Knee pain is treated with chiropractic care by decreasing inflammation in the joint and surrounding tissue and improving the joint’s range of motion so it can move freely without pain.
Many people tolerate a little knee pain because they are too busy to get it checked out. Why should knee pain not be ignored?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah. Pain is essentially the body’s way of telling us something is wrong or essentially not working right. Unfortunately, we live in a society and a healthcare system where we tend to be more reactive about our, essentially, health instead of being proactive. It could be if you’re experiencing pain anywhere in your body, specifically in your knee, addressing it early as possible has many benefits.
The main two is probably simply time and money. The longer we leave it alone, the more the joint’s going to compensate, and the more damage it can cause to both the joints and the soft tissue. This is going to in effect essentially mean a longer course of treatment, and a longer course of treatment usually means you’re going to have to spend more money to get it fixed.
Could you categorize the different types of knee pain people experience and their causes?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, absolutely. The two main causes that we essentially see and we tend to see that cause knee pain are big traumas, such as sport injuries or motor vehicle accidents, or repetitive stresses due to varying things but mainly, essentially just poor joint mechanics and essentially poor activation in the muscles that support the knee through gait essentially. So you know, those bigger traumas often cause damage to the supporting structures in the knee and obviously depending on the severity, will require possibly surgical intervention, or at least some sort of acute phase of treatment such as being under co-management with medications to essentially adjust the pain and inflammation, especially if you’ve got damage to the meniscus, the cartilage, the cruciate ligament, the collateral ligament. All those ligaments when they become damaged essentially have to be adjusted a little differently.
However, repetitive stresses such as poor movement and poor loading to the joint, they slowly break it down over time. Usually that pain is less intense form of pain. Obviously when you rupture something or break something your pain’s far more intense, but repetitive stresses over time can certainly be as severe, breaking down the joint, the tissue. It can lead to irreversible changes.
But regardless of what type of knee pain you’re having, the treatment should be aimed at achieving the same thing: decreasing inflammation in the joint and the tissue, improving that joint’s range of motion, the tissue health, and essentially stabilizing the joint so it can essentially move freely without pain. And again, the severity of the damage into the joint, depending on the mechanism of injury, will dictate exactly the type of treatment you’ll receive and obviously the recovery time it’ll take to get back to functioning without any pain.
And how can a chiropractor help someone relieve their knee pain with chiropractic care?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, chiropractic care can treat both the knee joint and its surrounding tissues and structures to improve its range of motion and function. However, many knee pain patients, particularly that we see in the office, it’s not just an issue with the knee. They also have issues with their low back and their pelvis, because we sit for a living, as we discussed on a previous podcast.
Essentially, we have poor posture and this pulls the spine out of alignment. Once we’re out of alignment, the joints and the tissues in the body start to compensate and this affects how we move and load those joints. So, if we have poor posture for example, you’re going to be adding excess load to the joint and the tissue, particularly from poor mechanics in our low back or our pelvis, and over time the knee is going to compensate. And obviously that compensation is going to break us down and essentially cause pain in the knee, particularly during activity.
Chiropractic care can assess the mechanics of your gait both on an individual level, so the joint itself, or from a global level, essentially how you move in your posterior chain and your, essentially, gait, all the muscles and joints involved in essentially moving us and supporting us. Essentially, we can evaluate in a global standpoint and offer solutions to obviously get not just the knee joint and get the knee pain corrected, but obviously be able to address the extremity on the whole. And the beauty of chiropractic is we do all that without drugs and surgery.
What can people do to prevent knee pain if they enjoy running and other sports that include running?
Yeah, be proactive. Make sure you have good flexibility in the joints in your low back, in your pelvis, and in your legs. Make sure it’s nice and healthy within normal limits. And then make sure to train and target the muscles in the body that support you through movement, particularly if you’re a runner, to make sure you’ve got hamstrings that activate, glutes that activate, a core that stabilizes your pelvis. That pelvic floor and the posterior chain, your glutes and your hamstrings, essentially the muscles that sit in the back of the body and the core are super important in stabilizing your hips and your knee when moving. By being proactive, make sure you’ve got good range of motion and good stability within those muscle groups. It’s going to allow for essentially good support in the knee, the low back, particularly when running. It’s going to allow you to move without any pain.
If someone with knee pain has been told by an orthopedic doctor that they need surgery, could that person see a chiropractic for treatment and possibly find relief?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Possibly, but again, it would all depend on the recommendation of why the surgeon has recommended surgery. For example, if you’ve been playing basketball and you ruptured your cruciate ligament, then there’s no doubt about it. You’re going to need to do the surgery. However, there are cases where surgery has been suggested due to damage to the cartilage, the meniscus, or there’s some wear and tear within the joints, so assuming that’s going to clean it out, where we have, involving chiropractic care and physical therapy, can restore function and essentially prevent surgery.
But regardless of that, seeing a chiropractor before or after surgery is critically important and a lot of orthopedic surgeons, particularly the more open-minded and kind of forward thinking surgeons, are now sending lots of patients with knee pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, to see chiropractors before they operate. Simply, they try and get the joint and the structures within the joint in the best condition possible and that allows for an easier, essentially, surgery and it allows for a shorter course of recovery and rehab, which essentially benefits both the surgeon and the patient.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Luke Stringer visit www.southloopchiropractor.com or call (312) 987-4878 to schedule an appointment.