A patient came into the clinic last week limping with knee pain. He wanted to know if there was something we could do to help him. Here’s what he told us had been going on the last few weeks. “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 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?”
I know how frustrating it can be when you’re not sure what you’ve done to hurt your knee. It’s even more frustrating when everything you’re trying to get rid of the pain doesn’t make it better. Everyone always thinks and hopes that there will be a “quick fix” to their problem. And because we see people confused, fed-up and even skeptical about what can be done to help with their knee pain, I wanted to address this idea of “quick fixes” for your knees – or for any joint problem, whether it’s your knees, back, neck wherever, 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 –
When you’re in pain, lets face it, one of the easiest things to do is reach for the painkillers. It’s also unfortunately the first option that your doctor 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 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.
2. Resting –
When pain strikes, it’s very tempting to do nothing but rest “in case the pain gets worse”. This means many people end up laying on the couch watching their favorite TV shows… But when it comes to knee pain, ‘rest’ actually means to not do ‘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 knees, you could 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 everyday. 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 chance 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 that 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.
PODCAST EPISODE TEN
Episode 10 features Dr. Penrose interviewing Lando, the co-owner of CrossFit Cloud City Athletics. Topics of conversation include how CrossFit started, what it is, how it has exploded in popularity recently and what people can gain from it. This insightful conversation brings two people together to talk about an exercise program that has passionate participants and equally staunch opposition. Why do these two camps exist? Bridge the gap and get the inside truth behind CrossFit and what it’s really like from an owner!
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