Knee Pain

People suffering from knee pain that is not helped by ice or rest, should get their knee examined to prevent further damage. Decompression therapy, laser therapy, and pulsed electromagnetic frequency treatments work to restore proper, pain-free knee function.

Can you describe the different types of knee pain or injuries that people experience and the terms used to define them?

Dr. Harry Schick: Sure. Well, there’s really two general categories when it comes to knee pain. There is knee pain which is intrinsic to the knee joint, meaning that there is actually an imbalance or some kind of damage done within the knee. The knee is made up of three basic bones with a knee cap covering over the top and, of course, there’s many ligaments, and cartilage, and muscles covering the area. There can be a problem intrinsically within the knee.

The other type of knee injury or knee problem that a person can have would be extrinsic, meaning that there is an imbalance elsewhere in the body, which is causing the knee to have to do a job that it is not designed to do. If you think about the knee, in a simple sense, it is like a shock absorber. You have the ankle down below, and then you have the knee, and you have the hip, so that if there is a problem above or below it, the knee is going to have to do a job beyond which it’s designed to do. Whenever you ask a joint of the body to do something more than it’s designed to do, you are going to run into trouble.

What are some of the main causes of knee pain?

Dr. Harry Schick: For knee pain, obviously, we can have a situation where there’s been a direct injury, a person twists their knee, they make a turn, or they have some kind of a contact with the knee, something hits the knee or bangs their knee, so that’s one type. For people who have the twisting type of problem, or what often happens is that a patient will come and tell me their knee pain came, they don’t know what they did, it came out of nowhere. This is happening because the cause is not in the knee but in a different area. This can be anywhere from flat feet to a low back issue because, if we think about the knee, the nerve flow from the low back goes directly into the knee, and if there is a problem with the low back, it can interfere with the nerve flow and can cause knee pain.

There is also a different kind of a pattern that occurs, which most people are not aware of, which is that we know that every organ of the body has a muscle that associates with it. There is a small muscle behind the knee called the popliteus muscle. That muscle is connected energetically and embriologically to the gallbladder. We have many people who come in with digestive problems, and they get knee pain because of that. When we correct their digestive issue, their knee pain goes away.

We can look at it structurally within the knee, and we can see causes above or below the knee in the foot, or the hip, or the lower back, even the neck, because those nerves that go to the knee actually don’t start in the lower back, they actually start in the neck, or we can have a digestive or other type of reflexive problem that creates knee pain.

If someone hurts their knee or feels pain or swelling, what should they do at home to take care of it?

Dr. Harry Schick: Good, so that is very important because what they do initially can absolutely help them resolve the problem quicker. The knee is a joint which I usually don’t recommend people trying to work through, so if there is actual injury to the knee or pain in the knee, I don’t recommend, initially, for them to try to just keep pushing through and see what happens. That usually does not lead to a good ending. If there is a pain in the knee or if there is swelling around the knee joint, usually what we want to do is to get the swelling stopped and down as quickly as possible. Although there’s some controversy, in the initial phases of injury, ice is usually what is recommended, and using ice for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off in the area, and then staying off the knee, and then, of course, giving us a call to see what the cause is.

What are the steps people need to take to determine whether or not they have an actual knee injury or a condition?

Dr. Harry Schick: Well, it’s a little difficult to know if the problem is actually coming from the knee, so what I recommend people to do is to just try to see what the limitations are in terms of knee motion. For some people, walking steps is a problem, but if they are walking on flat ground, there is no issue. Sometimes, for a woman, wearing heels makes them feel better, or it can make them feel worse.

The things that I recommend people do, initially, is to find those things which bother them and, this may seem obvious, although not everybody does it, if something is bothering you, don’t do it. If it hurts wearing heels, don’t wear your heels until you come in and get the problem fixed. If you find that your knee problem came on at the same time you started not feeling well in another way, for example digestively, try to eat gingerly, eat gently and not create more of any problem that way. If you just changed shoes, for example, maybe go back to your old shoes. Be a detective on your own and then, of course, get in as soon as possible to have an actual examination done.

Are there any special treatment methods you utilize in your office to treat patients with knee pain?

Dr. Harry Schick: Yes, absolutely. Of course, it is always a matter of determining where the problem is coming from, but just to give you a few examples, if the problem has a spinal origin, what we’ll do, often, is what is called decompression therapy, which is a way in which we take pressure gently off the nerves of the spine, whether it’s the neck or the lower back. That allows for a better nerve flow going to the knee. We use something called pulsed electromagnetic frequencies, which is an electromagnetic device which is amazing in helping to resolve knee pain and reducing swelling, not only outside the joint, which is where ice would work, but this PEMF, as it’s called, actually gets rid of swelling internally in the joint. We also use laser therapy, which helps with pain and also helps with increasing nerve flow to the area.

Finally, we have something called a rapid release technology, which is a machine which feels like a massager, if you want to think of it, but it’s obviously much more than that. It works with a percussing kind of a motion. What it does is that it helps to alleviate scar tissue, because whenever a person has a problem in a joint such as the knee, they will begin to walk a little differently trying to favor it. When that happens, the body creates scar tissue in the area. Until that is taken care of, the person can still have the knee problem.

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