Do you suffer from pain in your knee every day? Don’t know what to do and think that it will never end. I can relate to this; my knee pain would be with me 24/7. I can offer you some strategies to help reduce that pain so you can get your life back.
Ask yourself this how much do you want that pain to stop? You need osteoarthritis pain and treatment options that will work. First you can read about non drug treatments and then medications designed to help. Read on to find out what solutions are available to you.
14 Non drug therapies to relieve pain
1. Let’s talk about what type of exercise will help to relieve that pain
I know when you are in pain exercise is the last thing you want to do but I promise you that you’ll get:
- More range of movement
- Less joint stiffness
- Less pain and
- Less inflammation
There are certain types of exercise that will help to improve pain and function in knee osteoarthritis. You just need to know what types of exercise to do:
- Strength training
- Range of motion
- Tai chi.
The best type of exercise for you is low impact exercise such as bicycling, swimming, walking or pool aerobics. Don’t go running or play tennis your joints won’t like you!
2. Do yourself a favor and do some warm up exercises before and after you exercise
You need warm up exercises as they will lubricate your joints making them less stiff and easier to move and bonus you are less likely to sustain injury during exercising. Cool down exercises help your joints reset.
3. Invest in a visit to the physiotherapist
You are probably thinking this could be expensive but he/she could teach you about a range of motion and strengthening exercises. The whole purpose of range of motion and strengthening exercise is to strengthen those hips so there is less pressure on those knee joints. You will learn how to use assistive devices and how to climb stairs and get in and out of cars to reduce pain.
4. Let’s talk about losing weight
Did you know that you only have to lose 5% in twenty weeks of your weight for it to be an effective treatment? I didn’t but decided to give it a go and now there is less pressure on my knee joint. Look at the benefits in for you:
• Improved mobility.
• Decreased pain.
• Less future damage to those knee joints.
I would like you to be wearing comfortable, knee joint-friendly shoes. To find out which shoes are suitable read best shoes for osteoarthritis in knees. Sneakers that are cushioned in the middle sole and heel will help with proper weight distribution and shock absorption. To read more…
5. Hot and cold treatments to relieve pain and joint stiffness
Putting gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables preferably wrapped in a tea towel are great for relieving joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. You can even heat that ice pack up and make that knee joint less stiff. When I was desperate for pain relief one day, I tried the cold pack and within five minutes my pain in my knee went from a 10 back to a 3.
6. Try some massage therapy
Did you know that regular massaging of arthritic joints helps to reduce pain and stiffness and improve your range of motion? Your physiotherapist could teach you to self-massage or you could treat yourself to massage from a qualified masseuse.
7. How about some balneotherapy?
This would involve you soaking in some warm mineral springs. Great if you have more joints involved than your knee joint.
8. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for pain relief
You place the electrodes of the TENS machine around your knee joint and they can stop the pain receptors from reaching the brain. It is especially helpful for knee osteoarthritis.
9. Assistive devices can help you reduce pain, stiffness and improve your knee function
Knee braces, sleeves, are a better alternative to crutches and canes that can put pressure on other joints. The other good point is there are no adverse side effects.
10. You could use supplements such as these:
- Avocado soybean unsaponifiable
Apparently extract made from avocado and soybean oils blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals and may help rejuvenate normal connective tissue. It gives a small amount of pain relief for your knee osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine improves pain and physical function in knee osteoarthritis by slowing of joint space narrowing in the knee.
- Omega 3 fish oil capsules
You could try omega 3 fish oil capsules as they provide joint lubrication and reduce the inflammation and stiffness of the knee joint.
Turmeric is known have anti-inflammatory properties, and evidence points to its usefulness for painful knee arthritis. You might want to try adding your food or take it as a supplement. Be careful it you are on blood thinning medication as it is not suitable for you.
11. You might want to consider some herbal remedies
There are heaps of herbal supplements on the market said to be able to reduce joint pain. Some herbs of the arthritis pain include:
- Devil’s claw
- Stinging nettle
- Thunder god vine
12. You could benefit from reducing your stress
Stress and inflammation are linked. It is thought to release chemicals which effect your body’s immune system and that is what causes the inflammation and consequently the pain. You could help you relax by:
• Breathing in slowly and repeat for two minutes. Now I want you to focus on long exhales and then allow your inhalations to enter your lungs gently.
• Get creative. Do some craft work, paint, write, cook, design. Do whatever creative activity that you can imagine.
• Go play some of your favorite music, or watch a movie, distract yourself from whatever is currently worrying you.
• Spend some time in nature and just feel the cool breeze or those warm sunshine rays.
• Go spend some time with a good friend who is humorous and makes you laugh.
13. Put together your own knee osteoarthritis care team
Consider having these people on your care team:
- A treating doctor
- Occupational therapist
You are then having a holistic approach to osteoarthritis pain and treatment.
14. Don’t: Ignore Your New or Worsening Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Look out for when your pain is more severe and happens even when you are resting, or after a period of activity, or it is disturbing your sleep. It could mean your osteoarthritis is getting worse. If you notice swelling, or your knee starts to lock up enlist your doctor for help.
8 Medical interventions to reduce pain
1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
These medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium) are another option for you to relieve your pain. You can take these drugs according to the manufacturer’s instructions but if symptoms persist go and see your doctor. Don’t take them over a prolonged period as they can lead to gastro intestinal bleeding if taken too frequently and over a long period.
If you have a history of GI bleeds or have cardiovascular disease avoid taking them.
2. Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
This is an antidepressant that is helpful for the chronic pain of knee osteoarthritis. You need to be aware that there are some side effects such as nausea, dry mouth, fatigue, constipation and increased sweating. Check your doctor if you are on other medications for other conditions.
3. Opioid and narcotic analgesics
You could use them as they significantly reduce pain and can help with the physical function of your knee. The benefits have to be weighed up with the strong side effects such as nausea, constipation, dizziness, sleepiness and vomiting.
4. Topical NSAIDs.
Topical NSAIDs are creams that you rub on your knee joints they are recommended for knee osteoarthritis but be careful they don’t cause you a skin irritation.
5. Corticosteroid injections.
Injecting corticosteroid compounds directly into affected joints can be helpful for decreasing pain in the short term, although the effect tends to wear off after a few weeks. To keep you pain free, you may need to have corticosteroid injections in the same joint every few months. It is injected directly into the knee joint and is thought to effect the body’s immune system and decrease inflammation levels.
Can take up to 24 to 72 hours before you notice any effect.
6. Hyaluronic acid injections
Hyaluronic acid is supposed to supplement a natural substance that gives joint fluid its viscosity. Not all people find this relieves pain but some do. Hyaluronic acid benefit peaks at 8 weeks and can be effective up 24 weeks. They are scheduled to given weekly for three to five weeks. If successful, they can reduce pain associated with inflammation.
7. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections for Knee Osteoarthritis
You might want to consider a PRP injection. Your doctor will take some blood and separate the blood platelets. The blood platelets are the growth factors that reduce the inflammation, the platelets will then be injected into your knee. It has the effect of:
- Supplementing the fluid in the joint
- Calming inflammation
- Lubricating the joint
- Cushioning the joint.
8. Osteotomy and joint-preserving surgery
This is great for those of you who are young. The procedure involves cutting the bones and realigning them to improve joint alignment. It can delay joint replacement surgery and is known to reduce pain and improve joint function.
For further reading:
We have discussed 23 ways to reduce pain. Included in this are non-medical strategies and medical interventions that you might want to consider.
Please leave a comment below as I am interested in your opinion.