Knee Pain – Overview
Knee pain is one of the most commonly reported ailments that patients report to their doctors – those who suffer from knee pain are not alone. Knee pain can be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Sometimes a medical condition such as arthritis, gout or infection can cause knee pain. Simple degeneration due to aging can also cause a patient to experience knee pain. A knee injury can affect the ligaments tendons or fluid filled sacs that surround the knee joint The knee is very complex, and due to the high amount of use and strain the knee endures – the range of causes of knee pain tend to vary drastically. The good news is that knee pain tends to respond well to pain management treatments and there are also many simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of knee pain.
Knee Pain – Symptoms
Some of the most common knee injuries and symptoms include:
- Ligament injuries. The knee has four ligaments; a tear in one of them is likely to cause the following symptoms: immediate pain, popping sound, inability to bear weight, or a feeling that the knee may buckle or give.
- Tendon injuries: Tendonitis is the irritation and/or inflammation of the tendons around the knee. Knee pain that is caused by this, usually has the following signs and symptoms: pain in the knee, swelling, intensified pain when jumping or running, or the inability to fully extend the leg or straighten the knee.
- Arthritis / osteoarthritis. This common condition occurs when the cartilage in the knee deteriorates over time with use and age. It tends to develop progressively and will cause the following: varying degrees of pain, stiffness, swelling, popping sounds, or loss of flexibility.
- Hyper extended knee. This injury occurs when the knee extends beyond the regular straightened position. The damage can be minor, but in some cases can cause a ligament tear.
Knee Pain – Diagnosis and Treatment
The providers at Michigan Spine & Pain use a variety of methods to diagnose a patient’s knee pain, such as medical history, a complete physical exam, x-rays, MRI, CT scan, electrodiagnostics, bone scans and many other methods. Many patients that are experiencing knee pain can manage their pain level with traditional methods. At Michigan Spine & Pain, we use the following treatment methods to develop a treatment plan specific to each patient’s needs and condition:
- Physical Therapy. Working with a physical therapist can help build strength and endurance in order to maintain the flexibility and stability of your spine.
- Acupuncture. An acupuncture program can help a patient manage their pain in many cases. Acupuncture is a health science that can be used successfully to treat pain and dysfunction in the body. Acupuncture’s goal is to restore normalcy to the body’s energy balance by utilizing a combination of Acupoints located on the twelve meridians. This can be accomplished by a variety of means, the needle is just one.
- Injections. The epidural space is located between the spine and vertebrae. Medication such as corticsoteriod or local anesthetic is injected into this space by way of a needle. It can block the inflammatory chemicals that sensitize nerves and nerve receptors, and thus in many cases – help to reduce pain.
- Chiropractic Care. Chiropractic care is an important part of our treatment plans at Michigan Spine and Pain. Our medical doctors recognize the benefits of chiropractic care, and work with our chiropractor to reduce pain and improve function quickly.
- Massage Therapy. During a massage, a trained, clinical massage practitioner manipulates muscles in the body. This, combined with a full pain management treatment plan, can provide relief. It is a safe procedure that is only performed by one of Michigan Spine & Pains licensed massage therapists.
- Pain Management. Pain Management is an overall approach and philosophy to treating chronic pain conditions. Medications can be an important part of this approach. All of the physicians at Michigan Spine and Pain are Board Certified and have years of experience with acute and chronic pain conditions.
- Pain Psychology. Pain Psychology/Social Work is integral to our treatment plans. Pain is something our patients experience 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This constant battle is depressing and debilitating. Patients and their families may also have lost income or relationships due to injury or illness. At Michigan Spine and Pain we believe it is important to address these issues along with the physical issues.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). Electrodes placed the skin near the painful areas deliver tiny electrical impulses that may relieve pain.
Knee Pain Risk factors
A number of factors can increase your risk of having knee problems, including:
- Excess weight. Being overweight or obese increases stress on your knee joints, even during ordinary daily activities. It can also put an individual at increased risk of osteoarthritis by accelerating the breakdown of joint cartilage.
- Overuse. Any repetitive activity, from cycling a few miles every morning to gardening all weekend, can tire the muscles around joints and lead to extreme loading stress.
- Lack of muscle flexibility or strength. A lack of strength and flexibility are among the leading causes of knee injuries.
- High-risk sports and activities. Some sports and activities put greater stress on your knees than do others. Skiing with its sharp twists and turns and potential for falls, basketball’s jumps and pivots, and the repeated pounding your knees take when you run or jog all increase the risk of injury.
- Previous injury. Having a previous knee injury makes it more likely that you’ll injure your knee again.
- Age. Natural degeneration of the knee and its components can put individuals at risk for knee pain causes.
- Gender. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, sex may increase the risk of some types of knee injuries.