Did you know that there are at least 26 DIY knee pain treatments you can easily do at home? Why should you take care of your knees, rather than someone else? Well, first of all, we empower ourselves when we take responsibility for our own well being. The fact is, no one knows better than ourselves what is going on with our bodies second by second and minute by minute than we do. By cultivating mindfulness, we are in a much better position to make adjustments and changed.
At this moment, what position are you sitting in, slouching our sitting up straight? Or maybe lying down. A few nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with my left knee aching. It was in a funny half twisted position. That’s an example. Another way too common example of self care is eating. Mindless eating leads to weight gain which leads to more pressure on your joints.
Fact is, obese people are much more likely to have knee problems than those of normal weight. Eating healthy foods in moderation is the first step to better health. Another example is sports. They always say, “No pain—no gain”, however, such heroics can lead to strains or long term injury. Knowing the difference between safe pain and unsafe pain is the key point.
“I have to Treat Pain in My Knees… But How?”
Getting down to the issue of taking care of your knees, if there is some problem, what’s interesting is how different people view the problem, and more to the point, the solution.
Have you ever heard of the story about the 5 men telling each other what they were holding onto?
As reported in Wikipedia:
“A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said “This being is like a thick snake”.
“For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, “elephant is a wall”. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.”
People tend to cling to ideas of what something is, and often, they base their solution on their limited idea. In this particular case, the ‘elephant’ is “the cure for knee problems”.
In 1982 an MIT professor attributed an instance of the saying to [the famous psychologist] Maslow as reported in the “New York Times”: 13
“Abraham Maslow once said that to him who has only a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail,” said Joseph Weizenbaum, a professor of computer science at M.I.T.
So what does this have to do with knee pain and taking care of your knees?
The fact is that knees are pretty complex, with many different kind of tissues, such as bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and things can go wrong with any of them. That also means that there are various ways to treat knee problems.
But the thing is, that many professionals or companies have one product to sell, which they may well portray as “The Magic Bullet”. Surgeons often see surgery as the solution to knee problems, and yet, studies also show that going to two different physicians will yield two different diagnoses, not to mention cures or solutions.
Lack of Objective Advice
Depending on who you talk to, you may well get totally different advice. Here is my own life experience as an example.
The first time I tore my knee cartilage, I was sitting on a bus, the bus lurched, I felt a twinge in my knee, and soon, I was hobbling around, and my knee was swollen. At the time, in 1984, the only solution I knew of was surgery, so the doctor removed a quarter of my meniscus.
Thirty years later, I was sitting crosslegged and felt a twinge in my knee, which I probably aggravated by going to a too strenuous yoga class a week later. I was still walking around, but the pain was bad. An MRI revealed that the meniscus had fractured further, and that the cartilage in my knee was frayed. That’s just what it felt like, kind of like gravel or sandpaper in my knee joint, not the nice smooth feeling we should have.
So I got surgery a second time. The doc said, “This will last about 5 years, you won’t need a knee replacement now”. Which sounded like a prediction that I didn’t want fulfilled. Let’s face it. Surgery sucks.
Two years later, I was doing ok, riding my bicycle around town, which is both fun and good exercise for the knee joint.
Unless some stupid motorcycle driver rides right into your knee, which is what happened.
They took me to the hospital, X-ray showed no broken bones but I couldn’t walk for three weeks, nor put any weight on it. An orthopedist did a check and said he thought it was a pulled ACL, the interior ligament in the knee. Fortunately though, not torn, which would have shown a lot of swelling. Not to mention the possibility of reconstructive surgery.
He recommended some medicine that sounded like it had more side effects than I want to risk.
What to do? I went to another doctor, and told him I wanted to see the physical therapist on hand at the hospital.
Get a Second Medical Opinion and Trust Your Judgment
She gave a completely different diagnosis than the first doctor. Basically a muscle and ligament strain but not so serious. She proceeded to treat me in not one or two, but 4 different ways! Moist heat, cold, Ultrasound, and TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.
She also gave me some specific physical exercises that I could do.
The treatments definitely helped, but also opened my eyes to the fact that, to mix metaphors about elephants and hammers, ‘There is more than one way to skin a cat’.
So here is a list of different ways of treating sore knees yourself:
- NSAID medicine, prescription or non presciption
- Herbal remedies (Eg. Turmeric, Ginger, Pepper)
- Exercise/self physical therapy
- weight training with machines
- weight training without machines
- Get the right kind of shoes
- Maintain healthy weight
- Knee braces
- magnetic tourmaline, copper, bamboo,etc
- Compression Knee sleeves (various types as in knee braces)
- Knee straps
- Velcro secured knee wraps
- Gel knee braces
- Knee pads
- Joint supplement tablets/capsules
- vitamins, minerals, herbs
- Pain treatment machines
- Cold laser
- infrared heat pad and pen,
- infrared heat lamp
- ultrasound therapy
- TENS, EMS, ICT, PENS
- Self Massage
- Topical Ointments and salves
- Tiger Balm
- magnesium oil
- Analgesic sprays, patches
- Foods–proper diet choices
- adequate fiber
- anti-inflammatory foods, fruits vegetables
- avoid sugary, processed junk food, alcohol
- Magnetic therapy
- Acupressure, self applied
- Stop smoking
- Reduce daily life stress through relaxation, meditation,
Making sense of your choices
Nowadays, we get thousands of ads of all kinds. However, much of the time, we don’t know where to look. The purpose of this report is to SAVE YOU TIME. Based on my own experience as a knee pain sufferer, I did many hundreds of hours of research of several years and came up with a list of things you yourself can do to treat your knees. As the list above shows, you have a lot of choices!
My purpose is not to diagnose. That is the role for a medical professional. But the fact is that there is a lot you can do to help yourself, if you have good information. Not every one of these treatments will work for you, and that is certainly not what I suggest. What this does do, is give you some resources to check on your own.
So let’s dive in to this list of things you can do.
We are not talking about making sushi here. These are the most basic things you can do when you feel soreness or swelling.
It may seem obvious, but many of us diehard athletes think we can push through the pain. Trust your body! You are feeling pain, soreness, aching, and so on for a reason. There is a time to be a hero and a time to act wisely. Know when to stop and take a rest, either in a workout, running, or other activity. Or a longer period. Even several days or a week if necessary. If the problem still hasn’t gone away, you probably ought to seek professional help.
Soreness, pain and discomfort is often the result of inflammation. The body tissue are reacting to a stressor. Applying ice can reduce inflammation since it is Cold, obviously. You can use ice in a plastic bag, wrapped in cloth. Or you can get gel wraps that you keep in the freezer.
Compress the Knee Using a Bandage or Sleeve. Doing so will help minimize the amount of swelling caused to the knee. You can either use a bandage or sleeve to compress the knee. These are typically sold online and at drug stores. The compression may also help with support and sometimes helps with knee pain and stiffness.
Elevation can relieve swelling, and allow fluids to drain out of the area, which can then help with circulation
Oh, and as a bonus…………………heat. Yup, heat also works to warm up the joint surrounding the sore area, which encourages circulation. So the idea is to alternate cold pack with warm moist heating pad, or warm towel.
NSAIDs, either prescription or non prescription
NSAID stands for Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. Some examples are Ibuprofen, usually sold by prescription. Common non prescription NSAID’s are aspirin, Aleve, Excedrin. Some of the more powerful ones have potentially serious side effects, such as stroke. So use with caution, and talk to a doctor about them if using for an extended period of time.
There are traditional medicinal practices used both in the West and in the East, such as Naturopathy and Homeopathy in the West, and in the East, Indian Ayurvedic medicine, or Chinese Traditional Medicine. These represent up to 5000 years of wisdom passed down through the ages. In fact, many modern medicines are derived from plants. The big drug companies tweak them, patent them and then sell for a huge profit, when herbal remedies may work just as well. Examples are Turmeric, Pepper, Ginger, just to name three. Obviously, a full list and discussion is beyond the scope of this report. But the point is, that there are a lot of choices besides the expensive and possibly dangerous prescription drug route.
Exercise and Self Physical Therapy
Yoga has been used for centuries for developing calmness, flexibility and concentration. It can help relax and strengthen muscles and increase circulation to joints. There are many yoga courses both online and in classes.
- Physical Therapy Exercises
If you have joint and specifically knee problems, a physical therapist may be able to help. While they have certain types of machines and other office treatments, a good physical therapist can recommend the right kinds of exercises for you to strengthen and help heal your knee, while avoiding exercises or behaviors which aggravate it.
- Weight Training Exercise at the Gym
Going to a gym is a great way to build overall body strength. Gyms have special machines to focus on specific areas, such as your knees. You can also use the services of a personal trainer, who may suggest things you can do to help your knees.
- Home exercises with minimal equipment
If you don’t want to pay for a gym, you can do many knee strengthening exercises, such as yoga and strength building exercises using simple weights or even just your own body weight and a few homemade items. For example, doing leg raises with a bucket on your ankle adds weight. Even using a wall to do certain kinds of exercises can work. There are many home exercises you can try if you do a little research on the Net.
Get the Right Kind of Shoes
The problem with knees is that if the meniscus and cartilage, the natural shock absorbers, can wear out, meaning there is nothing to absorb the shock of thigh and lower leg bones hitting each other, causing pain. That’s why getting shoes with good shock absorbency can help compensate. Shoes with leather soles generally don’t have that, but there are good comfortable shoes, and even orthopaedic shoes specifically designed to support your knees.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Did you know that every pound of extra weight you have is equal to 4 pounds on your knees! That’s because the weight of your body is concentrated on the smaller area of your knee joint, unlike joints in your upper body. Weight has become a big problem nowadays.
We are constantly bombarded with advertisements telling us to eat junk food, fast food, chemically loaded food, with lots of artificial ingredients, and too many carbohydrates, when we should be eating more fruits, vegetables and protein. If you are seriously overweight, lay off those nice big bowls of spaghetti, mashed potatoes, pizza, cookies, and especially the packaged foods like potato and corn chips. Drastically reduce the starch and increase vegetables to ease hunger. Stop the fizzy sugary drinks, the white bread, cakes, cookies, and super fatty foods like bacon and hamburgers fried in grease.
Knee Braces, Sleeves, Wraps and Straps
There are a wide variety of what is broadly called Orthotics. That is, external appliances to wear on the knee. We’ll give a brief overview of what these are, though a detailed explanation goes beyond the report.
- Knee braces with Velcro straps
These popular knee appliances are worn by covering the knee joint and using Velcro straps to secure it. You can adjust the tightness to a degree and they are adjustable for different size knees. They may have add ons, such as magnets, or occasionally tourmaline that’s been activated to reflect back your body’s natural heat.
- Knee Compression Sleeves
These are tubular—you pull them on over your foot and slide them up over the knee. They are often made from different types of materials and have specialized features. Some examples include magnetic compression knee sleeves, which incorporate magnets, reputed to have therapeutic properties.
Some sleeves are made from neoprene, an artificial rubber, which naturally compresses the joint. Others use latex elastic, along with cotton, for a soft natural feeling the neoprene style, though is also quite comfortable.
Variations include copper infused fabric, since some people feel that copper (due to its high electrical conductivity) embedded fabric improves circulation as well as prevents infection. Bamboo based fabric also is said to have soothing properties and nowadays, bamboo is made into very comfortable fiber.
- Knee Straps
These are a smaller version of the sleeves and braces. Basically about an inch wide strip that fits around the knee under the joint. These are useful for runners or for alleviating tendon issues.
- Knee Wraps
Long strips of fabric which bind the knee by wrapping around the joint. They are some of the oldest knee devices for both protecting the knee during sports, and soothing the joint that has the additional problem of feeling unstable.
- Gel Knee Braces
This rather new type brace incorporates gel, to act as a shock absorber, as well relying on the gel, similar to the idea discussed earlier, using cold to help with the inflammation.
- Knee Pad
These are worn during sports, since they protect he knee from falls or if you are doing work on your knees, like putting tiles on a floor. That hard surface can get mighty painful, and knee pads can help.
Joint Supplement Tablets/Capsules—
Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, Nature Based Chemicals
There are innumerable products for easing joint pain, or knee pain. Just to give you an idea, if you go to Amazon and type in Joint supplements, you’ll pull up 9,000 results! Get a little more specific and search for knee pain supplements and you get “only” 800 results. So you can go through all of those and decide what works best, or you can do some research on Google.
Here is a short list. The main things I look for are the type of ingredients, the number of ingredients in a dose, and cost. The fact is that there are a lot of good products, however, there is no one product that has ‘all’ the good ingredients. To buy all of them would be crazy expensive, and besides, who wants to eat bowls full of pills and capsules?
Here is a partial list of ingredients to look for in supplements:
- Vitamins: Vitamin C, Vitamin D
- Minerals: boron, magnesium, manganese, chromium, copper, zinc
- Herbal/plant based: Boswellia, Curcumin from Turmeric, Ginger, Piperine from Black Pepper, astaxanthin, pycnogenol, grape seed extract
- Shark Cartilage, chicken cartilage extract
- Natural chemicals produced by the body: MSM, Hyaluronic Acid, Cetyl Myristoleate (derived from natural body chemical, Glucosamine, Chondroitin
Pain Treatment Machines
Recently, more and more alternatives to the drug or surgery route are becoming available. Some have more testing behind them than others, however, many people are getting good results with various pain treatment machines that use electricity.
Figure 1 Laser Therapy. Photo courtesy of Jonn Leffman
- Cold laser, (also known as low-level laser therapy or LLLT)
- Heating pad
- Infrared heat pad
- Infrared Lamp
- Laser pen
- ultrasound therapy
- TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
- EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation)
- ICT (Interferential Current Therapy)
- PENS (Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Topical Ointments, Patches and Sprays
Rather than swallowing pills that may affect your whole body, when what you really want is straight relief on the specific joint, there are quite a few choices of topical products. Some are more oriented towards Western medicine, such as Bengay or Aspercreme, while others are like Chinese medicine, the very popular Tiger Balm, which has similar ingredients as Bengay plus a few others.
There are sprays you can try, such as Biofreeze, which acts similarly to icing the joint. Aspercreme has a compound with Salicylate, which is related to Aspirin. There is also a product with Lidocaine, a local anaesthetic.
In addition, you can use patches. Patches have the advantage of going directly on the affected area, and there is no wastage, which you get when you spray. Likewise, the patches have the medicine directly in contact with your skin, which absorbs it.
If you use creams or ointments, some of it might rub off on your clothes, so you lose some and sometimes they may leave a stain on the clothes. So you have a choice of sprays, ointments or patches for immediate topical relief right on the affected joint.
Foods-Proper Diet Choices
One of the biggest challenges we face nowadays is food and diet. We are affected in the
- Long Distance Between Farm and Table. Nowadays, food is grown far from where we actually eat it. Studies have shown that the average distance between the farm and the table in the USA is 1000 miles. The food is often a week old before we even buy it! So much of the freshness and vitality of the food is lost
- Widespread use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This also results in the loss of micronutrients that would normally be found in food that is grown in the ‘virtuous circle’ of organic agriculture. When animals and plants interact with each other, they nourish each other. When food is grown using chemicals, nutrition is lost. What’s worse, the food may have toxins from the chemicals themselves.
Airplane Cropduster—The Poison gets into our food
- GMO’s or Genetically Modified Organisms, that is, foods that have their genetic structure messed with are now being recognized as a source of a variety of health problems, from allergic reactions to infertility. Because they exist outside of real nature, they act as stressors on our bodies, which are stressed out enough as it is.
- Use of weird additives, such as food coloring, flavour enhancers, stabilizers etc. The best thing we can do to avoid those is to avoid packaged and processed foods when possible. Always read labels for ingredients. If you see some strange words, that means it is some chemical additive that we humans aren’t designed to eat. So don’t eat them, if possible!
- Too much sugar. Sugar intake is through the roof. Our bodies cannot handle the amount of sugar in foods. That causes fast burning and generally inflammation. Not to mention obesity and ultimately, diabetes where pancreas simply cannot process the sugar any more.
- Too much alcohol. Alcohol is a fast burning fuel for the body, and ends up being stored as fat, and stresses out other organs. In particular, drinking beer can increase the likelihood of gout, a very painful joint ailment, by 200% in those who drink two beers a day, vs. non drinkers.
- Too much food, in general. Fact is, obesity, or being seriously overweight, puts tremendous stress on the joints as well as other organs.
Improve Your Food Habits with these tips
- Eat a lot more fruits and vegetables. Organic if at all possible
- Try to eat locally grown foods sold at your local farmers’ market
- Avoid GMO -genetic animal foods. That is hard to do nowadays, but it is possible.
- Read labels. If it sounds like a weird chemical, think twice before buying and eating.
- Eat less sugar, in the form of cakes, cookies, candy, soft drinks
- Drink less alcohol
- Eat moderately. Try fasting for at least one half day a week, to give your digestive system a rest. Plus, when you fast on regular basis, your body learns to burn off fat.
- Consider intermittent fasting, which means not eating for 12-18 hours during a 24 hour cycle
There has been a lot of discussion and perhaps even hype about certain types of food that seem to pack more nutrition in them than ordinary foods. They may have more protein than their normal counterparts, an example being Quinoa versus Rice.
They may have massive amounts of Vitamin C or other vitamins, such as rose hips versus oranges.
Specialty fish oil has high nutritive content, and can aid in healing joints compared with more common oils like corn or soy oils. Fish oil is not something you’d use for cooking but rather, taken as a supplement.
One possible drawback to superfoods is that they are not as readily available as regular foods, and they also may be quite a lot more expensive. Advocates say the price is worth it. For example, wheat grass juice made from freshly grown wheat that has just sprouted and is in its early grassy stage before creating the actual wheat grains, can be very expensive, and has to be used fresh.
You can get wheat grass extract that has been dried, so the growing and processing adds to the cost. This just one example. On the other hand, there is some evidence that these foods are so potent that they can prevent or even cure disease.
This advice has been widespread for several decades, ever since the tobacco industry was finally called to account for the fact that smoking is harmful in many ways. If you smoke, you are increasing your chances of multiple health problems, not just knee or joint pain. So do resolve to stop smoking.
Reduce Stress and Pay Attention to Your Emotional Health
One of the great advances in the past 40 or so years is the realization that our bodies and minds are a lot more integrated than was previously thought. So if you experience stress in one area of your life, you may well experience symptoms in other areas of your life. Looking at your whole quality of life is a wise approach. Learn relaxation or breathing and meditation techniques to control pain.
This last section deals with ways to treat pain that are perhaps far afield or in some states, even illegal. Medical marijuana is one example. Here is a list of some methods to consider.
- Magnetic Therapy uses magnets to reduce pain. There is considerable controversy over whether this type of treatment is pure hype, or actually has a scientific basis.
- Medical Marijuana. Many people insist that various components of the marijuana plant such as cannabinols can induce relaxation and pain relief. However, in many jurisdictions, it is considered as dangerous as opioids and is strictly illegal
- Reiki. This form of therapy involves the conscious use of ‘healing energy’ by a trained practitioner, to help heal the body. You can use reiki for self treatment if you know what you are doing.
- Self applied acupressure. This method originated, as did Reiki according to Oriental forms of medicine. Likewise, if you learn the points of your body that will relieve pain, you can apply this technique yourself, though, like Reiki, it is usually done by a trained practitioner.
- Traditional Chinese medicine. These include such methods as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Moxibustion. These are generally administered by a doctor practicing Chinese medicine. However, some of the procedures, such as boiling the herbs yourself involves your direct participation in the healing process.
We have covered 26 DIY knee pain treatments to take care of your knees by yourself. This report does not include treatments by professionals. The most common treatments are those offered by the Medical Establishment, such as shots of steroids, or other fluids that help with joint flexibility or to relieve pain. Surgery of various types, including knee replacement are commonplace and even increasing.
One method of treating pain is the use of opioids that have been prescribed by a physician. That may be because of the inherent tendency for professionals to encourage the use of their services, rather than the simpler and less expensive route of self care. Opioid use is rampant these days, and, while they do relieve pain, they can lead to serious addiction problems. For that reason alone, self care that is not dependent on prescription drugs or other treatments may be preferable.
Many Choices to take care of your knees without spending a fortune
However, there is a whole other realm of treatments now becoming available that are less well known, and may or may not be recognized by most physicians or for that matter, many insurance companies. These may provide answers to the problem of knee rehabilitation, with less risk than that of surgery or use of addictive pain relieving drugs.
In a future report, the range of services offered by professionals of all kinds will be explored.
These will be revealed in another report specifically about treatments by others. So before, or in addition to professional medical treatment, you can try some of the self care methods presented here. Some of these may entail purchases. Some you can do easily at home, and even incorporate into your own cooking, at little or no cost.
I hope you find the information in this report useful and that it will expand your range of possibilities.
The information in this document is not intended to replace medical advice. All the information provided here is offered on a best efforts basis, but should be accepted ‘as is’, with no warranty whatsoever as to whether any of the information offered has efficacy or not.
If you have knee problems, it is highly advisable that you consult with at least one physician or other medical profession before proceeding with any means to deal with your knee issue. Before engaging in any regimen, discuss with your medical professional whether it is appropriate for you or not.
These 26 Self Care Secrets for Knees representing the opinions here are believed to be accurate, based on the judgment of the author. Readers assume all risk in their own treatment, and by accepting this report, you are agreeing to release the author from any liability whatsoever.