If You Have Severe Knee Pain, It’s Likely Because of Nerves and Not Arthritis

By /

knee arthritis nerve pain

I’ve blogged before about our modern infatuation with imaging and about while MRI findings can be helpful, they can also mislead. In fact, I’ve blogged so much on this issue, you may want to take a look at the search of all blog posts on the topic of how MRI and pain often diverge. This is because pain is a phenomenon of nerves and not of structure. In fact, the title of a research study from 2010 says it all, “Arthritis doesn’t Cause Pain, Pain Causes Arthritis“. Huh? You mean nerves have something to do with arthritis? You bet. While 99.9% of the medical world is looking at MRI images with magnifying glasses, convinced that changes in structure like arthritis causes pain, high level research scientists are bringing into focus a new model – pain is a nerve problem that wrecks havoc on the body and causes arthritis. This is a big part of our Orthopedics 2.0 philosophy.  Now yet another study supports this concept that’s turning orthopedic theory on it’s head. In a study just published on September 7th, researchers looked at specialized nerve tests and x-ray findings in more than 100 knee arthritis patients. What did they find? They found two distinct groups of patients. Patients with severe pain had less arthritis on x-ray and more abnormal nerve tests and patients with more severe arthritis on x-rays had less pain and less findings on their nerve tests. Huh? Shouldn’t that be reversed? Not if pain and arthritis don’t have much to do with each other. How is this possible? When you feel pain, you feel it through nerves. Pain is therefore a nerve issue. Arthritis is a structural problem where the cartilage and bone begin to break down. We see patients all the time with severe arthritis on imaging who have little pain and we also see patients with severe pain who don’t have much arthritis. The upshot? In order for many patients with chronic knee pain to get better, they need an evaluation by a physician who understands that pain is a nerve thing and that knee arthritis nerve pain is cause related not result related. In addition, while pretty MRI images have some real value in some patients, they are not at all the final arbiter of why a patient’s knee hurts!

Surgery often doesn't address pain from arthritis. Get a Regenexx® Second Opinion and avoid unnecessary surgery.

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

Get Blog Updates by Email

By submitting the form, you are agreeing that you read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may also contact you via email, phone, and other electronic means to communicate information about our products and services. We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

Copyright © Regenexx 2021. All rights reserved.



9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021


*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.