Sugar can soothe knee pain

By Shayna Brouker • Published: August 29th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Knee pain just won’t let up? Pour some sugar on it. Or inject it, rather. Sugar has seemed to be the root of all health evils lately, but it’s winning in at least one arena. A new study found that injecting a sweet sugary solution into the knee can relieve knee pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis.

A study published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine tested the method, known as prolotherapy (Pro-Low-therapy), on 90 patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis. They were given sugar or saline solution or instructed to exercise at home. After a year, those given the sweet treatment reported less pain and improved knee function.

The therapy has been around for 75 years or so but hasn’t caught on in mainstream medicine. Science still hasn’t uncovered why sugar soothes osteoarthritis. One idea is that injections prompt a healing reaction.

Nearly 27 million Americans suffer from this most common form of arthritis, which is brought on by aggravating, high-impact physical activity like running and jumping. Cartilage cushioning your joints gradually wears away with overuse, causing bones to rub together. You can seek prolotherapy at your local clinic … but it typically isn’t covered by insurance.

If you want to augment sugar therapy, try adding glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to your diet. Also, low-impact exercise like walking and swimming have been proven to reduce pain by improving blood flow and nurturing cartilage. Not to mention, moving a little can help you manage your weight and take a load off your joints. For every 10 pounds you lose, you can decrease pain by 20 percent. Strength training can also help by building up muscle to absorb shock away from tendons.

A little extra sugar and T-L-C can get your joints jammin’ again.