Knee Pain is a common symptom in people of all ages. It may start suddenly, often after an injury or exercise, or it may start as a mild pain, gradually increasing and getting worse over time.
Let's focus for a moment on the pain which starts off gradually and feels worse with time and as we climb stairs, or after we have been sitting for a long period of time and then stand up, and makes squatting virtually impossible.
Sometimes patients I treat say to me: "It's just old age" or simply " I have learnt to live with the pain". These are not really an acceptable solution to the problem. The pain is telling you that some damage is being done to the area and therefore in this case, the saying of "no pain, no gain" is incorrect. I would tend to make it right by saying "gain is to be out of pain" and permanently.
Let's take a look at some of the most updated non-surgical solutions and answers for pain in the knees and more particularly osteoarthritis of the knee.
Knee Pain Prevention (especially if you have had previous knee injuries)
Exercising in water- thus taking the weight off the joint. This allows the muscle to work in a gravity free environment with no impact on the knee and allows the circulation to pump vigorously through the active muscles again.
Walking on a level surface- Any angle adds pressure on the knees delicate cartilage, which over time will begin to wear down. Downhill is actually worse than uphill. Stairs are also tough on the knees.
Avoid stressful positions for the knees- deep knee bends; lunges and squatting are all really hard on the knee joints.
Avoid over-exercising the knee- too much of any one exercise can be a bad thing and add to the repetitive strain on the joints
Avoid High Impact Exercise on the Knee
Correct footwear is important- closed shoes, with proper arch support are essential if you are walking any distance. Also thick cushioning on the soles can really help to act as an extra shock absorber. Remember barefoot is a big no-no on hard surfaces, including indoors, so try to wear indoor sandals with the appropriate arch support waiting for you when you get home so you can exchange your shoes at the door.
Take Supplements for example glucosamine, chondroitin and omega 3. The ability of the body to rebuild and repair cartilage significantly declines already after the age of 40, therefore people need to give the body a bit of a boost with supplementation.
Maintain your muscle strength- doing the correct low impact exercises can go a long way in protecting the knee joint.
Lose excess weight- carrying any extra weight can also be a major contributing factor to the overload and breakdown of the joint.
Early Knee Pain Busters
Get it checked out by a chiropractor or physiotherapist - They will advise you as to what to do to next, this is especially true if it has continued to be a problem, despite 3 days of home care. In this case it may be something more complex so get it checked out.
Rest- Do not force yourself to keep doing activity even when your knees are painful. The pain is telling you that there is damage being done or has already been done to the knee. It needs time to repair.
Place a pillow under the knees - Keeping the knees supported and bent, when lying on your back or reclining, will take some of the pressure off of them.
Ice- The ice creates a flushing effect on the inflammation and swelling in the area. Don't leave it on longer than 10 minutes and always use a thin towel on the skin to protect from frostbite.
Gentle massage- keeping the circulation flowing is important to a stagnant and inflamed knee but make sure that the massage therapist is well trained and know what they are doing.
Increased dosage of Supplements - such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Omega 3 and even some Magnesium. As already mentioned before, these are important and can help in the early stages of osteoarthritis and have been proven to be of some benefit in the repair process. However these must be taken consistently to see good results.
Anti-inflammatory Diet- Many vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids, like broccoli and fish, are very good for fighting inflammation in your joints. Tumeric, Pineapple juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger all are great natural anti inflammatory options. It also is worth to address here the worst food for inflammation: sugar! That's not a big shock, but it's very difficult to give up sugar most of the time.
Stretching- the muscles which surround the knee are generally tight and become slightly dysfunctional as soon as they are forced to work too hard.The solution for this is to press the reset button and get them back to default. This reset button is stretching.
LONG TERM KNEE PAIN AND OSTEOARTHRITIS SOLUTIONS
Laser Therapy: this gentle painless technique increases the healing rate dramatically and helps to flush out the inflammation
Repositioning Knee Bracing - This is the single most powerful device which can change the entire angle of the knee joint thus reducing the pressure on the joint. Sometimes, even when the joint is so worn that a knee replacement has been offered to you, this may be a very exciting alternative. The customised knee brace has the ability to get right to the source and remove the pain causing factor. The research and development for this brace is so strong and now we can confirm that we alone have had over 5000 fantastic success story cases for this brace, many of whom, would have needed knee surgery, if it were not for the brace.
Strengthening - Having a physiotherapist or chiropractor, guide you through the strengthening process is a huge advantage because they will know which muscles are too tight and which ones need to be strengthened. Also they will give you the right techniques to safely achieve this.
Swiss Dolorclast Shockwave- This is very effective for pain relief. It is used for increased healing and also helps to smooth out the bone edges where there are spurs and scar tissue.
Once the joint is in a better position and alignment then a few more options are available too; like Stem Cells, Hyaluronic acid and PRP injections. However, if the position of the knee joint is not changed using the above methods, the effects of these type of injections will not be long lasting.
So now the good news there is no need to suffer when there are so many really effective treatment options available. Set up an appointment to discover which of these options suit you and your condition.
Please ask us questions! That's why we here.
This 2 page Article by Dr Sam Hunter Originally Appeared in Essenze Magazine