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If the pain doesnt reflect the anatomical problem, how can your doctor know whats behind it? It starts with a good history and a physical examination, Dr. Murray says. Certain clues can point a diagnosis away from the knees and toward the hips. If the knee has good range of motion and no tenderness but the hip has poor range of motion, then youre tipped off that maybe this is somebody who has a hip problem and not a knee problem, says Dr. Murray. An X-ray should confirm the diagnosis by revealing joint erosion and cartilage loss in the hip and intact joints in the knees.

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Theres no conclusive evidence to guide a decision about glucosamine and chondroitin. The GAIT study did find that they are not harmful, and many people choose to try them. The dosages in the GAIT study were 1,500 mg a day of glucosamine and 1,200 mg a day of chondroitin. Dr. Husni tells her patients to try it for three months. If you dont notice a difference in symptoms such as pain or stiffness, dont waste your money, she says.

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Posture can be difficult to correct. If you always hold your head slightly forward or hunch over, youre putting added stress on the joints and disks in the upper spine. But because your body has become accustomed to this position, it can feel strange to straighten up into correct posture. However, maintaining good posture becomes easier the longer you do it.

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For people with osteoarthritis in the shoulder, the wearing down of cartilage at the joint over time causes pain and stiffness. If oral medications fail to adequately ease pain, the next step often is corticosteroid injections into the joint to reduce inflammation. These can help many people with shoulder arthritis. But over time, they can become less effective.

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Most backaches result from pulling a muscle (strain) or overstretching a ligament (sprain). You may lift something too heavy or otherwise overextend yourself, which can stretch or tear a muscle or ligament. You may feel just a twinge or tightness at first. But later, when doing something seemingly simple, like bending over to pick something up, muscles in your back can spasm, causing severe pain and difficulty moving.

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Download The Full Issue PDF

Download The Full Issue PDF

Download The Full Issue PDF