Do you knead your knees when they need it?

Jumping from Puddle

Do you need your knees? You betcha. How about… do you knead your knees? I bet some of you need to knead your knees, but don’t. Or maybe… is it a knee slapper when you try to knead your knees when you know you need to because your knees need kneading?

Oh boy, how many times can I make you roll your eyes with a knee pun?! (I attribute my love of punnery to my father – these are for you, Dad 😉

But I know it’s not funny when you’re suffering from knee pain. It’s an area of the body that almost all of us take for granted, until it hurts – then we clearly appreciate just how much our knees do for us, and the burden we have put on them over the years.

Knee pain is one of the most common conditions that I see in the clinic. In fact, every single day I am treating someone’s knees.

Why is knee pain so prevalent?
The knee joint can be affected during every stage of life:  from congenital or postural issues in childhood, athletic activities ranging from school sports to adult weekend warriors to athletes, to traumas, accidents, and injuries, and then to arthritic changes over the years. That’s a lot of variations of “ouch.”

How does acupuncture help knee pain?
Acupuncture helps to reduce pain by releasing your natural painkillers (endorphins), reducing inflammation, and encouraging healing by increasing blood flow to the area. In specific situations, it can even help to prevent surgery or give you an opportunity to delay surgery if you are trying to get to a convenient time of year based on your work or personal schedule.

When do you need to see your physician for knee pain?
There are times when I will recommend that you see your medical doctor before coming in for, or continuing with, acupuncture…

if you have an acute injury that has not been diagnosed
if you show no signs of progress after a series of treatments
if you have severe swelling, redness, or burning

What ideas can you try for self-care at home?
Self-care is so important. Often, I will ask a patient what they are doing at home to help and the answer will come back: “Nothing.” While I won’t judge you for that (I want you to always feel comfortable telling me the truth – I’m not there in your day-to-day life so I don’t know what your daily obligations are like for you), BUT I will be straight with you on this point:

The more self-care you do, the less medical care you will need.

Most of my patients can tell you – I like to give homework in between visits, and I try to make it easy and do-able, but I can’t do it for you. With only a few exceptions, those who add in the self-care suggestions get better faster. Here are some of my favorites to try:

  • Soak your feet up to your shins in warm water with Epsom salt.
  • Find a topical cream or liniment that you like (you can contact me for specific suggestions) and massage your knees once or twice a day.
  • Do one exercise or stretch for your quadriceps (front thigh) and hamstrings (back thigh) every day.
  • Start a beginner tai chi program a few minutes every day. If you don’t have a class in your area, you can buy a DVD, or YouTube has free videos you can search.

**As with all exercise advice, ask your healthcare provider if you are concerned about activity, and don’t do anything that increases pain.**

I know there is at least one or two of you reading this that has been thinking, “I really should do something about my nagging knee pain.” Maybe now is the time. Why stay in pain any longer?   Book Now

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