How Chiropractic Care Can Help Knee Pain?

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Knee Pain?

We don’t often associate knee pain and chiropractic care. There’s a misconception that chiropractors work only on the back and neck. The truth is that doctors of chiropractic are trained to treat the entire musculoskeletal system. You could call them joint specialists. Read on to discover how chiropractic care can help knee pain.

A chiropractor can help knee pain in several ways by effectively treating different causes. They can perform hip and knee adjustments, posture and gait analysis, and weight distribution analysis. They also perform a number of physical therapy modalities to help with pain, swelling, and even arthritis.

The causes of knee pain vary widely. Seeing a chiropractor can help determine the underlying cause, relieve pain, and prevent future injury. Here’s how chiropractic care can help your knee pain.

What Chiropractors Do?

Many people don’t know exactly what chiropractors do. Or they assume that chiropractic care is only performed on the back or spine. As a result, many people think that treating knee pain comes down to one of two options: surgery or painkillers.

While surgery is the best option for some people, it’s always best to exhaust conservative treatments first, of which chiropractic care is one of the most effective.

Likewise, painkillers can be appropriate until severe pain recedes. But, knowing what we know about painkillers today, they’re best avoided whenever possible. Chiropractic care offers an alternative to addictive painkillers and even surgery in some cases. Below are some common knee issues and their chiropractic treatments.

Causes and Chiropractic Treatments For Common Knee Pain Issues

Here are some of the most common causes of knee pain. We’ve also included the ways a chiropractor can help to relieve the pain and treat the underlying issue. Any actual treatment you receive will likely vary depending on your specific circumstances.

1) Knee Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac located in the joints between bones, tendons, and muscles. These sacs are called bursae and are essential in healthy joint function. They help reduce friction that would otherwise occur during the course of regular joint function. Bursitis of the knee is generally caused by overuse and/or misalignment. Bursitis can cause pain in the knee while walking, running, kneeling, or stretching the knee out. It can also cause swelling around the front of the kneecap.

Chiropractic Treatment for Knee Bursitis

Reducing pain and swelling are typically the first things chiropractors do to help treat bursitis. This can be done with massage, ultrasound, hot and cold therapy, or cold laser therapy. Then the chiropractor will determine the cause of the inflamed bursa. He or she may perform an adjustment of the knee, hips, or spine to help correct the issue and facilitate proper recovery and prevention.

2) Patellar Tendonitis

Tendonitis is the term for damage or irritation to a tendon. Patellar tendonitis describes this issue when it occurs to the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shin. This is most common for people who run and jump often, like athletes. Overweight individuals are also at higher risk for patellar tendonitis because of the extra stress extra weight puts on the knees.

Usually this is a result of repeated use, meaning it happens gradually. It can also be the result of trauma to the knee. It’s characterized by pain just below the kneecap that increases with physical activity.

Chiropractic Treatment for Patellar Tendonitis

Chiropractic care for tendonitis concentrates on safe, non-addictive ways to relieve pain and swelling. In many cases, pain relief and rest are the best options. A chiropractor may suggest you wear a knee brace during the course of treatment. He or she may also give you proper stretching and warm-up exercises to avoid patellar tendonitis in the future.

While pain relief and rest are the first steps to recovery, waiting for tendonitis to go away on its own is only prolonging the inevitable. If you suffer from patellar tendonitis, see a medical professional for effective treatment.

3) Osteoarthritis

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, chiropractic care has been shown effective at reducing arthritis pain and inflammation in joints throughout the body. The pain that osteoarthritis sufferers experience can make everyday activities like walking and kneeling difficult or downright impossible. Chiropractic care is designed to help reduce pain and increase joint function.

Chiropractic Care for Osteoarthritis of the Knees

Strategic massage, ultrasound, and laser therapy have all been used to help reduce pain and inflammation in osteoarthritic knee joints. Hands-on stretching and adjustments can also help to improve the range of motion and joint function in the joints. This is especially important since knee pain can lead to increased pressure on the joints in the lower back, which can cause pain there, too, without proper help.

4) Knee Valgus

Knee valgus, otherwise known as knock knee, is characterized by an inward tilt of the knees. This is most apparent when squatting or kneeling, but it can also be clear when walking or standing. Many young children develop knee valgus but grow out of it by the age of 10. When the knees remain bowed into the teenage years or beyond, it can cause issues in the hips, glutes, and back.

Knock knee can also be the result of weak or tight muscles in the legs, hips, or glutes. Determining the exact cause of knock knee is essential to addressing it and developing a treatment plan that will work to correct the issue.

Chiropractic Care for Knee Valgus

Since doctors of chiropractic specialize in the musculoskeletal system, they know what to look for in cases of knock knee. They can address knock knee for people of all ages. This is usually done with adjustments of the spine, hips, and knees. Hands-on exercises and prescribed at-home exercises are often needed to correct the issues creating knock knee. Combine these exercises with chiropractic visits to address structural and postural issues, and you have an excellent and safe way to treat knee valgus.

Other Knee Pain Causes Chiropractors Treat

Chiropractors can also address or recommend treatments for other knee issues. These include:

  • Meniscus damage
  • Referred pain
  • IT band syndrome
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease

Chiropractic Knee Adjustments for Pain, Function, and Prevention

Chiropractic Knee Adjustments for Pain, Function, and Prevention

Sometimes knee pain does not have a nearby cause. Problems with the hips and back can contribute to knee pain. So can issues with the foot, ankle, or pelvis. For this reason, chiropractors perform a thorough examination of all the joints, tendons, and muscles that could be contributing to knee pain. They take into account your full medical history and other details, such as:

  • Activity level
  • Overall health
  • Lifestyle
  • Job
  • Exercise or sports activities
  • Previous injuries
  • Posture
  • Gait

Equipped with this information, the chiropractor will develop a specialized plan unique to your needs and situation. They will concentrate on relieving pain first, improving or restoring function second, and then giving you the tools and knowledge to stay healthy and prevent future knee pain.

Since chiropractors take a whole-body approach to treating any problem— including knee pain— they’re more likely to recommend a solution that addresses the underlying problem. Waiting for the pain to go away is not the best option, particularly if it is recurrent and disruptive. This is why many people prefer chiropractic care for knee pain over other invasive or drug-based techniques. Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive, and thorough approach to treating knee pain.

Dr. Brent Wells - Anchorage Chiropractor
About the Author

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.