Many people experience knee pain and discomfort on a regular basis. This discomfort may be attributed to old injuries, genetic predisposition, physical condition and weight, or arthritis and degeneration.
Whatever the attribution, a large percentage of the population lives with chronic, constant discomfort in one or both knees. To deal with this discomfort, many people turn to prescription or over-the-counter pain medication daily to alleviate some of their symptoms. As a result, the condition of the knees may tend to worsen, and pain and discomfort levels often become increasingly unpleasant when pain medication is not being taken. When relying on pain medication to dull discomfort and pain in the knees and other parts of the body, individuals often fail to notice when the condition of their bones, joints, and tissues have deteriorated further.
A Note on Pain Medication
One of the primary purposes of pain medication—whether over-the-counter or prescription—is to dull pain associated with the symptoms of imbalance in the body. With regard to knee pain, if an individual is unaware of the wide variety of interventions available to treat their discomfort, they may come to rely on pain medication exclusively to make day-to-day living and physical activity more tolerable. While continued living with masked knee pain can worsen the condition over time, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility that chiropractic care can significantly reduce or eliminate discomfort in the knee. If you’ve been living with chronic knee pain, joint pain, weakness, sensitivity or unreliability for an extended period of time with the help of pain medication, you may still experience noticeable reduction in pain and discomfort as a result of expert chiropractic care.
What causes knee pain?
One of the most common causes of knee pain is injury—in particular, injury that was not allowed sufficient time for recovery. This can be seen in athletes or individuals who are physically active, as well as those who have experienced injury as the result of accidents, i.e., collisions, work accidents, physical strain, poor workplace ergonomics, etc. When the knee is injured, it can be damaged in several ways: small fractures can occur around the knee, the knee may become dislocated, sprained, there may be tears to the soft tissue surrounding the joints, and ligaments can be damaged. Even after the proposed recovery time, there may still be residual symptoms of abnormal functioning or imbalance in the knee. The knee can lock up, suddenly become weak, click or pop loudly when climbing stairs or engaging in certain movements, or experiencing aching, throbbing, or temperature-related (hot/cold) pain sensations.
Not all knee pain is caused by injury, however. In many cases, what can be a relatively benign “triggering incident,” such as a cold stretch or a routine walk can seem to create injury in a knee/knees, when in reality, the knee was already degenerating invisibly. Knee degeneration can be the result of a genetic predisposition, age-related osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and septic arthritis. Knee degeneration can also occur as the result of added pressure on the joints from weight, or from a lifestyle or routine activity that requires frequent bending, squatting, and strain on the joints. Even sedentary lifestyles can contribute to knee degeneration as muscles surrounding the knee may lose strength over time, placing unnecessary strain on the joints when movement does occur.
There are several forms of arthritis that can manifest in the knee joint, each with similar effects. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective tissue of the knee joints wears away, leaving bones to create friction against one another in areas in which they normally wouldn’t. This can result in discomfort and pain depending on the stage: when minor, there is little pain in the area. When osteoarthritis becomes mild, moderate, or severe, pain can increase exponentially depending on the level of severity. For some individuals with severe cases of osteoarthritis, surgical intervention may provide the highest level of pain relief and mobility to the affected knee. For others with less severe cases, however, chiropractic care may provide significant relief and even postpone or eliminate the need for surgery.
For individuals with inflammation-inducing arthritis in their knees, i.e, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis, chiropractic care is still a valuable intervention, but may manifest differently. While chiropractors are best known for moving bones and joints, bone and joint movement may not be an ideal intervention for inflammatory conditions that may be creating bone fusion. Fused in the bones and joints can occur throughout the body as a result of inflammatory arthritic conditions, and as such, treatments like adjustments and spinal traction may not be optimal interventions for these conditions. Instead, an expert chiropractor may prefer to utilize ultrasound, electrotherapy, and laser or infrared therapy in these instances.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help to Resolve Knee Pain
When treating knee pain, an expert chiropractor will first determine the origin of the pain. This means that a series of analyses may be executed including x-rays, digital imaging, and a verbal assessment. To fully understand the source of knee pain, lifestyle factors must also be accounted for. Previous medical diagnoses, which may include some form of arthritis or other degenerative disease, will also be included in the comprehensive understanding when forming a treatment plan.
Once there is a complete understanding of the origin of the knee pain, your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that is designed to support your knee health and reduce or eliminate any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing. The treatment may vary and is highly dependent on the cause of the pain, but it may include manual adjustment or an indirect treatment to help reduce inflammation promote healing and recovery.
If you’re experiencing chronic or acute knee pain, whether the origin is presently known or unknown, chiropractic care can assist in supporting healing and easing pain and discomfort. Find a chiropractor to begin the journey toward comfort and mobility today.