Most of us don’t often think about our knees until one (or both if you’re unlucky) of them starts to hurt. “Oh, I’ll just rest it, I don’t want to cause more damage” or “It will probably go away on its own I’ll just wait” or “I’m sure I had enough ibuprofen to feed an army where has it all gone, I still need it to help me with my knee pain” are some of the thoughts you might have when experiencing knee pain. But how about not waiting and seeing if it will magically get better on its own? Or not taking ibuprofen for breakfast, lunch and supper? Or not keeping as still as possible because you’re scared of causing more damage and now you can’t walk the dog or go for a run, or you’re worried it will ruin your holiday. “Can you help me” we hear you ask. Yes, we can! Let me tell you how.
Why does it hurt in the first place?
The thing to remember when it comes to any sort of pain is that pain is one of the ways that the body communicates with you. Pain is an output, not an input. This means that by the time you’re experiencing pain there’s usually something else going on which is causing it in the first place. Before we delve into trying to fix you, we’ll carry out a comprehensive assessment with you to try to figure out the underlying cause of your pain. Because what would be the point of trying to fix something that’s working properly and ignoring what isn’t working? There are a few different reasons why your knee might be painful. They include (but aren’t limited to) biomechanical or muscular imbalances, degenerative changes, a sudden and rapid increase or change to your training programme, sports injuries, falling over, damage to the surrounding muscles, ligaments or tendons, meniscal damage or referred pain originating from an issue with your back.
What are the different treatment options?
Stage 1-pain management
Now that we’ve established the cause of your pain let’s get down to business and get you back to doing the things you love to do – pain free!
Whether it’s acupuncture, massage, joint mobilisations, a bespoke exercise programme or all of the above we will work together to come up with a plan that works best for you to help manage your pain.
There are also things that we may recommend for you to do at home such as heat/ice therapy, compression, elevation, painkillers as a temporary measure, certain positions to favour and avoid, postural management and advice and education specific to you.
N.B. avoid heat if it’s inflamed, and you may need to speak to your GP about stronger painkillers if over the counter ones aren’t helping.
Stage 2- improve the way you move
Once your pain is under control, we will progress our treatment plan to help you to move better and ensure that you have your optimum, balance, proprioception, range of movement in your joints and muscles and get that strength back up- you can’t go wrong getting strong!
This may involve more comprehensive assessment to identify any underlying weaknesses or dysfunction and help to once again plan the next stage of treatment specifically for you.
Once we’ve identified the areas that need working on that’s exactly what we’ll do, we’ll work on them together. We’ll most likely progress your home exercise programme and start some gym rehab.
Hydrotherapy can be an option too especially if you’re struggling to weight-bear or get that full range of movement.
Pilates may also be part of the solution to your problem and luckily for you we offer one to one or online group classes from the convenience of your home or wherever else you fancy. And yes, Pilates does focus on core and trunk strength and control, but this may be a factor influencing your knee pain-if you can’t control your trunk when you’re running or going up and down the stairs guess what’s happening to your knee?
You probably lack control over that too! “How on Earth have I had such poor control over my core and trunk for all this time and never noticed until now? Ohh because as you’ve already mentioned pain is an output not an input and usually the last thing to present when something’s going wrong. I’m starting to get it now. We have to work backwards to the root cause and not just focus on the pain alone”.
We may also continue treating you with some of the hands-on therapies too such as acupuncture, joint mobilisations and soft tissue massage in order to reap the benefits that they provide when it comes to tissue healing.
Stage 3- Enhance your performance
“Wow, my knee hardly hurts any more and I feel like I’m moving better.” Why stop there when we can take it one step further and get you fitter and stronger than ever before? This knee pain has been a nightmare and neither of us want it to come back although I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that. Prevention is better than cure so let’s step it up a notch and hopefully take you to the point of no return (no return to your pain that is)!
Again, this will involve a bespoke programme based on your abilities and goals, taking you to that ironman you’ve never had the guts to attempt or the 3 peaks challenge that you’ve always had at the back of your mind but never thought you were capable of.
With this we’ll provide you with the tools to prevent you from re-injuring yourself, moving with better control then ever before. This is all part of the self-management plan, allowing you to be in control of your body and not the other way around! The main focus here will be on function, exercise and becoming the best at your specific sport or activity that your knee pain has really caused you to struggle with and to get you past it. At this stage we’ll be looking at achieving those longer-term goals that we initially set and hopefully smash them whilst we’re at it!
Now that you understand that you no longer need to suffer in silence it would be a good idea to take ownership of your problem and get in touch with us so that we can take you on the first step on your journey from pain to performance. After all life is like an escalator, if we’re not going up, we’re going down. We’ll see you at the top!
For more information or to book a physiotherapy appointment with one of our specialist physiotherapists in Warrington, Manchester, Liverpool, or Online use the booking link below.