In this week's blog, we are going to be discussing the different cause knee pain. Is it actually the knee itself or could it be something completely different?
Hey everybody! It's Dr. Bob Salamon back at it with another blog! I hope wherever you are while you're reading this that you're staying healthy and safe out there. Today we are going to be talking about knee pain. I get a lot of patients in my office who come in with knee pain from playing soccer, from falls, and car accidents. However, it is also very common for my patients to come in with unexplained knee pain. For some mysterious reason, they woke up one day and their knee hurt, but they didn't experience any direct trauma to cause this pain. They come to me looking for answers, and that is what we are going to be talking about and focusing on today. In any situation when a patient comes into my office with knee pain, it is my job to figure out whether the pain is coming from a knee issue or somewhere else in the body, and then work at resolving the issue. Remember, we work on every extremity. Chiropractic care isn't just about the spine. We will work on everything from the bones in your skull all the way down to the tips of your toes. If an extremity is causing you pain, we will figure out why and how we can fix it!
Knee pain is very unique and interesting because the pain can be caused by damage directly to the knee, but often times the pain is caused by an issue in another area that is seemingly unrelated. For example, say you are playing a sport and you twist the wrong way while playing. Potentially, the pain you're feeling in your knee could be coming from a tear of a ligament or meniscus in your knee. When I examine someone in this situation, I do testing to check the stability of the knee ligaments and other soft tissues. After I go through this testing and I feel like I can help you without sending you out to get an MRI (which is truly the only way to determine if there is a tear of a ligament) then I start getting to work fixing the problem. If I believe something has been torn or seriously damaged that needs surgery or other medical attention, I will send these patients to someone who specializes in those injuries.
With any patient that comes to me in this situation, I start working directly in the affected joint to make sure that all the attachments to that knee are working properly. Like I hinted above, knee pain can come from areas that are not related or presumably related directly to the knee. What do I mean by this? If you have a pelvis that is out of alignment, you are by definition not walking symmetrically. This will cause you to put pressure on one leg more than the other, and on one knee more than the other. Putting this extra pressure and strain on the side of your body that is not affected can cause extra wear and inflammation, which can cause pain. I've recently had this situation happen with one of my patients. This gentleman had gone away on vacation and was running on the beach. The beach he was running on wasn't flat, so he was running at an angle. He came back to see me after vacation and said that he was having unexplained knee pain. He had no idea where it had come from, he hadn't had an accident nor did he experience any trauma while he was gone, but had been left with this mysterious pain. So, I took a look at his knee, and it turns out that his pelvis was extremely out of alignment. All we had to do during his appointment was simply adjust the pelvis. The next time he returned after his adjustment, he shared with me that this mysterious knee pain had gone away. In this situation, it wasn't the knee that was the problem, it was the pelvis that was causing the issue.
Sometimes the subluxations of the pelvis or even sometimes the lumbar vertebrae can cause knee pain because the nerves that come out of the low back go to supply the legs, knees, and feet (among other things). This means if you've irritated those nerves, you could be feeling unexplained pain in any of these extremities but not where the actual damage has occurred. In these cases, I correct these subluxations and let the body heal itself. If you've had trauma directly to your knee, then the problem causing the pain could be those torn ligaments or soft tissues that I mentioned above. I will, however, not rule out the possibility of other causes until I conduct a full exam to determine if something is potentially torn or damaged and needs to be referred out to an orthopedic specialist.
The other area that could be involved with your knee pain are the muscles found in your buttocks area and the front of your hips. Problems with the gluteus maximus/medius, the piriformis, and the psoas (hip flexor) can cause knee pain. If those muscles are not working symmetrically because one side is weaker than the other, the strong side will pick up the slack, thus creating more physical stress on those joints, often the knee. When you come to see me with this kind of pain, one of the first steps I take in figuring out what is causing this knee pain is to do some muscle testing. These tests will show if a muscle is weak. If you do have a weakness, there are some simple exercises that will facilitate and strengthen the weakened muscle to help your body work properly and eliminate that pain.
I hope this helps give you another avenue to explore when addressing knee pain. I hope that you remember if you are having knee pain, it doesn't necessarily mean that there is something wrong with your knee. If you are suffering from knee pain and you don't know where to turn, you've found the right place. Please reach out to us. We would love to check you out, and if I think I can help you, we will get started getting you taken care of right away. If I think that the problem is outside of my scope,, I will refer you to someone who can address your issue. Remember that many times knee pain can be effectively addressed with muscle work and chiropractic care. I hope this helps! Be well, stay well, and remember that I've got your back covered!
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