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Fake Knee Surgery

If you are told that you need surgery to relieve knee pain, maybe consider a gentle yoga class instead! And here's why!!

I have only just come across these studies which have shown that people having knee surgery have the same outcome as people who have had fake knee surgery. An example is the study published in 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine ( where people were recommended for surgery due to a degenerative meniscal tear. It sounds a little strange but people who took part in this study went in for knee surgery knowing that they might or might not have the actual surgery. They would need to be anaesthetised (usually an epidural) and watch whilst the surgeon either genuinely performed the surgery or simply went through the motions. The surgeon would have to make an incision in both cases so everyone would leave with some stitches in the knee.

Then everyone was told to get moving as soon as possible to help the recovery. The study followed up on the patients 12 months later and found no difference in outcomes for either group.

I am not proposing that you should never have surgery to solve joint problems in backs, hips or knees. There does come a point when that is the only option. I believe these studies show us that our bodies need regular movement in all our joints and muscles. But damage and injury often occur when we are moving in a way our bodies are not designed to move. And we are all guilty of that. We don't stand properly; we don't sit upright; we don't walk the way our bodies are designed to walk.

And this is where a good yoga class comes in. Yoga can be defined as a journey of self-discovery. Through a regular practice, you learn how your body is at this moment - the good bits and the not so good bits. Once you are aware of them, you can push the reset button and reprogramme your whole body. The benefits for your whole well being are many - better digestion, better breathing, calmer mind etc. It doesn't mean, though, that things won't go wrong. But when they do, I have found from my own experience that yoga is a great way to help the body heal and get moving again. And so have many of my students.

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