Looking to soothe tender knee joints and inflamed tendons?
Non-pharmacological aids can be the effective and fast-acting relief from knee pain that you are looking for. Oftentimes the result of an injury like torn cartilage, ruptured ligaments, or a fractured kneecap, knee pain can affect day to day activity and disrupt attempts at regular exercise and a healthier lifestyle.
Knee pain may also be the simple result of overuse or age-related degradation and arthritis.
When should you seek help to address your knee pain?
In addition to chronic aches and soreness, if you notice ongoing stiffness and inflammation, if you have any trouble bearing weight or fully extending the knee, if you often hear popping or cracking, if your knee is red or warm to the touch, or if you see an obvious bulge or deformity anywhere on or around the knee, contacting a healthcare provider for an evaluation and treatment plan is a must.
When knee pain isn’t so severe it requires a surgical solution, non-medicinal paths may be taken to alleviate and prevent future pain.
These may include:
Like other braces worn to aid appendages like feet and hands, knee braces serve a handful of purposes.
They can realign and push the knee back into proper position to support and stabilize movements as well as keep the kneecap in place, or add compression to the surrounding ligaments, tendons and nerves to relieve inflammation.
Some knee braces that are more like sleeves can be worn preventatively while others are specific to recovery from an injury or surgery.
Talk with your healthcare provider or physical therapist about your knee brace options and what will be best suited to your needs.
In combination with cool packs, braces or topical applications, natural remedies which can be consumed offer powerful health benefits to aid knee pain.
Consuming turmeric, cayenne pepper, and ginger root (i.e. in tea or a potent ‘ginger shot’) has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, while simple epsom salt soaks are believed to help your body absorb necessary magnesium and sulfate which relaxes muscles and loosens stiff joints.
More severe knee pain caused by osteoarthritis was shown in one 2006 study to be alleviated when glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements were administered with an ongoing treatment as well.
Creams, gels, ointments and rubs that are applied to the outside skin of the knee can help alleviate pain temporarily with myriad analgesic effects.
Topical pain relievers with capsaicin or menthol in them will provide a translating cold and hot sensation which actually alters your brain’s perception of pain by diminishing it.
Other creams made with arnica utilize natural plant extracts to treat bruises, swelling, sprains and soreness of the knee and other muscles and joints.
Helpful topical pain relievers can be found in pharmacies, most grocery and big box stores, or online.
The application of ice packs or cool wraps on the knee is one of the easiest ways to quickly address knee pain and inflammation.
The cooling effect of cold therapy with wrap around knee ice packs or soaking in a cold tub, for example, results in reduced blood flow which lowers the swelling and diminishes the pain messages the affected area is sending to the brain.
Experts recommend icing painful muscles and joints for no more than 20 minutes at a time every 4 to 6 hours as needed for a few days to see results.
Strengthening the muscles employed in conjunction with use of the knee is a great way to treat and prevent knee pain.
Regular exercise is already recommended for fighting muscle and joint inflammation, but specific strength training of muscle groups like the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes can be the answer to your knee pain prayers.
Working with a trainer or physical therapist to customize a strength training plan, remember to avoid added stress to the knee joint and musculature, never train through pain, and focus on hip-dominant workouts which avoid forwards or backwards lunging activity (to prevent risking further knee damage).
Enlightening data out of Harvard Medical School revealed the weight to pressure ratio that leads to many knee injuries and pain.
When walking flat ground, the amount of pressure and stress forced on the knee equals about 1.5 times that of your body weight. That means if you’re weighing in at 180lbs, normal walking down the street actually presses 240 lbs down on your knees.
On an incline, like walking up stairs, that grows to 2 or 3 times your bodyweight.
Losing weight can go a long way towards shifting your center of gravity to promote healthier body mechanics, as well as reduce risk for osteoarthritis later in life.
If knee pain is keeping you from living your fullest and healthiest life, talk to your doctor about natural and non-medicinal actions you can take for quick, effective relief.
From cold therapy to capsaicin, pharma-free pain relief options can save you time, money, and stress.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others.