Have you ever had to ask the question, “How should I treat pain in my knees?”

 

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.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

 

People tend to cling to ideas of what something is, and often, their solution is also based 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. http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/05/08/hammer-nail/

 

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 a 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. https://qz.com/949860/get-a-second-opinion-doctors-usually-arent-right-the-first-time/

 

 

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.

 

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: –knee sleeves, braces, supports, wraps, which act generally to stabilize the knee and help warm the knee and even help with circulation, or reduce swelling through compression. In the case of more serious injury or chronic pain, they are totally different from those used in sports or for daily use.

 

–NSAID’s, that is, Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs, which you can buy without a prescription, such as Advil or Motrin. –Topical applications such as ointments, creams, salves and patches that are treated with ingredients that get absorbed into the knee joint over time.

 

These may be either natural or chemically based. Most are available without prescription. –Joint supplements which are not considered medicines and are even viewed skeptically by the Food and Drug Administration. Two main ingredients are Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

 

There are many other vitamin, mineral and other natural supplements that seem to help with improving knee wear and tear, although such claims must also at the same time be accompanied by disclaimers to comply with FDA rules and regulations, since the results are often not conclusive.

 

–A wide variety of electrical machines, such as ultrasound, TENS, cool laser, infrared lamps and other far infrared ( section of the light spectrum that is felt as heat), magnetic therapy and so on. —

 

Exercise regimens that can be done without equipment, as well as equipment, such as Pilates Machine or home gym or profession gym machines that aid in improving circulation as well as the all important function of building strength in the muscles surrounding the knee.

 

These act to stabilize the knee joint, which helps keep the knee aligned properly. –Foods that are conducive to joint health—and foods to avoid –So called Superfoods. These are specialty foods that are not so well known but have especially high nutritive or even medicinal properties   These are just some examples of what you and I can do take care of our knees ourselves.

“OK. so I’ve got pain in my knees. Maybe I need professional treatment.”

 

The other approach of course, is to consider that professional advice and treatment may be needed. Rather than assuming that a traditional MD or surgeon is the go-to solution.

 

There may be other possibilities. Here are some examples: –Acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be able to help reduce inflammation and pain

 

–Chiropractic care may be useful in manipulating both the knee and the body overall, to be sure the bones are in alignment –Massage therapy can help heal sore muscles and improve circulation to the joint, which can help with healing —

 

Physical Therapy and physical therapists have a variety of treatment options which could help to heal the problem without surgery –There are, recently, new and innovative approaches to knee recovery, though they may not have official approval, and may not be approved by insurance companies. Two examples of this are:

 

–Stem Cell Therapy, where stem cells are extracted from the body, grown in culture and then reinjected into the area that needs new cell growth.

 

stem cell infographic

What is a stem cell

–PHP, or Platelet-Rich Plasma, which is basically blood that is processed in such a way that growth factors which aid healing can be injected into an affected area. –Regular MD’s may also recommend injections of various kinds to improve smooth joint movement, or aid healing.

The larger point here, is that depending on a particular point of view—be it a physician, surgeon, physical therapist, fitness trainer, pharmacist, natural health doctor or website, these all have a POINT OF VIEW, which may or may not give you the answer to your problem.

 

Not only that, but without a broad spectrum of information offered on an ‘As is’ and objective basis, and without saying, “This is the Magic Bullet”, we tend to listen and  believe the first person or product  we hear about or read about, and don’t realize that we have a lot more choices than we are told.

 

That is the reason for this blog, to give you information, which you may not have been exposed to, and to hopefully point you in directions so that you can make your own decision on what’s best for you.

 

This is a partial list, since new approaches are constantly being introduced. The point being, that here are over 20 –depending on how you count them—treatments for knee pain. In addition, like the blind men and the elephant, these approaches can actually be synergistic—that is, they can work together in various combinations to give a faster and smoother road to recovery, as well as providing a way to avoid the more drastic approach of surgery, or in the worst case, joint replacement.

 

Joint replacements do not have a 100% guarantee of full recovery at all. And even knee surgery involves cutting and drilling of our body, which is inherently traumatic. Not to mention the possibility of serious side effects, such as clots or other possible fatal consequences. In this post, I am coming from my own personal experience and research to offer what I have done to treat the pain in my knees. In other posts, I will go into more detail about these various procedures and processes.