Humans are not designed to experience chronic pain. The simple fact is that you should not be experiencing pain right now and if you are, something is wrong and you need to fix it.
That is why it is so important to consider the potential causes of pain and to address them. And this is particularly true for something like knee pain, which can make daily activities difficult and which can prevent you from getting exercise or even lead to further injuries if you become unstable on your feet.
Alleviating knee pain can be achieved through a variety of different means, depending partly on the cause of the knee pain and also on the severity. You should always consult with your doctor first in order to ensure that you won’t accidentally worsen the condition and that there isn’t something more serious underlying the problem – such as an infection that needs to be treated. Often though, simple daily habits can make a big difference to your knee pain. Read on and we’ll explore some of the best things you can try in order to address the issue.
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acid
There are a number of different supplements that can help with knee pain. Among the very best though is omega 3 fatty acid. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that has a huge number of benefits for the human body, including improved cell membrane permeability and more.
However, the benefit we’re interested in is the potential ability to reduce inflammation. Omega 3 does this by reducing the amount of omega 6 in the system, which has been known to increase inflammation when it is present in large quantities.
Omega 6 is an important nutrient too but the problem is that we often consume too much of it and not enough omega 3. Fixing this ratio can reduce inflammation in the joints and elsewhere!
2. Stretching the Back
Many people don’t realize that knee pain can actually be a symptom of problems elsewhere in the body. In particular, it is often the result of pain in the back. If your back muscles are overly tight for instance, then this can lead to uneven pressure being placed on the knees, thereby causing discomfort.
Many people find that when they increase their flexibility in their spine etc., they actually end up improving their knee pain.
3. Muscle Balance
Another form of imbalance that can lead to knee pain is an imbalance between the muscles of the legs. Our legs contain hip flexors and hip extensors, which our body uses to extend our legs and curl them backward.
When one of these is significantly more developed than the other, then this can once again cause pressure to be placed on the knee cap on one angle much more strongly than the other. Again, this can cause difficulties in tracking and cause significant discomfort.
4. Contrast Therapy
For those that are suffering from more acute pain caused by injury or similar, a good option is to use contrast therapy. This means that you are alternating between hot and cold, often in the bath or in the shower. This is a technique now used by many athletes whose careers rely on them being able to recover and get back on the field.
The reason this works is that the cold will help to reduce swelling, while the warm will cause the blood vessels to dilate and allow more blood and nutrients to reach the knee. At the same time, the warmth will relax and soothe any muscle tightness. These effects combined can address a wide range of causes of pain.
Using medication daily can also help with knee pain. Of course, taking any kind of analgesic will have this benefit. An analgesic is another word for painkiller and this will help to reduce pain caused by any kind of knee complaint.
However, if you want more long-term benefits, then one of the best things you can do is to use an analgesic that will also act to reduce inflammation. There are a few of these, including aspirin and ibuprofen. Both work by thinning the blood and dilating the blood vessels, both of which help to remove blood and fluid from the knee joint.
6. Get Up!
If you spend a lot of time every day sitting down, then this may well be causing your knee pain or exacerbating it. When we sit down, we do so with our legs bent. Being in this position constantly will then cause our hamstrings and glutes to become shortened and tight, and our quadriceps to become elongated and weak.
When you combine these effects, you’re once again left with uneven pressure on the knee. This can also negatively affect the pelvic bone and cause an ‘anterior pelvic tilt’ meaning that the bone will push forward causing the individual to become physically shorter and to walk with an unusual gait.
If you spend long hours at a computer every day then, take opportunities to get up for ten minutes and walk to the water cooler.
7. Muscle Rub
There are many muscle rubs designed specifically to help treat knee pain and similar issues. These work in a variety of ways. Not only will a muscle rub provide immediate local anesthetic benefits, but it will also often help to heal the muscle and relax it and thereby ensure a quicker recovery for the long run.
One of the many causes for knee pain is that the kneecap is not tracking properly and that it is moving incorrectly as you bend and walk and jump. Using a support of some sort can help with this by ensuring that the kneecap moves correctly. These come in many shapes and sizes and can be slipped over the knee during sports or even worn all day.
A tube grip bandage can do a similar job, but the best advice – as ever – is to consult with your physician.
For any kind of acute knee injury, it is absolutely essential that you rest. The most common advice for treating knee pain or any other kind of accident is to use ‘RICE’. This is ‘Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation’. Notice that rest comes first! Only by taking time off your feet can you prevent further damage and stressed being caused to the joints and can you avoid further accidents that might come as a result of overcompensation.
This is particularly important for athletes: if you play a sport or go to the gym, then you should interpret knee pain as a strong sign from your body to take time out.
Finally, knee pain can also originate in the feet. If your foot is tipping left or right (pronation) or if it is angled outward, then this can change the way that pressure is felt on the knee. Corrective exercises can help to reduce this problem, but so too can orthotics: shoes or inserts that will help to address the problem and fix the way that you’re walking.
Again, the best way to deal with this is to speak with your physician or have your gait analyzed on a treadmill in order to ensure you get the right kind of orthotic for your particular condition.