Achieving Optimal Healing and Wellness Through Integrative Care

At Kirkland Health Institute in Kirkland, WA, we strive to educate our patients on chronic health conditions and the ways that natural healing can help them. Our blogs provide reliable information on how you can lead a more active lifestyle and take steps toward healthy living.

Chronic Knee Pain

February 4, 2016

What Can You Do About Chronic Knee Pain?

Is surgery your only option?

Is chronic knee pain holding you back from doing the things you’d like to do in life?

  • Taking more walks
  • Enjoying the grand kids more
  • Traveling
  • Enjoying sports
  • Just enjoying life in general…

What can you do? More often than not, knee surgery is recommended, which is not a option you’d like to choose. So many clients that come to me say they are told they have lost the cartilage in their knee, or knees, and their knees are bone on bone, hence, they are told that knee replacement surgery is the only that can help.

Good for you for continuing to look for other options, because they are out there. We’ve worked with many people who have either been told they need the surgery, or they have already had it and it has not been successful. It hasn’t made a difference whether they have been young or old, man or woman, athletes or non-athletes, we have seen such improvement, mobility is restored, and life is resumed.

Let’s begin by understanding the knee joint:

The knee joint is the body’s largest joint and is comprised of ligaments, cartilage, tendons and bones. Running through the knee are arteries and veins as well as nerves that come from the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. The 3 bones that make up the knee are the thigh bone (femur), the knee cap (patella), and the shin bone (tibia). Also included is a 4th bone which connects to the tibia called the fibula (a bone that is often overlooked by doctors when they are diagnosing or treating chronic knee pain). There are muscles that surround these 3 bones that begin at the hip, muscles that begin at the knee and travel down to the leg and ankle, and a muscle behind the knee called the popliteus, or the “key to unlocking the knee”.

Our way of assessing and treating chronic knee pain:

We begin by looking at the whole picture to understand what the real problem is. The knee is not only unique, but complex because its many moving parts can be affected by the whole body. Pain in the knee may not even be caused by the knee…we like to take a broader look.

You’ve heard the song “Dem Bones” where it talks about how all the bones of the body are connected…well, it’s really true, and all these connections can affect one another and cause pain that may seem unrelated to its origin.

At the Kirkland Health Institute, our evaluation begins at the feet and ankles, which are connected to the knees by muscles and bones, the fibula and tibia. It is highly possible that these bones, due to foot problems, could be misaligned, thus causing knee problems. Some ankle/foot problems, i.e. flat feet or old injuries such as sprained ankles have been know to cause some serious knee pain and damage. One way of addressing these problems would be getting fitted with a good pair of custom orthotics.

The next point of our evaluation moves up to the hip joint where the muscles that surround the knee begin. The thigh muscles, commonly known as the ‘Quads” (Vastus Medialis and Vastus Lateralus) and the Iliotibial band could be either too weak or too strong, which creates an imbalance and can significantly impact the knee joint.

Nerves are another area of concern, and we take a close look at the nerves associated with the lumbar spine that travel from the spine to the hip to the thigh, knee, leg, ankle and foot. These nerves, due to an impingement, may be making it difficult to send energy that facilitates healing.

The lumbar spine itself could be the origin of the chronic knee pain. As people age, they may develop degenerative lumbar spines, often called arthritis. There are treatments that can help ease the strain of that portion of your spine.

Along with bones and muscles, we take a close look at the adrenal glands (which in Chinese medicine are closely associated with the knee). Something we look for is adrenal fatigue, which may not be an exact science but should always be evaluated. If adrenal problems are present, there are natural products that help.

The final place we assess is the place of pain, your knee. We look specifically at the muscles, bones and tendons to determine if the knee is the actual cause of the pain or if there is another part of the body that is causing it.

As you can see, more than “just” the knee should be evaluated, your entire kinetic chain should be checked if you are to get the pain relief that will allow you to take your life back.

One of the powerful treatments we may choose to use is “Cold Laser Therapy”. Cold laser therapy is an FDA cleared modality for pain control, inflammation reduction and accelerated healing. The science behind cold lasers is based on using a wavelength that penetrates the body to an appropriate level and using a pulsing frequency or continuous wave that interacts with the tissue to inhibit or excite the damaged area. Studies have shown that laser light is absorbed by healthy tissue but it does not trigger a reaction.

If you’re experiencing chronic knee pain, Contact The Kirkland Health Institute, together we’ll find out what is at the root of the pain, we’ll treat the cause, not just the symptom!

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