Knee pain is a common complaint which can affect adults and children. It can be the result of overuse, injuries, ruptured ligament, tendinitis, bursitis, torn cartilage or arthritis. Dislocation of the joint or knee cap are also among other causes of knee pain.
Increased risk of knee pain are, being over weight, foot problems (e.g. flat feet), reduced muscle flexibility and strength, sports or activities that put greater stress on the knees and history of past knee injuries.
Symptoms of Knee Pain
Depending on the location and severity of the knee pain, symptoms may include; swelling, stiffness, redness and inflammation, weakness and instability, popping or crunching noises and inability to fully straighten or flex the knee.
Treatment of Knee Pain
Minor knee injuries relating to muscle strain will usually resolve with some rest and home care. Knee pains related to osteoarthritis can result in progressive joint damage, disability and increasing pain and stiffness. Conventional medical treatment includes; pain relief medication, exercises and training to improve muscle and joint function, arch supports, steroid and lubricant injections and surgery.
Integrative & Complementary medicine
Complementary therapy treatment for knee pain is more suitable for muscular strain, tension or weakness, and arthritis related pain.
Acupuncture is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of pain. It is a drug-free alternative option and over a period of time more effective for longer term management. Acupuncture stimulates muscles, nerves and other local tissue to release endorphins and other neurohumoral factors changing the way pain is perceived by the brain and spinal cord, thus reducing pain symptoms. Additionally, it reduces inflammation by releasing vascular and immunomodulating factors, as well as enhances micro blood circulation which helps to disperse inflammatory products.
Nutrition: Obesity aggravates the stress on the knees and makes a huge difference to recovery and mobility. Good nutrition is important when managing any kind of pain. Bones, muscles, ligaments and other structures in the spine need good level of nutrients to keep them strong and functioning well. This includes; calcium, vitamin A, B, C, D, iron and magnesium. In addition, glucosamine and chondroitin may be effective in relieving osteoarthritic pain.
Aromatherapy & Massage is very effective if the knee pain is due to osteoarthritis, muscular tension, fatigue or spasm. Regular massage will help to keep the muscles relaxed and disperse products of inflammation. Many of the essential oils help to reduce pain symptoms, e.g. lavender, marjoram, rosemary and eucalyptus.
Other therapy: Exercise, qi gong, yoga, heat therapy and relaxation techniques can be very useful to reduce pain symptoms. Herbal treatments with anti-inflammatory supplements such as devil’s claw and white willow bark have shown to be effective in symptom management. Other self-management measures include stretching and changes in activities that contribute to the knee pain.