloxicam helps, I don’t want to stay on it long-term. The fewer drugs, the better! I know from my thyroid issues that I have systemic inflammation. I hope diet changes and the HRT over time will help regulate my entire body and begin to diminish all inflammation.

 

Here's my weekly update on how I'm feeling and what's going on with the rest of my journey into bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. I'm just about at the end of the first month. My naturopathic physician tells me that it takes about three months for low-dose hormones like I am taking to begin to be noticeable, but I'm already feeling some effects. I have noticed that my emotions are coming closer to the surface.

 

It is normal at this stage of life to reassess your life, including all you did and didn’t do. There is natural grief in midlife. Having some sadness entwined with these thoughts is normal midlife manna.  However, I have noticed that in the past week or so (week 4 of HRT), thinking about my children when they were little, wishing I had more time with them now, or missing my parents —these types of thoughts— bring tears to the surface in an instant. It reminds me of the emotion that would build around PMS. The time of my cycle when I was just about to have my period, and emotions ran high. It makes sense because just before one’s period, estrogen levels drop and progesterone increases. In low-dose HRT, the levels of the hormones may be similar! I’ll have to research this.

 

Also, you may be happy to hear since my HRT treatment is applied vaginally, those tissues are feeling better, not so thin and tender, and there's increased natural lubrication.

Woo Hoo!

 

I hope you have a great weekend! Do something just for the fun of it: go out and play!

 

Namasté,

Dr. A

 

Here is another study I found in my research on the use of low-dose estrogen therapy for osteoporosis and bone health

 

“Estrogen therapy for osteoporosis in the modern era”

 


 

Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any HRT or supplements. Find a good doctor who will listen to you, and is trained in HRT or an OBGYN who is a menopause practitioner.


Remember, Midlife is much more than Menopause; it’s a triple transformation: physical, psychological, and spiritual.


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Medical Studies


Estrogen therapy for osteoporosis in the modern era


Use of menopausal hormone therapy beyond age 65 years and its effects on women's health outcomes by types, routes, and doses


Review of menopausal hormone therapy with estradiol and progesterone versus other estrogens and progestins


Progesterone for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in women



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