Knee pain affects up to 25 percent of adults – And it can keep you from walking, driving, playing sports, taking care of your children and living your daily life. Regardless of the cause of your knee pain, however, physical therapy can often provide help, healing and relief. Here is a look at 8 techniques that can quickly deliver pain relief and help you to get back to the activities you love and the people who depend on you.
Range of Motion Exercises
Knee pain can limit your range of motion. If it hurts to extend your leg, bend your knee or pivot on your heel, you will not put your knee joint to full use. In addition, conditions that limit your movement can add stress to your knee, and create or exacerbate pain.
That is why your physical therapist, after your evaluation, will often begin your treatment with exercises intended to improve your range of motion. These exercises, which can address your knee, hip, foot, or ankle, include gentle exercises and stretches designed to loosen the tension in your muscles and joints so you can move more freely.
Sometimes, knee pain comes from weakened muscles that cannot tolerate the strain of completing daily activities. Building these muscles up can stabilize your knee joint, as well as reduce stress on other muscles that are currently trying to compensate for the weak ones.
Your physical therapist will take the time to evaluate your specific knee problem and develop a treatment plan tailored to your body. Typically, these exercises include resistance, which forces your muscles to work against an obstacle.
These exercises do not always focus on your knee. In order to stabilize the muscles that affect the knee, you may also undergo exercises that affect your torso, hips, and legs. As you gain strength, the exercises may change, or the position in which you complete them may change, in order to build your body up quickly and effectively.
Sometimes, knee pain therapy in Santa Monica will require hands-on treatment from your physical therapist. Called manual therapy, this approach involves your therapist gently manipulating your muscles and joints in order to restore balance, positioning and pain relief. Examples of manual therapy include soft tissue massage and joint mobilization. This approach may or may not use resistance. Manual therapy in the clinic is often combined with other approaches, including at-home exercises, in order to deliver a robust and effective treatment program.
Also known as e-stim, electrical stimulation uses manageable electric impulses to treat areas of pain anywhere in the body, including the knee. These impulses are delivered through the use of electrodes attached to the desired treatment area. Do not worry, though – your body mechanic will make sure that the impulses are strong but not painful, allowing you to heal without excessive discomfort.
Ultrasound is most commonly used in knee therapy to treat osteoarthritis. In this application, your body mechanic uses low-intensity ultrasound to penetrate deep into your knee joint. This treatment is usually most effective when used over a longer period of time, often several weeks or more.
The ultrasound pulses help to generate healing activity within the body, while improving blood flow, relaxing tense muscles, and reducing inflammation. As a result, this approach can encourage the growth of healthy tissue, while reducing pain and improving your ability to use your knee.
Ice and Heat Therapy
Depending upon the cause of your pain, knee pain therapy sometimes involves the application of ice and/or heat. Using ice packs or heat packs, your therapist will apply heat or cold to the affected area of your knee.
The application of heat or ice is usually done temporarily, in order to achieve goals such as reducing inflammation, reducing pain, increasing blood flow and more. However, make sure you consult with your therapist before starting this treatment. While it seems simple, application needs to occur in the right way and at the right time to maximize your healing.
Sometimes, your knee pain is caused by, or worsened by, the way you move your body. In these cases, your therapist may engage in gait training in order to teach your body how to move in an appropriate and healthy way. This approach can reduce the pain you experience while walking or running and it can teach you how to move in such a way that you prevent future injuries related to poor movement patterns.
Bracing & Orthotics
Finally, your body mechanic may utilize braces and specialized orthotics in order to stabilize your knee and improve functionality. Usually, devices such as braces, canes, and wraps are used in the first stages of your recovery. They help to reduce pain and give you better movement, while protecting your knee from further injury. As you heal through other physical therapy techniques, chances are that you will eventually be able to put these devices aside and resume your daily activities.
If you suffer from knee pain, you can recover. Trust an experienced body mechanic like Dr. Roy Nissim. We are dedicated to finding the cause of your pain, finding the solution, and getting you out of our clinic and back to life.