There is a lot of gossip in the world of knee pain. Everyone seems to be an expert right?
Magazines, YouTube vloggers and newspaper ads claim to have the "cure" for knee pain.
Unfortunately, getting long term relief from knee pain isn't as easy as some people claim.
Knee pain can start out as a “niggle” and slowly build up over time or can be as a result of an injury. After an injury the pain can ease up with some rest but then when it comes to doing anything more active like walking out with friends or even climbing stairs it keeps hurting. It can feel as if the knee is stiff and weak and make you feel like you are slowing down.
Today’s blog is about the 5 things which won’t get you the long term relief from knee pain you so desire…
1. Wearing a brace or knee support
This is seen by many as a way to keep the knee stable and as a way to protect the knee.
When a knee brace is used without other treatment, the knee will never fully regain the strength and balance needed for long term relief from knee pain and you will become reliant on it.
This is the biggest myth when it comes to ending knee pain.
Yes, rest is required at certain stages during the recovery from knee pain, but too much rest only leads to weakening of the knee muscles which prevents the knee from working properly.
This is because if the knee muscles weaken then activities such as climbing stairs, getting out of a chair or walking for long periods become more painful because the knee is not getting the support it needs from your knee muscles.
Research shows even with arthritis or cartilage tears, if the knee is strong, then this can significantly reduce pain. The opposite is true if a knee is weak.
3. Taking painkillers
There is a definite role for pain relief in certain cases. But often what I see, is patients being advised to use painkillers in the long term as a tool to get them better or “put up” with the pain.
Unfortunately, not only is this not good for the body due to the chemicals in pain medications, but it also masks the problem and can lead to longer recovery times.
If you have been suffering with knee pain for longer than 6 weeks and your still requiring pain medication it might be that there is an underlying movement problem which is stopping you from getting better.
4. Not seeking out specialist help
All knees are not the same. In fact, every knee is different. With different knees, we need different solutions.
That’s why generic advice from the internet, friends or family is unlikely to get you the long term relief you need.
To get the long term relief from knee pain that you desire, speaking to specialist who deals with knee pain every day is the only safe way because they can diagnose your problem and help guide you on the best course of action for you. This could be a physio or Orthopaedic Consultant.
Yes, you may get some quick wins from some exercises found online but when the knee pain comes back a few weeks or months later, it will be all the more frustrating you didn’t get it dealt with sooner by a specialist.
5. Getting a scan or x-ray
The information that we can get from an MRI scan or an x-ray is not always helpful because it is a snapshot of you laid flat on your back in a machine or stood still. Only about 5% of people with knee pain need a scan. For example, if someone is showing signs of there being a significant ligament tear then they would need an MRI scan to confirm this.
If you get your pain when you climb stairs, sit for long periods or when you walk, it is unlikely to uncover what is wrong with your knee because no one has assessed you doing these movements.
A great example of why scans aren't always relevant is when a lady came to me with a report from her doctor of a recent knee x-ray which showed “moderate to severe arthritis of the knee”. After a course of physiotherapy she returned to being able to walk out with friends and enjoy being more independent again.
If we had done another x-ray after her treatment had finished, the report would show the same amount of knee arthritis. She recovered because we were able to improve the way she moved.
As the saying goes, treat the man (or woman) not the scan!
So there you have it, 5 myths when it comes to getting long term relief from knee pain.
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