A Chiropractic Approach to Knee Pain

Knee pain is one of the most common orthopedic ailments treated by chiropractic physicians. This isn’t too surprising when you stop to think about it. After all, the knee absorbs an enormous amount of stress and is designed to bend in only one direction. At the same time, though, many of the movements we make (particularly in sports) force the knee to bend slightly in other directions while still requiring it to support the full weight of the body in motion above it. If the biomechanics are off or the joint and surrounding muscles aren’t strong enough, this is a recipe for potential knee pain and injury.

chiropractic approach knee pain

But athletics don’t account for as much of today’s knee pain as you might suspect. The larger culprits are obesity and sedentary lifestyles.  You may not realize it, but this combination isn’t just bad for cardiovascular and metabolic health. It’s also bad for musculoskeletal health!  All that extra weight adds to the daily wear and tear on the body’s frame—bones, muscles, and joints. But especially the knees!  We suspect this is one of the key reasons we’re seeing a dramatic increase in some types of knee surgery as well as full knee replacements among patients who are still relatively young.

  • In cases involving torn knee cartilage, many patients undergo a minimally-invasive surgery called a “partial meniscectomy” that trims and removes the torn pieces so that they don’t interfere with the knee’s function. About 700,000 people undergo this procedure in the US every year at an estimated cost of roughly $4 billion.
  • Over the past decade, there has been a major increase in the rate of total knee replacements (also called “knee arthroplasties”), with rates expected to rise by as much as 670% by 2030, amounting to a staggering 3.48 million procedures.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that it doesn’t have to come to this. The chiropractic approach to knee pain starts with prevention and favors early, conservative treatments that don’t involve the risks associated with surgery and drugs.

Wear the proper shoes for your needs and use custom orthotics if appropriate.  If your feet are overpronated (roll to the inside) or supinated (roll to the outside), or if you have fallen arches, it can affect your biomechanics when you stand, walk or run.  Over time, this can lead to compensation higher in the body that produces uneven wear and tear on your knees and increases the risk of injury.  The same thing is true for your hips and back.

Your chiropractor can analyze the structure of your foot as well as your posture and gait (the way you move when you walk and run) to assess your biomechanics.  If necessary, he or she may recommend custom orthotics as well as exercises or changes to your biomechanics in order to relieve pain, prevent future problems and (if you’re an athlete) improve performance.

Be smart about how you exercise and listen to your body.  This can be a particular problem for “weekend warriors.”  Many middle age adults (more men than women) overestimate the physical condition they’re in.  They often can’t or don’t exercise regularly during the week but still want to go all-out in weekend competition.  This can contribute to an overloading of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in knees that aren’t strong enough to handle the sudden surge in physical demands.  It’s not surprising that acute knee injuries and/or an accumulation of micro-tears are frequently the result.   

Lose weight if you need to—and the sooner the better.  Any high-impact activities are extra hard on the knees if you’re overweight, but exercise is clearly critical to burning more calories and reversing the situation.  What can you do?  The answer is to focus on lower-impact activities that burn lots of calories while saving your joints until you achieve a more normal weight.  Swimming, rowing and cycling are all good candidates.

It’s important to recognize and get ahead of this issue early, since being overweight or obese can lead to chronic joint problems, which can reduce your ability to be active.  This in turn increases the risk that you’ll gain even more weight in the future.  One of the best ways to reduce unnecessary wear-and-tear on your knees, hips and back and to avoid the vicious cycle of weight gain, musculoskeletal pain and inactivity is to lose extra pounds EARLY!

Increase your strength and flexibility.  Concentrate on strengthening and stretching the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) muscles, since these provide the greatest support to the knees and ensure that the patella tracks properly.  Women are especially prone to improper patellar tracking, which places more stress on the ligaments of the knee.  This creates a popping or grinding sound when you bend the knee, often accompanied by pain.  Yoga and Pilates are good ways to keep the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the leg and knee strong and flexible.

Get regular chiropractic treatmentA well-trained and experienced chiropractic physician will be able to perform a variety of specialized adjustment, manipulation and mobilization techniques that can relieve pain and improve function in the knees.  In certain cases, manual therapies such as chiropractic care may offer just as much benefit to knee injury patients as arthroscopic surgery.  A group of researchers who recently published their findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looked specifically at the effectiveness of a common procedure called “arthroscopic meniscal debridement” for age-related meniscus tears in middle-aged patients and concluded that more conservative (non-surgical) treatment should actually be the preferred first-line option.

Know your options.  All of this is NOT to say that surgery isn’t sometimes necessary or helpful to relieve pain and help people lead an active, healthy lifestyle.  Knee replacement surgery offers new mobility to patients whose joints have been compromised and has allowed millions of people to be active once again, when previously they would have had to be confined to a wheelchair.

However, we believe that patients should explore more conservative options before deciding on surgery.  Chiropractic care and other manual therapies have many advantages over treatments that involve surgery and drugs.  This has been pretty well established when it comes to relieving chronic back and neck pain and restoring mobility.  Now there’s new evidence that this may apply to a common knee injury as well.  For instance, a recent study conducted in Finland found that patients who underwent a partial meniscectomy to address problems related to torn knee cartilage were actually no better off than patients in a control group who received a “simulated” surgical treatment (the surgical equivalent of a placebo).  And another recent study demonstrated that physical therapy was just as effective as knee surgery for patients with both a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis.

So—in our view—the best thing you can do is to take good care of your knees NOW, before the need for surgery arises.  Remember—the things you do today can prevent serious problems tomorrow.  Call or visit our office today to learn more!

Healthcare Responsibility

Opinions towards healthcare have changed in recent years and of course, different Healthcare Responsibility problems are solved with different reactions. For example, tripping and falling down a flight of stairs will create a completely different approach than being pregnant and going into labour. However, society is now starting to address longer lifespans and what the costs of what’s now known as ‘lifestyle diseases’ are, meaning that disease prevention is taken more seriously. In addition to this, early intervention is also seen as a more important factor as we realize how vital it can be to spot health problems early on. 

Even the Affordable Care Act as part of the national healthcare policy now states that certain services are to be covered when it comes to preventative care. People are also now being made aware of what tests and examinations should be done at what age by their private insurers as well as how each medication works and how to use them efficiently. The changes have even made an impact in the workplace as many companies have rolled out a ‘wellness program’ to ensure the best health for its employees. Although both the public and private sector has improved their stance on healthcare, it is still important to note that the main person in charge of your health is you. It is great that all these programs are set up and ready to help but you still know your body better than anyone else and nobody is affected by your wellness as much as you. So despite interest levels from elsewhere, is should still be you that has the most interest in prevention and early intervention. 

Perhaps the most common workplace injury is to the musculoskeletal system and these are the ones that we have to be aware of most as nobody else will be able to see it from the outside. Musculoskeletal damage often causes pain in the bones, joints and muscles and can, in turn, have a great impact on our strength, balance, stamina and more. The biggest problem in this area is that people often think that it is a natural side-effect of ageing where this isn’t completely true. By becoming healthier and attending regular chiropractic sessions, we can delay the ‘effects of ageing’. 

How Can A Chiropractor Help? – Chiropractors are fully qualified and trained to manipulate your spine in a certain way to re-align and relieve any back, neck and joint pain. These small movements are known as ‘adjustments’ and can reduce pain as well as improve mobility. 

Of course, the main reason for visiting a chiropractor is to alleviate any pain that is being experienced but it should also be looked at as a long-term health benefit. Chiropractors are trained with prevention in mind so don’t just act to remove pain but to also keep it away in the future. Physicians know that a person’s decisions on a daily basis will affect general health and so the most important thing is to keep the pain away so they do not have to visit the chiropractor on a regular basis. 

There are some things that you can do to prevent the possibility of these pains ever being a problem. You should try to: keep a healthy diet, keep active, lose weight if required, achieve enough sleep, maintain a good posture, lift heavy items correctly, and be responsible with alcohol.  It really is important to take responsibility of your own health so that you won’t be suffering further down the line!

Chiropractic Care and Your Kids

Chiropractic care is growing at an amazing rate and over the years, many US families have begun to see the advantages of getting the best from their chiropractic physicians for both themselves AND their children! These days, every chiropractor has sound knowledge and experience to help assist with the many issues or needs that may arise as your child grows into a healthy young adult.

chiropractic care and kids

Your Children Can Benefit
After growing up in the home, many children are carted off to school and as they began to mesh with the other children, new playstyles, behaviours, and environments are open to them. This can cause a number of different spinal and nervous system issues, greatly impacting their future health. Sitting incorrectly in the classroom, lugging heavy bags around, pay fighting and injuring themselves on the playground or field, and much more come into play, causing some health risks along the way.
There is actually evidence that implementing a routine of chiropractic care can alleviate cold and flu symptoms, and eve hay fever! This doesn’t mean you should take your kids to the chiropractor the next time they get the sniffles, but it can mean a better immune system and less visits to the doctors. This saves you the pain, heartache, and most importantly, the money!

Treating Infant Children
There is absolutely no minimum age that is required before chiropractic care can be implemented towards your child as every individual has a customized experience based on their exact situation and measurements, factoring in their height and weight. Many chiropractors actually advise early sessions with babies as they could be able to spot any spinal issues that could lead to a number of illnesses, such as ear infections, asthma, and colic. Early detection for other serious issues could also be a great help in ensuring the great health of your child/children.

Communication is Vital
Communication becomes ever more important as you may have a number of different specialists and professionals who will be covering your child’s health. Creating a dedicated team of medical professionals and ensuring that complete communication is available between all parties is essential to properly maintaining your children’s health. Always keep in mind that a professional chiropractor will ALWAYS tell you if the problem is way beyond their abilities, instead opting to direct you to a different specialist.

The ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) have many pediatric chiropractors as members, which means that they have successfully finished their postgraduate courses on pregnant mother, infant, and children care. This not-for-profit institution was established by Larry Webster, DC, in 1986 and provides a number of amazing training seminars and workshops for many dedicated professionals, including chiropractic certification.

Many studies have now proven that children who do indeed attend regular and consistent chiropractic sessions grow into adults with great posture, immune systems, and generally feel happier. If you are looking for more information on this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact, send a message, or walk into the office as we are always happy to assist!

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