Knee Pain

Natural Solutions for Knee Pain

Knee Pain? Swelling? Stiffness? Clicking When You Walk or Run?

Knee problems affect people of all ages and can arise from injury, overuse, or due to underlying medical conditions. The most common signs and symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, redness, warmth, weakness, popping or crunching noises, and the inability to fully extend the knee.

Some Common Causes Of Knee Pain

Faulty Biomechanics: Structural abnormalities such as one hip higher than the other (i.e. pelvic imbalance) can create a leg length discrepancy and result in more pressure on one side of the body. Over time, this can lead to inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the short term, and degeneration (wear-and-tear) in the long run. Correcting these structural abnormalities is the only way to achieve a permanent solution. Medications and even surgery will only provide temporary relief if the underlying cause isn’t corrected.  A Structural Chiropractor and corrective exercises oftentimes provide full and permanent solutions.

  • Arthritis: Inflammation of the joints, due to trauma or in some cases, disease. While there are over100 different types of arthritis, the most common type by far is osteoarthritis, which is degenerative or “wear-and-tear” of the cartilage between the bones.  If left untreated, it can worsen over time and cause the knee (and other joints) to be painful and stiff.
  • Injuries: Injuries can affect the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones of the knee as well as the surrounding tissues. A few of the most common knee injuries include the following:
    • ACL sprain/tear: One of the most common injuries, especially in sports. When it occurs, it is the tear of the major ligament in the knee and happens when a sudden movement causes the ligament to overstretch and at times, tear. The symptoms include swelling, forward instability, and pain from the damaged knee.
    • Fractures: a break or crack in the bones. When a knee fracture occurs it can be painful and requires a doctor’s examination. The doctor will most likely put the fractured area in a splint or cast to help protect and heal the area.
    • Torn Meniscus: One of the most common knee injuries, which happens when the knee is forcibly twisted with a planted foot. Symptoms may include popping, swelling, stiffness, intense pain, and the inability to straighten the knee.
    • Knee Bursitis: Another very common injury, bursitis occurs when the small cushions that help the bones, tendons, and muscles around the joints become inflamed due to excessive friction due to faulty biomechanics.
    • Patellar Tendinitis: inflammation of the tissue that connects the knee cap to the shin bone. The injury commonly occurs in athletes and is treated by strengthening the muscles around the knee (quads, hamstrings, TFL/IT Band, etc).

When Should I See a Doctor?

You should see a doctor as soon as possible if any of these symptoms or signs occur:

  • Pain/Swelling/Redness
  • Clicking or popping
  • Unable to put weight on the knee
  • Can’t fully extend or flex the knee
  • Knee “gives out” or feels unstable

Treatment Options: For mild knee pain there are inexpensive, at-home treatment options that usually help such as ice/heat, rest, physical therapy and corrective exercises, and knee bracing. Also, keeping your body in good shape can help prevent future injury and knee pain. The muscles around your knee help to keep it in place and when these weaken the likelihood of having an injury increases.

More serious knee pain used to result in the almost-guaranteed prescription of pain medication, cortisone injections, and even surgery. Fortunately, the last decade has brought us more innovative methods such as Cold Laser Therapy, PRP, and stem cell therapy.

How do I treat knee pain, naturally?

  • Rest: As with most injuries, avoiding offending activities and rest is crucial.
  • Ice/Heat: Can help reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as break the pain-spasm cycle. Heat can improve circulation to the injured region. 15-20 minutes applied to the painful area can help. Do as often as needed.
  • Chiropractic: Adjustments can be done not just to the spine, but also to the knee, hips, ankles to help restore proper function to “stuck” joints.
  • Physical Therapy: Can help strengthen and improve the flexibility of the muscles surrounding the knees. Your Doctor of Physical Therapy will develop a specific, individualized program to stretch tight muscles, strengthen weak muscles, and address other structural abnormalities.
  • Supplementation: Supplements such as joint support (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, SAMe, collagen, vitamin C/zinc), omega 3s, bromelain, and turmeric can all be used for both alleviation of pain, and also to prevent further degeneration of knee cartilage. Arnica is also a great option for bumps and bruises involving the knee.
  • Shed Excess Weight: Being overweight causes extra stress on your knees. Maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the chances of added pressure and stress affecting your knees. A significant portion of knee pain will improve and even resolve with dropping excess weight.

If you are looking for a permanent solution for your knee pain, or have any questions, call us at 714 540 6792 for a free phone or in-person consultation, which is simply a conversation with our doctors to see if we can help!

Got Foot or Ankle Pain? We Can Help!

As a Structural Chiropractor, I oftentimes see people with foot or ankle injuries and pain, many of them sports-related, but most of them directly linked to something that in many cases, gets overlooked by other chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists, and even podiatrists: a pelvic imbalance, or leg length discrepancy, with a secondary left-to-right weight imbalance. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be carrying 100 pounds on the right and 100 pounds on the left, give or take 5 pounds. For example, 102 and 98 would be OK, but if you are carrying 110 lbs on one side and 90 lbs on the other, then, “Houston, we have a problem.”

That imbalance would be like going to Home Depot with your pick-up truck, buying 500 lbs of concrete, and loading 300 on one side of the truck and 200 on the other. Not only would your drive be uneven and difficult, but the side carrying the most weight would lead to accelerated wear and tear. The human body is no different. The side carrying more weight will overtime develop pain and dysfunction in the weight-bearing joints, primarily the foot, ankle, knee, and hip, eventually also affecting the low back.

Some common causes of foot/ankle pain:

Plantar Fasciitis: an inflammation or irritation of a band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. Treatment consists of foot and heel stretches and wearing shoes with proper support. Cold laser therapy can help as well.

Bone Spurs:  spurs typically develop from wearing the wrong type of shoe, an unusual walk or posture, or from running. They are abnormal growth, usually on the bottom of the heel, and are treated with shoes that have a shock-absorbing sole, orthotic inserts, heel pads, physical therapy, or cold laser therapy. As discussed before, optimizing weight distribution is crucial if you were looking for a permanent solution. Otherwise, it will only progress and worsen over time.

Tendinitis: occurs due to mechanical imbalances and repetitive irritation, wherever there are tendons in the body. Treatment can include rest, physical therapy and corrective exercises, cold laser therapy, and ice/heat.

Ankle Sprains: The most common ankle injury, sprains occur after a fall or when the ankle is twisted. When not properly treated, even a mild ankle sprain can lead to chronic pain. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness, pain behind the ankle bone, or even pain that spreads into the foot. Treatment for mild ankle sprains includes rest, ice/heat, compression or bracing, and elevation. Mechanical traction and corrective exercises can also help, as well as cold laser therapy to prevent scar tissue formation and chronicity.

So how do we minimize the risk of ankle and foot injuries? Here are a few tips to optimize foot and ankle structure and function:

  • Wear properly-sized and fitted shoes—Your feet have a natural tendency to become flatter and wider as you get older so be sure to have them properly measured each time you buy shoes.
  • See a foot specialist if needed, for a proper assessment. A podiatrist or orthopedist specializing in feet/ankles is your best option. As bipeds, we spend a great part of our life on our feet, so checking our mechanical and structural foundation is always crucial in achieving optimal health. Your specialist may recommend gait analysis, arch supports, and orthotics.
  • If overweight, shed some of those extra pounds, as that extra weight adds to the compressive forces on your entire body while you are standing or sitting, which in turn contributes to and accelerates the wear and tear on your joints.  The primary joins affected can will usually involved feet, ankles, knees, hips, and low back. The more the excess weight and the longer the time, the more joints will be affected.

As a structural chiropractor, while we focus primarily on the spine and nervous system, it is imperative to address your body’s mechanical foundation: your pelvis and your weight-bearing joints, including your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Optimize their structure, and you will see a significant improvement in their function and in your overall health.

If you are looking for options to deal with your injuries, or have any questions, call us at 714 540 6792 for a free virtual or in-person consultation, which is simply a conversation with our doctor, to see if we can help!