Whether caused by an injury or a degenerative disease like osteoarthritis, unless carefully managed, knee pain can have a major impact on our way of life. These simple therapies for knee pain will help you to effectively relieve pain, stiffness and swelling on a day-to-day basis without the unpleasant side effects associated with other, more invasive treatments.
Some might even delay the need for surgery.
N.B. Knee replacement surgery may be recommended where conservative and non-invasive measures have failed to make a difference. If your knee pain is affecting your way of life and you have tried a course of physiotherapy combined with the below measures to little or no avail, arrange an appointment with your GP to discuss the other available options.
7 Therapies for Relieving Knee Pain at Home
1. Physical therapy at home. Strength, balance and flexibility training can strengthen the muscles supporting the joint and enhance the range of motion in the knee. This reduces pain and stiffness whilst minimising the risk of further damage or injury. Build these simple but effective knee pain exercises from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy into your daily routine to strengthen the key muscle groups.
2. Gentle cardiovascular exercise. It may be the very last thing you feel like doing, but cardiovascular exercise is a vital means of reducing aches, pains and stiffness. It strengthens the supporting muscles, lubricates the joint, and promotes weight loss, which in turn minimises the strain on the damaged knee(s).
Begin with a brisk, 15-minute walk every day and try to build up your general fitness from there. You might also consider taking up a new activity like swimming, which is excellent for strength and endurance but easy on the knees.
3. Follow up injuries and swollen knees with the RICE regime. That is, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. This is one of the best known therapies for knee pain and for good reason. It helps protect the knee, relieve pain and reduce swelling immediately following the injury and for up to 72 hours afterwards. You may also find it soothing to gently massage the area to stimulate blood flow, but only provided this doesn’t cause further pain.
4. Support the knee externally. If you have osteoarthritis or have injured one or more knee ligaments (e.g. the ACL), a knee brace can provide you with greater control over the affected area, reducing pain and increasing mobility. This also minimises the risk of further injury and can even reduce the impact of further arthritic damage, delaying the need for surgery.
Opt for a lightweight knee brace that offers rigid support combined with flexible hinging for the best possible results. (Click here for further advice on choosing a knee brace.)
5. Anti-inflammatory agents. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be very effective in the reduction of pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis patients may find over-the-counter remedies like glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate helpful.
Persistent use of NSAIDs has been known to cause stomach problems in some patients, so it may be advisable to treat them as a quick fix rather than a long-term solution. And, of course, make sure you always read the label.
6. Natural therapies for knee pain. Many people prefer to try non-medical home remedies in order to relieve their symptoms naturally without any harmful side effects.
Several of these have proven to work in clinical trials, including ginger and turmeric tea (reduces inflammation), dandelion leaves (repairs damaged tissue and suppresses inflammation) and blackstrap molasses drink (regulates nerve and muscle function; strengthens bones).
7. Magnesium. This important mineral helps relax the muscles and nerve endings, relieving stiffness and pain, and keeping the bones strong and healthy. However, modern lifestyles and dietary choices mean that few of us get enough magnesium, so it’s worth making a conscious effort to ensure that you are getting the recommended daily intake of 420mg for men or 320mg for women.
This can be achieved by eating lots of dark, leafy greens, as well as nuts and legumes. Supplements are also available, but you should aim to get the majority of your magnesium naturally in order to reap the greatest possible benefit.
Do you know of any other therapies for knee pain that have worked well for you?
Alternatively, to enquire about knee bracing or for further advice on non-surgical relief for knee pain, contact Technology in Motion on 0330 100 1800 or enquire online.