All of us will likely suffer from knee pain at some point in our lives. It is one of the most common problems affecting the joints and muscles of the body after back, neck and shoulder pain. 10% of the 40-50-year-old population suffers from knee pain and this climbs to 25% of over 70 year olds. It readily affects our ability to walk, sit, squat, kneel or climb stairs. Many develop a limp because of the pain. As we limp, other joints become affected, and we start having pain elsewhere in the body.
It is possible to injure your knee by twisting or falling, but the most common cause of knee pain in adults is often termed "osteoarthritis." Unfortunately, this diagnosis is often made only based on a x-ray of the knee joint, and the changes that are noted on x-ray are commonly seen in the x-ray of patients over the age of 50, regardless if they have knee pain or not. Often these changes noted on x-ray are normal changes that occur with aging and are not necessarily the cause of the pain. "Degeneration" is quite simply normal wear and tear on a joint, are part of the normal aging process and may not be the cause of the pain. We cannot attribute knee pain solely to the presence of degeneration on x-ray as many people with these degenerative changes on x-ray do not have knee pain. MRI reports are just as inconclusive. Some MRIs will show damaged structure within the knee joint- cartilage or meniscus tears but these MRI images do not give us a clear picture of what is actually going on in the joint, especially with movement. It has been shown that surgery for torn or damaged meniscus increases the risk for future knee surgery by 30%. Some studies have shown that up to 76% of older people without knee pain have meniscus tears or damage- this means that their MRI shows these meniscal tears yet these individuals HAVE NO KNEE PAIN. Other diagnoses that people receive after going to the doctor may include patellofemoral syndrome, tendonitis or patellar tendonitis.
Further complicating matters is that there are several myths associated with knee pain: many will attribute it to their activity (running, sports participation, etc) when they were younger, stresses of their occupation; many will feel they need to "rest" their knee if they have osteoarthritis, or that they cannot get relief of their pain unless they undergo knee replacement surgery. These myths are untrue. In fact, studies of long-term runners and non-runners demonstrated no difference in the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis between the two groups. In fact, people who are generally more active have less pain than those that are sedentary. The single most effective tool to manage knee pain of mechanical origin is to increase the amount of activity and exercise of the knee, rather than resting it in a sedentary lifestyle.
People experience knee pain in different ways. Some may feel pain only in one knee, some feel it in both. Some may describe it more as a stiffness, weakness or a "buckling" sensation. Knee pain can be intermittent, with days or times of day when no pain is felt. The pain and associated symptoms may come on for no apparent reason and may disappear just as mysteriously. At other times, pain and symptoms may come up only with specific movements of the leg such as occurs with walking, climbing stairs, kneeling, squatting or with certain hobbies. Aches and pains may also occur constantly and disturbs sleep
As the condition becomes more chronic, these aches and pains and other symptoms may become constant, and individuals struggle to find something that will give them relief. When dealing with constant pain, people may avoid recreational and leisure activities that they enjoy, miss work, may undergo expensive (and often, unnecessary) radiological imaging studies, injections, and take medication to relieve their pain; only to find that the pain does not go away and keeps recurring. This pain often makes their daily lives absolutely miserable, and they avoid activities in order to keep their pain at a tolerable level. Even worse, they struggle to get a good night of sleep and with lack of sleep, their symptoms during the day worsen. As they have more pain, they become less active and become more sedentary. They then lose fitness and gain weight, only further perpetuating the problem. This loss of fitness and weight gain affects overall health and well-being, leading to other health problems.
If you have suffered symptoms like this, you may have already discovered that these symptoms can last for months or even years. You probably have tried treatments that give you temporary relief (adjustments, ultrasound, cupping, electrical stimulation, massage, ice, heat, dry needling, acupuncture, etc) that may give you some relief for a short period of time, but rarely give you any lasting relief. Your symptoms keep recurring and you long to find something that will give you lasting relief once and for all. The reason your symptoms keep recurring is because these temporary treatments do not address the CAUSE of your pain and do nothing to prevent if from recurring again.
You may also have seen another therapist or healthcare provider who gave you a generic sheet of exercises to do for your knee based on your "diagnosis" but they didn't take you through a thorough mechanical exam. You may have tried these exercises and found these to be of some benefit but often stretching and strengthening alone does not get rid of your knee pain. It is important to have an awareness of how you move and position your leg during the day can significantly contribute to your knee pain.
Wouldn't it be nice to finally get to the ROOT CAUSE of your pain, be shown techniques and exercises that will not only relieve your pain, but prevent it from coming back? How good would it be to learn how to apply treatment to yourself that you could perform in the privacy of your own home to decrease your pain and prevent it from coming back?
It has been demonstrated repeatedly that patients need a rational explanation of their condition. They need education in postures, activities, and exercises that allow them to remain pain free. They need advice from a specialist on how to avoid detrimental forces encountered in our daily lives and how to apply beneficial strategies. All of these things can be found at Britt Zink Physical Therapy Services!
1.Are there periods in the day when you have no pain? Even 10 minutes?
2.Do you have pain when your walk up or down stairs or hills?
3.Have you had several episodes of knee pain over the past months or years?
4.Is your knee pain-free between episodes?
5.When the knee is painful, does it feel like you are unable to fully bend or straighten it compared to your pain-free knee?
6.Are you able to fully bend and straighten your knee without pain between episodes?
7.Is the pain localized to the area of the knee joint?
8.Are you generally able to walk without limping between your episodes of knee pain?
9.Are you generally worse with prolonged sitting, squatting or kneeling?
10.Is your knee generally more comfortable when you are moving about rather than kneeling, sitting, squatting or standing in one position?
11.Are some days better or worse than others?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, there is great chance you can benefit from the treatment strategies offered by Britt Zink at our clinic.
Self-treatment strategies are the ultimate goal, but hands-on manual techniques may be necessary initially to assist with your recovery. It is recommended that you undergo a thorough comprehensive examination and evaluation by our own McKenzie MDT certified therapist, Britt Zink.
McKenzie MDT is a comprehensive, evidence-based system of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and prevention strategies aimed at patient education and independence. It is known to provide results for patients in the first 2-3 visits. It is founded on sound clinical reasoning for individualized plans of care. Cost-efficient treatment minimizing the need for expensive tests or procedures: no needles, no injections, no surgeries.
Step 1: Active Examination: Listening to the patient's detailed history and with the patient's active involvement using repeated postures and movements during the unique MDT examination process, Britt Zink establishes a clear direction with a solid baseline to develop an individualized plan of care.
Step 2: Dynamic Diagnosis: The patient will be prescribed specific exercises and given guidance for appropriate postures and behaviors to adopt or temporarily avoid outside of the clinic. Britt Zink can quickly re-evaluate your symptoms and range of motion changes to maintain the treatment course or modify the plan of care. This may include hands-on manual techniques as needed to assist in your recovery.
Step 3: Reliable intervention: By learning how to self-treat your current condition, you gain knowledge to minimize the risk of recurrence and you are empowered with knowledge and techniques to deal with your symptoms should they ever recur.
Prevention is the ultimate goal- YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR PAIN!
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR PAIN, EMPOWER YOURSELF AND GET BACK TO THE LIFE YOU LOVE WITHOUT MEDICATIONS, INJECTIONS OR SURGERY!