5 Solutions for Addressing Your Aching Joints
Knee pain at any age is never pleasant, but it can definitely be exacerbated by arthritis. This is especially true for any “wear and tear” form of the condition – including osteoarthritis, the most common chronic condition in Americans over the age of 50. It’s also important to address your pain before it intensifies, as you can create more problems for your knees by “toughing it out” and ignoring the pain.
If you are struggling for what do to when your knees start hurting, you have five principal ways to reduce your knee pain when it arises without having make plans for knee surgery. Even better, you will experience increased results if you find a way to use all of them.
1) The RICE Method
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This four-step process should be your starting point for treating your knee pain. On one hand, it’s is a very common-sense approach, but on the other hand, many people forget the “compression” part of the equation and simply move to kicking back in the recliner with a bag of frozen peas on your knee. Wearing a compression bandage delivers the essential pressure your knee needs to ensure everything stays in place and prevent friction from inflaming the joint.
Yes, you can rest too much, as your joints can lock up from lack of regular activity. We recommend a regular exercise and/or physical therapy regimen that strengthens your leg muscles and gets your joints moving. Just be sure you wear good shoes and maintain proper posture during this movement so you don’t place undue pressure upon your knee from poor biomechanics. You also might not want to engage in a full-intensity workout while your knees hurt, as the point is reducing pain through consistent motion.
3) Weight Loss
Going hand-in-hand with that regular movement to reduce your knee pain, you should find ways to lose weight. Since your knees absorb the greatest impact from the extra weight you carry, people stop exercising because it hurts their knees too much. By combining an improved diet with a low-impact exercise routine that gets your heart pumping, you can lose weight and reduce strain on your knees.
Reliable over-the-counter medication can be your friend. It’s important you look specifically for anti-inflammatory options like aspirin or ibuprofen, as this will lower your general pain and help reduce the actual joint inflammation causing the pain. Please follow the directions for use stated on the bottle, and you can also talk to your personal doctor if you think you might need prescription pain medication.
5) Injection Therapy
Before you investigate whether or not you need full-blown knee surgery to fix your knee pain, take a look into injection therapy. Two principal options exist: cortisone injections and lubricant injections. With the former, a steroid is injected into your knee to reduce the swelling and pain; for the latter, a treatment also called “viscosupplementation,” an all- natural lubricant called hyaluronic acid is injected into your knee to cushion the joint from lost cartilage due to wear and tear from osteoarthritis. In both cases, these procedures can be done in the office and takes about 10 minutes to perform.
You should never suffer in silence with your knee pain. You have options for finding the relief you need, and you should take advantage of all of them – especially if you enjoy being active.