I get many questions in my office from people dealing with knee issues. Many are making some very poor (even dangerous) choices in trying to actually deal with the pain.
Here are 7 easy-to-use solutions to help you fix the problem rather than mask the symptom.
Before we break them down, it’s important for you to know that there can be many causes of knee issues. I’m going to give you some blanketed solutions that will help manage and handle all of them. Of course, as with everything, you’ll want to talk to a healthcare provider to know for sure what you’re dealing with. Here are some possible causes.
6 Causes of Knee Pain
1. Overuse or Tendonitis. A very common cause of knee problems. The repetitive motion, constant damage, taxing stress and overuse is hard on the joint and the tendons of the knee. The damage leads to tendonitis and inflammation.
2. Poor Biomechanics. The bones and joints are out of alignment. Compare this to a tire being out of alignment. If you drive the tire a long distance when it’s out of alignment, it’s going to wear it down faster. Biomechanically, you may be off in the pelvis, the spine, the knees themselves, the tibia, the fibula, the kneecap, or even have an ankle problem that’s causing the entire unit to be biomechanically out of place. All of these misalignments can cause a knee problem. Remember, the pain is just an indicator that something is going on. Your body is trying to tell you something. Are you listening?
3. Muscular. People need to keep in mind that the knee itself moves because the quadriceps and hamstring muscles tell it to move. Their primary job is to bend and move the knee. So, oftentimes, when there’s a pain associated with the knee, there is something going on with one of those muscles. Too tight, too loose, or injured.
4. Arthritis. This is the most often blamed culprit. “Bone-on-bone” or “Arthur has got me” is a common patient diagnosis I hear. Bone-on-bone is an over exaggerated way to describe an arthritic knee problem and is rarely the case from a lot of the x-rays and testing that I’ve seen as I’ve taken care of thousands of people over the years. What I have found is the spacing in between the bones that meet in the knee can degenerate. They can wear down more on one side than the other and there can be bone spur formation. Rarely is it an issue of there is nothing left, it’s more of an issue of too much weight and bad biomechanics.
5. Weight. Research shows one pound of weight gain on the “upper” body puts four pounds of weight pressure on the lower joints.1 So if you are carrying around ten pounds of extra weight, you’re putting 40 extra pounds of pressure on your knees. That’s a way to wear the tires down very quickly! Try a 10-minute workout daily to get it under control.
6. Ligament or Cartilage Issues. If you have one of these, you’re probably going to know it pretty quickly.
You’ll hear some level of a pop, feel a sudden jerk, or experience a movement that tears or damages the ACL, MCL or meniscus. These are going to be very swollen, very painful, causing a lack of movement. If unsure and it has been a few days and it’s still hurting significantly, you will definitely want to get these check things checked out.
If it’s more of a sudden sports injury where you know there’s an ACL or something involved, please go see a health professional. Make sure you take care of those immediately. Natural remedies are not the first place to start if you are believed to have a ligament or cartilage issue. These can create larger long-term problems, making you very unstable.
Traditional approaches are steroids, NSAIDs, and pain relievers. These are a huge problem in today’s environment with opioids, addiction problems, and other health-related issues that come along with these toxic solutions. They may bring relief but they don’t fix the cause and their risk may outway their benefit.
The other traditional approach is surgery. Research has shown though that arthroscopic knee surgery is no better than a placebo.2 The New England Journal of Medicine study took 180 people and split them into two groups. With one, they did actual arthroscopic knee surgery. The other group, they only pretended to do it. There was no difference in relief seen between the two groups.
Other surgeries include total or partial knee replacements which are a very common thing. But again, those things are, I believe, overused. There’s a lot we can do before ever getting to that point. Putting a new tire on a car when it is out of alignment, carrying a bunch of extra weight, and improperly used will just lead to another blown tire. The same applies to the knee. Causes need to be addressed for real health.
Here are the seven natural health remedies so you can get relief, but not have to take the traditional approaches.
1. Rest. Especially when you have an overuse injury. With inflammation, rest and use the old rice principle. Rest it. Ice it. Elevate it. Just help keep the knees stable and comfortable. This is a good idea, especially if it’s very inflamed. The body is trying to protect itself. If it is very inflamed it needs to be rested to help calm the injury down.
2. Chiropractic Adjustment. Misalignments to the spine, pelvis, hips, knees, or feet may be the cause. This shifting can cause more weight on the knee and biomechanically cause the problem. Shifts with the tibia or the fibula, the bones of the knee, can be set back into position. The kneecap itself can be guided back in the right position. The talus or the ankle joints might be causing a biomechanical gait problem. See a chiropractor. Get a chiropractic alignment, and get the biomechanics corrected.
3. Movement. This may be what is needed. Movement seems counterintuitive for most, but many times the joint needs to be lubricated and moved. You don’t have knee pain because you’re using it too much. It’s that you’re not using it properly.
So, some simple movements that you can do:
- Step Ups. Do this literally on a step. Just step up and down off of the step. That movement activates the hamstring, getting motion into the knees. It’s very knee-friendly. Now if you’re jumping, that’s going be more of a ballistic movement, and it’s harder on the knees. But stepping is simple and knee friendly.
- Lunges. when done properly where the knee does not go past the toe, is actually very good for the hamstrings, quads and the muscles of the knee to get proper motion.
- Hamstring Curls. If you have access to a hamstring curl machine, you can engage the posterior muscles of the knee. This can relax the front side of the knee and help clear out any knee issues and knee pain.
4. Stretching. We talked about how the muscles of the quadriceps and the hamstring actually help move the knees. So when you stretch those areas, that can help remedy pain.
A couple of simple stretches that you can do are: (See Video for the Demos)
- Quadriceps stretch – Outside/Lateral, Inside/Medial, and Center.
- Hamstring Stretch – Outside/Lateral, Inside/Medial, and Center.
- TFL Stretch (Hip Joint to Knee)
5. Omega Supplement. If you get 1200-2400 milligrams of omega-3 into your system, it’s equivalent to taking an NSAID for relieving pain.3 Instead of having harmful ibuprofen, Tylenol, or aspirin that are hard on the liver and the kidneys, you can take omegas. 1200-2400 milligrams of high-quality Omega-3 will give you that anti-inflammatory response that you’re looking for in a safe manner.
6. Turmeric. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory plant, shown to decrease inflammation in the entire system.4 It is also has a high antioxidant capacity, turmeric is five to eight times stronger than vitamins C and E. 500 to 2,000 milligrams on a daily basis is a therapeutic dose. Turmeric can be put right into a smoothie or taken in tablet form. We have this in our joint health formula along with other powerful joint essentials.
7. Coconut Oil. has actually been shown to increase the blood flow to the joint area and can be more effective than an NSAID at relieving pain.5 Just apply coconut oil daily to the joint and massage it in. It has a lot of antimicrobial properties and benefits the skin as well.
BONUS: Collagen. Collagen has been shown to actually lubricate the joints, improve mobility, and build healthy ligaments and tendons. For a healthy joint boost in your smoothie try Collagen Protein.
There are plenty of natural remedies that you can play with. Not all are the same for every condition, but great options as opposed to going for harmful medications. There are a lot of good solutions out there from which you can get relief. You may have to try a few different ones to determine what’s the best for you.
I would highly encourage getting the weight off, regardless of your knee or joint condition, as well as getting proper movement and stretching. Check the alignment or you may never get to the cause. And if you must use anti-inflammatories, throw in the natural ones I mentioned. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to proper natural health solutions for knee pain.
If you suspect a significant knee injury or some kind of knee problem, go ahead and consult a physician or your healthcare provider so they can do proper testing and give proper guidance.