Knee Pain Causes and Treatments

The knee is the largest joint in the human body, and almost certainly one of the most complex. The joint acts as a hinge and enables rotating movements between the upper and lower leg. This allows the lower leg to not only bend back and forth, for walking, but also for the lower leg and foot to rotate up toward the upper leg, such as when sitting cross-legged. The knee joint also must be fairly flexible, to allow us to walk and bend our knees, yet also be very stable because it must bear the weight of the entire body when standing up. Unfortunately, this can make the knee susceptible to injury, which results in a great deal of pain.

Causes of Knee Pain

Many patients see their regular doctors due to some type of knee pain. Such pain is most often the result of excessive stress or load being placed on the knee joint, which is why a high proportion of knee pain is due to sports injuries. More than half of all athletes (whether elite or weekend warriors) will suffer some form of knee pain in a given year.

Some of the most common knee injuries that can lead to pain include sprained ligaments, tendonitis (inflamed tendons around the knee joint), dislocated patella (knee cap) or meniscus (cartilage) tears. Knee pain may also develop as a result of bursitis, in which the bursa (a sac of fluid overlying the knee) becomes irritated or swollen as a result of repetitive kneeling or bending.

Certain illnesses may also cause knee pain. Osteoarthritis is perhaps the most common, particularly in patients over the age of 50. Rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to knee pain. Obesity can also put an excessive load on the knees, which may result in pain.

Treatments for Knee Pain

The standard at-home treatment for mild knee pain and swelling is best remembered by the abbreviation RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. In some cases, patients may also take over-the-counter painkillers. A visit to the regular doctor may involve other treatments, such as physical therapy, prescription painkillers, knee immobilization, or even surgery for severe cases.

When patients come to see Dr. Nathen Horst about their knee pain, they may notice that he will use some of the same treatments as their regular doctors. These will include physical therapy and immobilization of the knee. However, the chiropractic adjustment is what sets Dr. Horst’s treatment apart from a regular doctor. The basic theory behind chiropractic care is that the various joints of the body can slip out of proper alignment. When this happens, nerves leading to or from the joint and surrounding tendons and ligaments may be compressed, leading to pain.

The chiropractic adjustment will ease the joint back into proper alignment, thereby relieving pressure on the nerves and stopping pain signals. This adjustment can be done either with the hands or a special, spring-loaded hand-held device. Dr. Horst may also use a special table with various hinged sections that he will lower at the same time as he does the adjustment. This allows gravity to assist in moving the joint into proper alignment.

Knee pain can be frustrating, as simple tasks such as bending or walking can be quite painful. However, there is no reason for patients to sit on the sidelines due to knee pain. Chiropractic care can not only provide immediate relief, but may also help protect against further damage to the knee.

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