Knee pain, in general, is one of the most common types of pain people experience in the U.S. In fact, knee pain is the second most common cause of chronic pain. When you consider the fact that the knees are among the most regularly used joints in our body, it’s not surprising that problems can easily occur.
In addition, a wide range of issues can cause knee pain. Some of these issues are acute, meaning they can last a short time and may go away on their own or with treatment. However, chronic knee issues last for an extended period of time. If you suffer from chronic knee issues, you’ll need to understand the causes, associated symptoms, and available treatments to manage your chronic knee pain effectively.
Chronic knee pain is defined as pain that persists for more than three months. It can vary in intensity, but it typically causes consistent discomfort and pain. Chronic knee pain can also be accompanied by swelling and stiffness in the affected joint.
It is important to note that chronic knee problems are not always caused by an injury or medical condition. Chronic knee issues often result from overuse or wear and tear from everyday activities such as walking, running, or climbing stairs.
Acute knee pain generally occurs suddenly and lasts for a short period. It is often the result of an injury or medical condition such as a fracture, torn ligament, or infection. Acute knee pain can usually be treated with rest, ice, and physical therapy.
Acute knee pain is temporary and is caused by issues that either heal with time or can be cured or repaired. On the other hand, chronic pain tends to be long-term and can be caused by problems that linger or are permanent. As such, chronic knee pain can be more challenging to treat than acute knee pain.
There are a variety of symptoms that indicate you may be suffering from chronic knee pain. The following are some of the common symptoms that are caused by chronic knee problems:
Certain chronic knee issues can cause the knee joint to become inflamed, which can lead to swelling and stiffness. If swelling or stiffness is present, it can make the knee tender to the touch and make it difficult to move or bend the joint.
Chronic knee pain can also reduce the mobility of the joint. This means it will be challenging to move, bend, or extend the affected knee, whether it’s too swollen or stiff to move or too painful to move.
If your knee is inflamed or infected, it might be warm to the touch and appear red. This can also indicate that an underlying medical condition is causing your chronic knee pain.
If you hear a clicking sound (or even a grinding sound) when you bend your knee, this could indicate a problem with the cartilage in your knee. This can be caused by conditions such as arthritis, which can lead to chronic knee pain.
Knee instability can be a symptom of chronic knee pain. If you feel like your knee is giving out or buckling when you put weight on it, this could be a sign of an underlying issue. This can occur due to weakened knee ligaments or even damage to the cartilage in the joint.
Finally, if you are experiencing a persistent ache or discomfort in your knee that lasts for more than three months, this is an indication of chronic knee pain. It’s important to note that the intensity and type of pain can vary depending on the underlying cause of your chronic knee issues.
In our everyday life, we perform movements such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs, or bending down to tie our shoes almost automatically. And, if we are able to perform these movements, it is thanks to the knee’s complex structure of bones, ligaments,...
Living with chronic knee pain can have a serious effect on your life, both physically and emotionally. Over time, the pain and discomfort can result in a decreased quality of life, as well as other long-term effects such as:
Because the knees are some of the more used joints in the body, there are countless issues that can lead to chronic knee pain. With that in mind, these are some of the common causes of chronic knee pain:
Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons connected to the knee joint. It can be caused by overuse or aggravated due to activities such as running or jumping. It can lead to chronic knee pain, swelling, and stiffness, which can limit mobility.
Bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed. The bursa is a small sac located between the knee joint’s bones and tendons. The bursa protects the knee joint from friction and wear and tear. Thus, if it becomes inflamed, it can cause chronic pain in the knee joint. Infection or trauma to the joint can cause bursitis. Bursitis often causes chronic knee pain, swelling, and tenderness when applying pressure to the area.
Ligament tears can be caused by direct trauma to the knee or overuse, leading to chronic knee pain. Ligament tears are a common sports-related injury due to the high forces applied to the knee joint when running or jumping. If a ligament is torn, it can cause instability in the joint and chronic pain.
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can cause chronic knee pain. This condition is often caused by age-related wear and tear on the joint, but it can also be caused by an underlying medical issue. Arthritis in the knee joint can cause pain, stiffness, and decreased joint mobility. It’s important to mention that there are many kinds of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can occur in the knee joint and affects millions of people worldwide. It is caused when the cartilage cushioning the bones wears down over time. This can leave bone rubbing against bone, causing chronic pain in the knee joint. It’s estimated that 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women over the age of 60 suffer from osteoarthritis knee pain.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome occurs when the kneecap does not move properly within the knee joint. Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be caused by tight muscles and tendons, weak quadriceps muscles, or alignment issues in the knee. This condition can lead to chronic pain, knee discomfort, and a clicking sensation when bending the joint. It’s important to note that this condition is more common in women and athletes, especially those involved in running sports.
Although many issues that cause chronic knee pain simply develop due to wear and tear over time, chronic knee pain can also be caused by various injuries and trauma. The following are a few examples of injury or trauma-induced conditions that can lead to chronic knee pain:
Several risk factors can increase an individual’s chances of developing chronic knee pain. The following are a few of the most common risk factors associated with chronic knee pain that you should be aware of:
As people age, their bones and joints naturally become weaker due to wear and tear over time. This can cause the cartilage surrounding the knee joint to break down, resulting in chronic pain. In addition, older adults are more prone to falls which can result in direct trauma or injury to the knee joint, leading to chronic pain.
Certain sports and occupations can put additional strain on the knee joint, leading to injury or trauma. For example, activities that involve jumping or running put a lot of pressure on the knee joint, which can cause direct trauma or injury to the knee joint. Similarly, certain occupations, such as construction work, may involve repetitive motions that can also put extra stress on the knee joint.
Previous knee injuries can increase a person’s risk of developing chronic knee pain. This is because previous injury or trauma to the joint can weaken the structure of the joint, making it more prone to further injury or trauma.
When visiting a doctor, they will evaluate your knee pain by asking how long you have had it, what activities make the pain worse or better, and if there has been any previous injury to the knee joint. They will also ask about the type of pain you’re feeling and whether you’re experiencing any other symptoms. They will then do a physical examination of the knee joint, looking for any signs of inflammation, instability, or swelling by testing the knee’s mobility, flexibility, and range of motion.
It’s important to note that chronic knee pain is a symptom, not a condition. As such, certain imaging tests will likely be required to determine what the underlying cause is. Tests such as X-rays or MRIs can be used to assess joint integrity and detect any structural damage that may be causing the pain. Once the underlying cause of the knee pain has been identified, further treatment and rehabilitation can be recommended.
Because there are so many underlying conditions that can cause chronic knee pain, there are many ways that traditional doctors will recommend treating it. The following is an overview of the treatment options that are available for chronic knee pain:
Most traditional doctors will stick to conventional measures to treat chronic knee pain. These include the following:
In cases where chronic knee pain is caused by a serious issue, such as a severely damaged or torn ligament, surgery might be recommended to repair the knee joint. Surgery is usually the last option and should only be considered after all other treatments have been exhausted.
Surgical procedures are extremely invasive and can lead to complications, such as infections or nerve damage. Not to mention, the recovery time can be long, and there’s no guarantee of success. As such, it should only be considered a last resort.
Keeping this in mind, the following are the two primary types of surgeries that are done to help address severe chronic knee pain problems:
Where your knee pain will go away depends on the underlying cause of the knee pain. For example, certain injuries can heal over time, whereas conditions like arthritis are permanent and cannot be cured. However, there are treatments available that can help to reduce the severity of knee pain and improve mobility.
At Neuragenex, we avoid many conventional treatment methods for chronic knee pain. Our drug-free, non-surgical Neurofunctional Pain Management protocols apply a whole-body approach to address the root cause of your knee pain and deliver long-term relief, which is why we avoid the use of pain medications, which only address the symptom and can cause side effects as well as be habit-forming. Additionally, we avoid any treatment solutions that present a potential health risk, whether it’s invasive surgical procedures or chiropractic treatment.
Our Neuragenex protocol includes electroanalgesia and IV therapy, both of which can help reduce inflammation in targeted areas, such as the knee, to reduce painful symptoms associated with chronic knee pain. Electroanalgesia uses high-pulse currents to block pain signals, release endorphins, and reduce muscle spasms. IV therapy can help reduce symptoms by providing vital vitamins and minerals, improving overall health and well-being, and reducing pain.
Electroanalgesia is a pain management technique that uses high-pulse electrical current to ease pain, boost blood circulation, improve mobility, and induce...
IV nutritional therapy, or intravenous therapy, involves administering vital nutrients directly to the bloodstream through an IV. This type of treatment bypasses the digestive system, allowing for maximum absorption and utilization of nutrients by the...
Lifestyle counseling is an approach to managing chronic pain that involves identifying, assessing, and modifying lifestyle factors contributing to an individual's pain. For example, lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical activity, stress, sleep quality...
As part of our holistic approach to pain management, we also provide our patients with lifestyle counseling. This involves everything from diet and nutrition recommendations to specific exercises and ways to manage stress. Keeping that in mind, the following are some of the things you can do to avoid chronic knee pain:
At Neuragenex, we believe that long-term relief from chronic knee pain is possible. By using a holistic approach to pain management that addresses the root cause of your chronic knee pain, we can help you get back to doing the things that you love without pain or limitation. If you’re ready to start moving again, contact us today to learn more about our Neurofunctional Pain Management program and how it can help you find lasting relief from chronic knee pain.
We take great pride in the wealth of talent and expertise that our providers have as they improve the health outcomes of our patients, each and every day.
Dr. Victor Osisanya is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his medical degree from Chicago Medical School. Upon completion of...
Ashley Locus is a Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner who began her career in healthcare as a registered nurse in 2013, working in a diverse array of healthcare settings including the emergency department, critical care, case management,...
Dipa is a double board-certified Nurse Practitioner in Family as well as Adult-Gerontology Acute Care. She graduated with her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Mercer University in Macon, GA and her Master’s in Nursing from Columbia...
Emma Henigman is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Lakeview College of Nursing and then her Master of Science in Nursing at Olivet Nazarene University. Emma started...
Dr. Joanne Wu is an accomplished physician leader specializing in integrative and functional rehabilitation. In addition, as a certified holistic health coach, as well as an experienced registered yoga and fitness teacher, she is dedicated...
Over the last 18 years he has worked in family practice and as a civilian contractor for the Department of State spending almost 5 years split between Iraq and Afghanistan. During his medical missions overseas,...
Dr. Johnny Ross was born and raised in Waco, Texas. He graduated from Waco High school, McLennan Community College and Baylor University. He attended The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and completed...
Originally from Jacksonville, FL, Dr. Williams enlisted in the United States Air Force after graduating from high school. After serving honorably in the military, he enrolled in college at the University of North Florida where...
John Ham is a board certified physician assistant with extensive experience working in rehabilitation services, musculoskeletal medicine, and pain management since 2004. He received his PA degree with a masters in medical science from Midwestern...
Dr. Mikuzis is also a certified life care planner (CLCP, LCP-C). He has studied extensively and trained with physicians including programs sponsored by The American Association of Orthopedic Medicine, The American Academy of Osteopathic Medicine,...
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