Top 10 Knee Pain Treatments
Many different conditions can cause knee pain, but sore joints and muscles also happen after a long day of work or a hard workout. Below are 10 common knee pain treatments that can help anyone dealing with sore knees understand what to do for knee pain.
1: Over-the-Counter Pain Medications
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are over-the-counter or prescription medications that relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Some joint diseases, as well as overuse conditions like runner’s knee can cause knee inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s way of responding to an injury or strain. It can cause pain, heat, swelling, and redness. Using NSAIDs can relieve these symptoms.
Some NSAIDs are available at the pharmacy, including:
In terms of how to relieve knee pain via other medications, acetaminophen can also help reduce symptoms, though it’s not considered an anti-inflammatory drug.
2: Knee Injections to Help With Knee Pain
Knee injections are a combination of corticosteroid medications and numbing agents that are inserted into the knee joint with a needle. These knee pain treatments are safe and work well as both a runner’s knee fix and as a treatment for arthritis.
The steroids help to lower inflammation and pain while the numbing agents block pain signals in the nerves. The effects usually last about one month, but some types can last up to three months. Injections are usually covered by insurance, but a doctor needs to administer them.
Repeated knee injections can have side effects, however. They can lead to cartilage deterioration and weakened tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
There are other types of knee injections available that don’t contain corticosteroids. These include:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Platelet-rich plasma
- Stem cells
- Autologous conditioned serum
3: Essential Oils
Essential oils are aromatic liquids that come from plants and can help relieve pain. Studies show that massaging ginger oil on the knee can lower pain and stiffness and improve a person’s daily functioning over a four-week period more than massage alone.
Massaging the knee with lavender oil can also relieve knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, another study shows. Lavender can also lower stress and promote relaxation, which can be helpful for pain. For anyone wanting to know how to help with knee pain using natural products, this is one way to do it.
Essential oils should always be applied to the skin with a fatty carrier oil like almond oil or grapeseed oil to avoid skin irritation.
4: Therapy Exercises for Knee Pain
Therapy that combines strengthening exercises and stretching can help relieve pain, as well as prevent injuries and knee problems.
Healthy, well-functioning knees need strong hamstring, quad, hip, and glute muscles. When these muscles are weak, this puts stress on the knees, which causes pain. A physical therapist can help assess knee pain and design a therapy program that will target any issues.
At-home exercises can also be helpful. Some of the best exercises for knee pain at home include some gentle strengthening and stretching exercises, like squats and hamstring stretches. Make sure to do a warm-up, like taking a brisk walk, before doing stretches or strength training.
It might seem counterintuitive to exercise with a sore knee, but it’s actually very helpful for promoting healing. Exercise helps improve blood flow into the muscles, and strengthens the muscles as well. Not moving can cause joint stiffness and worsened pain.
It’s a good idea to start with some knee therapy and work up to low-impact exercise. Low-impact exercises include:
- Tai chi
To any patient or knee pain sufferer wanting to know how to stop knee pain with low-impact exercise: make sure to warm up and cool down with stretches before and after workouts to protect the knees.
Acupuncture is a treatment that applies tiny, sterile needles into the knee. These tiny needles create micro injuries that prompt the body to send natural pain-relieving endorphins and anti-inflammatory chemicals to the area. This treatment might also increase fluid and oxygen circulation to damaged tissue, which can lower pain and help in recovery.
This procedure is performed by a licensed physical therapist or licensed acupuncturist, and is safe and effective. Acupuncture might be especially helpful if other treatments haven’t worked.
7: Diet and Weight Loss
Obesity and extra weight can lead to health problems like heart disease, but it also puts pressure and strain on the knees, which can lead to sore knees.
Along with exercise, switching to an anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet can help lower inflammation and promote weight loss, which can reduce knee pain.
The Mediterranean diet includes foods like:
- Olive oil
- Whole grains
8: Biofeedback Therapy
Biofeedback is a non-invasive therapy that also treats knee pain. This therapy involves placing sensors on the body to teach people how to control their response to pain.
A therapist monitors responses to stimulation and uses different methods to train the body to respond differently to pain. These methods include meditation, deep breathing to slow the heart rate, and tightening and relaxing certain muscle groups.
One study showed that people who learned biofeedback techniques had less joint pain and disability, and the results lasted for six months. There are no side effects of biofeedback therapy.
9: RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
The RICE method is an important part of managing inflammation and pain, especially when treating acute symptoms such as during runner’s knee recovery. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Rest the knee. Put as little weight as possible on it. Don’t stand for long periods of time or try intense exercises.
Ice the knee to lower swelling and inflammation. Wrap an ice pack or frozen bag of peas in a cloth and apply it to the knee for 20 minutes at a time.
Compression can relieve discomfort. Try wearing a soft brace or bandage around the knee to support the muscles.
Elevation also helps lower swelling and helps with circulation. This also allows the knee to rest and recover.
10: CBD Balm
CBD is the non-toxic and non-psychoactive compound in cannabis called cannabidiol. It binds with the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors, including in the joints and tissues. Studies show that CBD can relieve joint pain by lowering inflammation and by blocking pain signals.
CBD comes in different formats from topical serums, concentrated balms and lotions, drops, and gummies. Muscle MX’s Activate Plus Heating Balm is a CBD balm that combines extra strength CBD with natural ingredients like caffeine oil for powerful pain relief.
Muscle Mx Can Help You Relieve Knee Pain
This is the second part of a Muscle MX series about chronic knee pain. Muscle MX carries a full range of products made with broad-spectrum CBD oil from American-grown hemp. Every batch is tested by third-party laboratories for heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents. Each batch also has its cannabinoid content profile analyzed. Check out Muscle MX for more information about how to treat knee pain with CBD products.
“Acupuncture.” Pain Doctor, https://paindoctor.com/treatments/acupuncture/. Accessed 8 August 2021.
“Fourteen home remedies for knee pain.” Medical News Today, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311280#fourteen-home-remedies. Accessed 8 August 2021.
“How Does Biofeedback Therapy For Pain Work?” Pain Doctor, https://paindoctor.com/biofeedback-therapy-for-pain/. Accessed 8 August 2021
“Joint Injections for Arthritis Pain” Arthritis Foundation, www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/treatment/treatment-plan/disease-management/joint-injections-for-arthritis-pain. Accessed 8 August 2021.