Today is the last installment of this series discussing knee pain, its various causes, treatment options and success stories. When helping our clients eliminate their knee pain, one of the most important things we can do is tell them what NOT to do.
Remember that in this early phase of recovery, our main goal is to reduce pain and inflammation, so it makes sense that if there are a few things that are really aggravating the knee, then we need to get rid of these things as soon as possible.
The interesting thing about these 4 things (or ‘mistakes’ if you will), is that they usually occur after you take some well-meaning advice from a friend, or possibly even your doctor. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the 4 Most Common Mistakes we see people with knee pain making:
1. Rest – When you first experience knee pain, it makes sense to rest the irritated leg, especially if you just had a fall or some type of injury. But what happens when you continue to rest you knee, and the pain doesn’t improve? Yep, you probably guessed it! Your knee becomes weaker and more stiff. So if your knee pain doesn’t improve after a short period of rest, an extended period of rest will definitely make you knee pain worse in the long run.
2. Medication – Similar to rest, taking medications, like anti-inflammatories and pain-killers, might make sense for a short period following a knee injury (emphasis on MIGHT). However, here’s what happens over time: the medications mask your pain, and you never uncover or treat the ROOT CAUSE of your pain. And over time, this makes your knee pain worse. Eventually, a lot of people end up at the point where they’re dependent on the medications just to go for a walk. Definitely not a good place to be!
3. Wearing a Brace – I have nothing against wearing a brace from to time to time, especially if you just want a little support for an active day. However, if you are relying on a brace to stabilize your knee on a regular, daily basis, you’re missing something. You can probably see the same theme here: unless you figure out WHY your knee is feeling unstable, and you do something about it, the feeling of instability isn’t likely going to improve, and in fact it will likely worsen over time.
4. The Wrong Exercises – Doing some generic exercises is often one of the first pieces of well-meaning advice you will receive. And with the ridiculous amount of available information on the internet, you can probably find about 50 exercises you could do to improve your knee pain. However, generic exercises rarely help you target the specific areas that are causing your pain. If you get lucky, they might be a good starting point, but that is about it. What’s even more concerning is this: if you end up doing the wrong exercises, you might just make your pain worse!
Wow, a lot can go wrong when dealing with knee pain… but rest assured, the majority of people suffering from knee pain can get better and resume their active lifestyles. It’s just a matter of finding the right path for you.