There are many different causes of knee pain which vary depending on factors such as your activity level, age, history of trauma etc. Knee pain without recent trauma or overuse in people over the age of 45 is often due to osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis is degenerative (unlike rhematoid arthritis which is an inflammatory form) and occurs when the cartilage in the joints begins to break down. The cartilage acts as a cushion or padding between bones, allowing the joint to move without pain; therefore, individuals with osteoarthritis experience pain and reduced mobility in their joints where cartilage is degrading. Osteoarthritis may affect any joint in the body but is most common in the knees.
Patello-Femoral Syndrome is the most common cause of knee pain in younger, active individuals. The patella (also known as the knee cap) experiences forces which push it against the sides of the groove, causing irritation and pain; inflammation and roughening of the smooth underside of the patella may occur leading to progressive conditions like patellar chondromalacia (wearing of the cartilage under the knee cap).
There are many things an individual can do to cope with their knee pain including rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and taping. Taping can supply immediate pain relief and helps correct abnormal positioning of the patella. It is best to consult your health care provider for best treatment for your individual case.
As in many situations, a trip to your doctor for knee pain will often result in some form of anti-inflammatory medication to help manage the pain. In cases of osteoarthritis, common prescriptions include NSAID drugs such as celebrex; unfortunately there are many side effects associated with these types of medications. They can lead to high blood pressure, nausea, diarrhea and extreme digestive upset. Another problem with choosing pharmaceuticals to manage your pain is that since they only mask the pain (not cure it), people are more prone to overuse their affected joints since they are no longer receiving the "pain" signal from the body. Eventually this leads to further joint degeneration and thus further progression of the disease process.
Biopuncture is a very effective treatment for knee pain especially due to patellar femoral syndrome, ligament injuries and/or osteoarthritis. Natural remedies are injected in the region of pain to help decrease the inflammation, rebuild cartilage and quicken recovery time. To read more on this therapy, click here.
Other natural alternatives to medication include therapies such as laser therapy with a chiropractor, rehabilitation exercises, work modifications, IMS (intramuscular stimulation) and medical acupuncture with electro-stimulation with a naturopath or specially licensed chiroprator, massage, active release therapy and/or hydrotherapy techniques.
In cases of osteoarthritis, anti-inflammatory approaches through nutrition and natural remedies are also helpful in both the management of pain and prevention of further degeneration.
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