Why Does Your Knee Hurt?
By Dr. Cynthia Clark, AP, CAN
Do you ever wonder when your heart’s going to give out? Imagine this: it’s a beautiful, sunny morning here in West Coast Florida. The sky is that particular color of blue with a few cotton candy-like clouds. The rains haven’t started yet. You can smell gardenia in the air, and it’s still early enough in the day for just the right temperature. You take a moment to be grateful that you live in paradise, and then you pull your bike out for a ride on Legacy Trail, one of the safest and most scenic biking routines in America.
And that’s when you feel it—a pain in your knee. In fact, that’s the reason you chose to bike in the first place because it’s low-impact and safer for your knees. The pain twinges as you turn to get the bike down, but not enough to deter you from a ride. You feel better when you exercise, so you ignore it and mount the bike. It’s such a beautiful day, after all!
What you might not know, however, is the latest research from Harvard Medical School, the Scientific World Journal and Cleveland Clinic show there is a direct connection between knee pain and cardiac health. There are many theories to explain this connection. For example, if you injure the knee, you could stop exercising and increase inflammation in your body, leading to heart issues. In addition, certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis that cause joint pain also can result in heart issues.
A more curious question is, why is that particular knee susceptible to injury in the first place? You have two knees, but often only one is injured. One theory is that the body chooses to protect the heart and shunts inflammation as far away from it as possible. This means that most inflammation is caught at your knees. This would help make sense of the British study which showed that women with knee pain were twice as likely to die early from any cause and three times as likely to die early from cardiac issues.
This was the case with one of my running clients. He experienced knee pain but was able to use self-care modalities to manage it. He didn’t realize the injury was also a sign of an issue with his heart. Runners and endurance cardio athletes are prone to enlarged hearts, so when we supported his heart and the other affected organs, his knees improved.
Bloodwork can show if you’ve already had a heart attack, and a stress test can show if you have problems with blood flow during exercise. It’s definitely not comprehensive, and regular exercise doesn’t guarantee that your ticker is functioning 100% as it should. You might recall the famous story of James Nixx, the athlete who popularized running in the 1970s and authored The Complete Book of Running. He also died of a heart attack at age 52 which shocked all of America. His fast-food diet and father’s heart attacks at 35, followed by death at 43, were later discovered, helping to complete the story.
Even endurance athletes are known to suffer heart attacks. It’s incredibly hard on their community when this happens, because they are all left wondering, why did this person who worked so hard to take such good care of themselves have to die like that, young and seemingly healthy? It is because their hearts were undernourished of the right nutrients.
How do I know this? Because for years I have used a specialized diagnostic technique and evaluated the cardiac health of every client who has walked into my clinic. This has included a broad spectrum of clients who range from sedentary retirees to in-training triathletes. While talking about heart function and health can be scary, it is treatable with safe natural effective means which make the whole body stronger, rather than lead to liver or kidney damage risks. By the best of Western and Eastern medicine working in tandem, it is possible to both evaluate and restore cardiac health.
I’m not just the president of Longevity Wellness Clinic (LWC)—I am also a client. I would not consider training for Ironman Florida without the excellent tools and resources at LWC. Do you find yourself not doing the activities you want to because you’re afraid of pain? I would love to help find and address the root causes of this.
Dr. Cynthia Clark, Acupuncture Physician and Applied Clinical Nutritionist, is an award-winning acupuncturist and nutritionist. She has helped hundreds of patients heal naturally from many ailments. As an engineer, she focuses on understanding how things work, from the human body to quantum mechanics. With her expertise in Chinese Medicine, she synthesizes multi-paradigm solutions from Functional and Eastern Medicines.