How Knee Pain Starts
Your knee is a very complex joint but it operates in a simple way. At the knee, there are two bones – the femur and the tibia – which are connected together by tendons and ligaments. The menisci, which is the cartilage between those two bones, acts as a shock absorber. Your knee is able to laterally rotate and flex through a wide range of movements and stresses like walking, running, or jumping. Over time, though, the meniscus starts to wear down. This happens when the muscles surrounding your legs that control your knee movement are not coordinating it well. Instead of smooth rotation, the knee has a grinding movement which over time wears down the protective cartilage leaving you with a painful bone-on-bone joint.
What I have found to be true with bone-on-bone knees is that the pain you feel when walking is not actually from the bone-on-bone contact but from the GRINDING of bone on bone. The grinding is what wore down the cartilage in the first place and what fires off the pain fibers in your knee. When I treat people with knee pain, I work to get the muscles and your brain to coordinate the knee properly again. The coordination of the muscles is what stops the grinding. Now if your cartilage is completely gone you will not get that back. However, if the grinding stops you can walk pain free as long as the knee joint is being coordinated properly.
There are three ways I go about treating knee pain:
Get rid of inflammation
First we need to get rid of the inflammation in your joint because grinding creates a lot of chemical inflammation. If you have chemical inflammation around the knee it sets off your pain fibers and that is why you feel most of the pain. In my office I use a cold laser. There are over 2,000 studies showing that cold laser can decrease pain and inflammation in many different parts of the body.
I will also address your diet and potentially remove any foods that are causing a lot of inflammation in your body. There are supplements I recommend that will help to decrease the pain while promoting healing. Ultimately, inflammation and pain is not only caused from the grinding but also can be flared by what you eat.
2. Coordinate the muscles
The second thing I look at is how to get the muscles that coordinate your knee to stop grinding. Your brain is supposed to send signals down to all the muscles around the knee so they all fire in an exact sequence of coordination to keep the knee aligned. These muscles should also tense accordingly to help to take the stress off of the joint. The degeneration starts when we begin to lose that coordination. The neurology I look at addresses what is going on with the message from your brain to your knee. Why is that message getting mixed up? To address this I do a functional neurological exam to see if your brain is a part of your problem.
3. Adjust the body
Finally, getting regular chiropractic adjustments will improve the alignment of the bones, taking strain off of the joint. Adjustments help to wake up the premotor cortex and the cerebellum which are the parts of your brain that coordinate all the muscles of the knee. This is important because once the muscles around the knee are able to move smoothly it eliminates the grinding and stops the pain.
This is what is possible besides surgery, and I have had fantastic results with this approach! Below I have attached links to some testimonials from my patients talking about their knee pain before they came in and how they are doing with knee pain now.
Knee pain is only one of the MANY conditions I treat in my office. Check out my “Health Tips” to find out more about my holistic approaches to treating chronic diseases.