Articles On Knee Pain
You can do many things to help knee pain, whether it’s due to a recent injury or arthritis you’ve had for years.
Follow these 11 dos and donâts to help your knees feel their best.
Donât rest too much. Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you’re not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.
Donât risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.
Do use “RICE.” Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
When To Use Caution
Paraffin wax treatments supply moist heat but overheating can cause burns.
Wonder if its safe to use ice when youre burning up with fever? Theres nothing wrong with using cold to bring down a fever, says Dr. Kriegler.
What’s Better To Treat Your Knee: Ice Or Heat
Ice and heat are the best treatment combination for you if:
- You’re looking to boost the natural power of pain relief and healing in your body.
- You don’t want to repeatedly pay the cost of injections, medications, hospital visits or surgery.
- You want to help reduce the risk of re-injury, pain or swelling in your knee.
- You want to control your own treatment and healing at home, on your own time.
- You’re looking for a tried, tested, and true method of healingthat’s been used for centuries and has worked for countless other knee pain sufferers.
How to Use Superior Temperature Treatments to Heal & Relieve Pain from Your Knee Injury!
Combining cold and warmth is a simple yet effective way to get immediate pain relief and promote long-term healing. In your lifetime you’ve probably had your mom, family doctor, nurse, surgeon or physical therapist tell you to use ice right after you’re injured and something warm from time to time once the swelling’s gone down. It’s a simple yet very effective way to relieve pain and promote healing in your knee.
Knee injuries can happen to anyone, right now there are thousands of doctors and physical therapists dealing with patients that require a solution to treat their knee injury fast and heal it .
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The Donts Of Applying Cold Packs For Arthritis
- Cold application is known to worsen the stiffness. Therefore, in general, cold packs should be in case of chronic muscle pain and on stiff joints.
- Never use cold packs on a shivering or febrile person, even the one suffering from arthritic pain; you may confuse the brain by sending wrong temperature signals, thus aggravating the already bad condition! Remember, the doctor said, use tap and NOT ice water for sponging your febrile sibling?
If You Answered With Pain In The Muscles
When we talk about pain in the knee muscles what were referring to are the major muscles around the knee joint.
These are called the quadriceps and the hamstrings. The quads are at the front of your thigh, while the hamstrings are at the back of your thigh.
You can see the knee muscles in the image below:
You might want to try alternating between heat and ice on the knee muscles if your main symptom is muscle pain.
If you applied ice alone to your knee muscles, you might get some effective pain relief, but I found that my clients complained of worsening stiffness when they treat their knee muscles with just ice. For this reason, I would suggest you try for the best of both worlds and get the pain relieving effects of ice AND the mobility improvement that heat brings.
The other advantage of trying both is that you will get the chance to feel which one works best for YOU! As everyone is different, its important to take note of how you feel after each treatment.
To use this method:
- Take a bag of frozen peas from the freezer
- Wrap a thin towel around them
- Dampen the towel slightly, then apply to the painful area for 15 minutes
- Remove the peas/towel
- Take a hot water bottle
- Apply it immediately to your knee muscles, where the ice was earlier
- Keep it there for 15 minutes, then remove
- Go back to the peas/ice and repeat the process as many times as you need
- Always look out for any signs of ice or heat burn on your skin and remove immediately if you see or feel anything.
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Using Both Heat And Ice
In some situations, applying both ice and heat to your joint may be helpful. Called contrast therapy, this treatment involves alternating between icing and heating a joint. While this option has traditionally been utilized after exercise or participating in a sporting event to aid in recovery, it may be helpful for more chronic conditions as well. This style of treatment can be performed using hot and cold packs or by alternately submerging the knee in hot and cold water.
While individuals who received contrast therapy subjectively reported less overall soreness and muscular fatigue, the research is still mixed. The current evidence is lacking on whether this treatment is helpful in managing the pain associated with a knee injury or in reducing your inflammation levels.
Use Heat To Treat Chronic Stiffness In Arthritic Joints
Heat encourages blood vessels near the surface of the skin to expand, increasing blood flow and relaxing muscles. When you wake up with sore joints, or if you feel stiff after a period of inactivity, a heating pad or a hot shower or bath will stimulate blood flow to your joints and help to make them feel more limber. A heat treatment is also a great way to prepare arthritic joints for exercise or activity.
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Types Of Warm Packs Or Pads
Dampen a towel with warm water.
Put on the affected area to ease muscle spasm.
Be sure to protect any type of heating pad device from coming in directcontact with the skin. Precautions should be taken to avoid burns,especially if you have nerve damage, such as from diabetes or other healthproblems.
When muscles work, chemical byproducts are made that need to be eliminated.When exercise is very intense, there may not be enough blood flow toeliminate all the chemicals. It is the buildup of chemicals that cause muscle ache. Because the blood supply helpseliminate these chemicals, use heat to help sore muscles after exercise.
Is Ice Better Than Heat Is Heat Better Than Ice
Ideal uses of ice and heat are roughly equal in potency which isnt very potent. Neither is strong medicine. Some experiments have shown that both have only mild benefits, and those benefits are roughly equal in treating back pain.7 The reason to use them is not that they are highly effective treatments they rarely are but because they are so cheap, easy, and mostly safe, especially compared to many other popular treatments.8
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How Does Ice Work
First, we need to understand how each of these treatments work. Lets begin with ice.
Ice has long been thought of as natures pain killer. It has powerful effects on the human body when applied to the skin, some of which we have only recently begun to understand.
Ice has been used for many years as a form of pain relief, and there are accounts of ice being used to treat injuries in the earliest days of mankind.
Ice works through a couple of mechanisms:
- Ice, when applied to the skin, produces an effect called vasoconstriction in the blood vessels which basically means the small vessels narrow and shut down blood flow to that area. Thats one of the reasons ice is so useful for swelling, such as after an ankle sprain.
- Ice also has an effect on the nerves around the area,;dampening;their signals which means we feel naturally;less pain;with an injury.
- Ice also encourages a flushing out of the potentially harmful chemicals around an injury site and reduces inflammation.
A Summary Of How Ice & Heat Affect Your Blood Flow
Imagine you’re standing in your living room at home. When the air in that room is at normal room temperature , your body is in a comfortable state. Your heart rate and blood pressure are normal .
Imagine the air has cooled down to freezing…
When the room becomes cooler your heart rate begins to slow down and your blood pressure increases. Your body does this automatically to retain heat in your body. At this time your soft tissue will also start to squeeze on and contract all of the veins in your body carrying blood flow. This also helps to decrease the amount of blood flowing throughout your circulatory system and retains the heat.
When cold is applied to a knee injury, all of your soft tissue will squeeze on the veins to slow down your blood flow. This in turn clamps down on the amount of fluid leaking into your injured tissue, decreasing your swelling. This is why cold is used immediately to treat newer knee injuries or re-injuries. The cold slows down your body to stop the amount of damage happening to your tissue and decrease your swelling. This cold also has a nice side benefit of numbing the nerves in and around your knee injury thereby decreasing your pain.
In the medical world this is something called ‘Vasoconstriction’.
Now, imagine the air has warmed up enough that you start sweating…
When the room becomes warmer your heart rate speeds up and your blood pressure decreases. Your body is trying to increase your blood flow to cool down your body.
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Types Of Electric Knee Massagers
There are generally 3 different types of knee massagers available on the market today.
- Mechanical – Rotating or vibrating knobs that can be turned with your hands in order to produce a massage. These pads are usually less expensive compared to motorized knee massagers, but may not provide as many benefits in terms of pain relief and muscle stimulation.
- Motorized – Pads with a built-in motor that allows you to create different types of massages by controlling speed and direction. If you suffer from severe knee pain, its recommended that you choose a pad with multiple settings and high-intensity levels.
- Combination – Pads that combine elements from both manual and motorized pads. Some of them have a knob that you can use to control the massage intensity, while others have a remote control that will allow you to operate the device from a distance.
Ice Vs Heat For Treating Your Knee Injury
When dealing with a knee injury it’s hard to know what treatment will work best for you. You might be wondering if ice and heat will work for you. Or maybe even which will work better – ice OR heat.
Icing and heating are 2 of the most natural treatment options available. Compared to medications, surgery and other treatment methods – icing and heating have been around for centuries and have always been used for knee injury healing as a means to soothe and heal.
We understand that it can get pretty confusing to figure out what conservative treatment method will work best with all of the treatment options available to you today. To get started, you should think about the benefits you’ll get from using these therapies.
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The Heat Is On Your Knees
Heating pads, warm baths, and other heat-based treatments tend to be best before activity. Applying heat to your knee before you hop on the treadmill or head out on a shopping excursion will improve blood flow, relax your muscles, and get your joints primed for action.
Wrap a moist heating pad in a towel and place it over your knee or knees for 15 to 20 minutes before exercise. For a do-it-yourself heating pad: Place a wet washcloth in a freezer bag and heat it in the microwave for one minute. Electric heating pads are another option for treating knee pain, provided they are not too hot.
Other ways to tap into the healing effects of heat include:
Warming your clothes in the dryer before getting dressed.
Turning your electric blanket up for a few minutes before getting out of bed.
There is one caveat to keep in mind when using heat therapy: Do not burn yourself. Avoid this by using heating pads for less than 20 minutes at a time and filling heating bottles with hotnot boilingwater.
Heat Works For Pain Relief Because Of The Actions Mentioned Below
- Increases blood supply to the affected area, resulting in increased flow of nutrients to the area and faster flushing out of wastes or toxins.
- Penetrates cells and tissues, facilitating increased oxygen uptake and enzyme activity and, consequently, tissue healing
- Stimulates sensory receptors to block pain signals to the brain, resulting in instant and effective pain relief
- Specifically in arthritis, it decreases the viscosity of joint fluid, and the less-thick fluid offers better joint lubrication. It also improves the elasticity of adjacent connective tissues
- Provides warmth, which in turn provides a feel-good effect
Just like heat, such as that in sauna, can soothe a troubled mind and nervous system, it also soothes an arthritic joint. Apply for about 15-20 minutes for mild pain and/or stiffness; and about 30 minutes for moderate pain.
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Whats Better For Knee Pain: Ice Or Heat
I get a lot of people reaching out to me to ask about the best tips for knee pain relief. Luckily, thats exactly what I do! Ice and heat are really useful, totally natural pain relieving methods for a variety of injuries. Today, we are going to talk about when you should use ice and when you should use heat for each different type of knee pain.
What Ice And Heat Are For
Ice is for fresh injuries, and heat is for stiff, aching muscles. Roughly. But the devil is in the details, and there are a lot of them.
Hasnt icing been myth-busted? Its been fashionable lately to debunk icing.1 The backlash against icing has some merit, and I love to see myths busted of course, but I think in this case its mostly a non-issue. The majority of icing is done for minor pain control, and theres really no problem with that.
Ice is for injuries calming down damaged superficial tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen. The inflammatory process is a healthy, normal, natural process that also happens to be incredibly painful and more biologically stubborn than it needs to be. Icing is mostly just a mild, drugless way of dulling the pain of inflammation and taking swelling down a bit we hope.2 Examples: a freshly pulled muscle or a new case of IT band syndrome .
Heat is for muscles, chronic pain, and stress taking the edge off symptoms like muscle aching and stiffness, which have many unclear causes,3 but trigger points are probably one of the usual suspects.4 Chronic pain, especially back pain, often involves lots of tension, anxiety, hypervigilance, and sensitization, and comfortable heat can soothe a jangled mind and nervous system. Stress and fear are major factors in many painful problems, of course.
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How Does Heat Work
When I say heat, what I mean is a warm compress, hot water bottle or wheat cushion applied to an area of skin around an injury. You could also get these effects from a hot bath or shower, but this would be a less targeted way of treating your knee.
Heat works roughly in the opposite way that ice works. It, too, has a number of effects to the body when applied around an injury:
- Heat causes an effect called vasodilation to the blood vessels around an area which means a widening of the vessels, increasing blood flow to an injured site. You wouldnt want to use heat on a recently sprained ankle
- Heat doesnt affect the nerves like ice does, but it does increase healthy blood flow to an area, which can speed up healing in some injuries . It also helps to flush away the nasties within the blood that invade an injured area.
- Heat has an effect on the surrounding muscles and joints whereby it loosens them up by making the soft tissues more elastic. This basically means you get more flexibility in a body part just by heating it up! Try to stretch a muscle in the cold, then try to stretch the same muscle after a hot shower youll find you can stretch much further after the heat treatment.