A patient came into the clinic a few weeks ago limping with knee pain and asked: “I’ve had this knee pain for a few weeks now. I’m not sure what I’ve done to it but I’ve tried taking painkillers and that didn’t help. I was trying to rest it so that it wouldn’t hurt. But whenever I stood up and started moving, it hurt again. Now I’m wearing a brace to see if that helps, but I can still feel the pain when I take it off. Is there anything else I can do to get rid of the pain?” Everyone always thinks and hopes that there will be “quick fixes” to their problem.
I know how frustrating it can be when you’re not sure what you’ve done to hurt your knee. It can be even more frustrating when everything you’re trying to get rid of the pain – doesn’t do a thing. Because we see people confused and even skeptical about what can be done to help, I wanted to address this idea of “quick fixes”. Either for your knees – or for any joint problem and tell you why they’re no good. With that said, here’s the 3 most common “quick fixes” that people THINK ease their knee pain, but that actually do the opposite:
1. Reaching For The Painkillers.
Let’s face it, when you’re in pace, one of the easiest things to do is reach for the painkillers to “kill” the pain, quick. It’s also unfortunately the first option that your Doctor or GP will give you to help your knee pain. But the thing is, painkillers won’t get to the root cause of your problem and actually do an anything to fix it – they just mask the pain instead, which doesn’t help anyone. And at the end of the day, that pain will still be there when the painkillers wear off. So it’s better to do something to fix your pain long-term instead.
When pain strikes, it’s very tempting to do nothing but rest “in case the pain gets worse”, which means many people end up laying on the sofa watching their favorite TV shows… But when it comes to knee pain, ‘rest’ actually means to not to ‘too much’. If you rest too much (A.K.A not move much at all), your joints will become stiff and tight, which can make your knees feel even more achy when you try to move them. To actually help your knee, you should go swimming, go for a light walk, yoga or go for a cycle – basically any low impact exercise will help keep you moving and not place any added pressure on your knees.
3. Wearing A Support.
Things like knee supports should ONLY be used as a last minute resort. Wearing a support on your knee on a daily basis to try and ease the pain is actually masking the pain and creating an even bigger problem! The best way I can explain it is to imagine you have a broken leg or arm and you have a cast put on. After 6 weeks or so, when the cast is taken off, the muscles underneath are weak – it’s exactly the same as wearing a support every day. Because it supports your joint, it takes the pressure off your muscles, but doing this everyday will make your muscles lazy, which will make them weaker. Once you take off that support because it’s eased the pain, there’s a very strong change it could come back quicker and worse than before!
So there you have it, 3 ‘quick fixes’ that people think ease their knee pain, but do the opposite. Painkillers, rest, and wearing a support. When it comes to your joints, these quick fixes are not the way forward to fix your problem long-term. That’s everything from me this week, I’ll be back again next week with more help and advice on knee pain, until then, stay well and have a great week!
P.S. If you want to hear more healthy tips from Dr. Penrose, tune into her monthly podcast “Stay Healthy South Sound” on iTunes, Google Play or Spotify. This month, Dr. Jennifer Penrose interviews Craig Dickson on mental health and its importance. Craig has his Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling. He has worked with kids and adults regarding loss, negative thought patterns, anxiety, depression and troubled teens and families.
Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen#/sulp