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[Englewood Cliffs Pain Management] Factors Influencing Knee Pain

knee pain management

Knee pain is an exceedingly common problem that affects mainly adults in the United States alone. This pervasive issue can severely impact mobility and quality of life. While many factors influence knee health, science shows that certain every day habits can alleviate discomfort or exacerbate and intensify knee pain. In this article, learn about habits that may quietly sabotage your knees. Also, discover ways and some treatments available at an Englewood Cliffs pain management clinic to restore active living.


Poor Diet

A poor diet lacking key nutrients can also negatively affect knee joints. Diets low in calcium, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants may contribute to cartilage breakdown and inflammation. These nutrients support joint health and reduce oxidative damage. Focus on incorporating more dark leafy greens, fatty fish, berries, and whole grains, which contain many of these essential nutrients. A balanced diet supports overall wellness and may help ease knee discomfort.


Obesity

Obesity and being overweight can significantly contribute to knee problems. Excess body weight puts additional stress and pressure on the knee joints, wearing down cartilage over time. Even an extra 10-15 pounds can make a noticeable difference in knee discomfort. Losing weight through diet and exercise is one of the most effective ways to relieve knee pain caused by obesity.


intense knee pain

Lack of Exercise

Lack of exercise is another lifestyle factor that can worsen knee issues. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or cycling gently strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee without high impact. Strong leg and hip muscles help support and stabilize the knee joint. Weak muscles lead to poor stability, imbalance, and increased strain on the knees. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate, low-impact exercise per week.


High-Impact Activities

Engaging in high-intensity and high-impact sports can take a toll on the knees over time. Sports that involve a lot of running, jumping, and abrupt changes in direction are particularly stressful on the joints. Running is a popular activity that many enjoy for exercise and sport. However, the repetitive pounding of the feet on hard surfaces can aggravate the knee joint.


Those who regularly participate in high-impact activities like running and basketball are at an increased risk of developing knee issues like runner's knee, jumpers knee, cartilage tears, ligament sprains, and osteoarthritis. Taking preventative measures like building leg muscle strength, wearing proper footwear, cross-training, and moderating activity levels can help reduce your likelihood of knee pain.


Footwear

The shoes you wear each day can significantly impact the health of your knees. Wearing high heels forces your foot into an unnatural position, shifting weight to the ball of your foot and arch while misaligning the knees. This places excessive pressure on the knee joint, which may lead to pain and inflammation over time.


Slouching

Slouching, whether while sitting at a desk or standing in line, places extra stress on the knee joints. When slouching, the body's weight is shifted forward, and the back curves, which causes the knees to bend slightly. Over time, maintaining this position can strain the ligaments and cartilage in the knees by altering their positioning.

Try to maintain an upright posture as much as possible, with shoulders, back, and spine elongated. Be mindful not to lock the knees fully straight, either. When sitting, use a lumbar support or a small pillow to help maintain the natural curve of the lower spine. Keeping good posture helps keep weight properly aligned through the joints, reducing unnecessary strain.


pain in the knee

Standing for Long Periods

Standing for prolonged periods can also wear on the knees over time. Being on your feet all day, often on hard surfaces like concrete, transfers pressure downward through the joints. The knees act as shock absorbers for the body's weight, so maintaining a standing position for hours on end forces them to continually bear this load.


Sleep Positions

The way you sleep can significantly impact knee pain. Sleeping on your stomach places stress on the knee by hyperextending it, especially if you draw your leg up toward your chest. This position makes the knee joint unstable and pulls it out of alignment, straining the surrounding ligaments and tissues.


Sleeping on your side in the fetal position with your knees drawn up can also strain the knees over time. The best sleeping position to avoid knee pain is on your back, with a pillow under your knees to keep them slightly bent. This takes the pressure off the joint.


Ways to Manage Knee Pain Without Medication

Taking proactive steps to reduce strain on the knees throughout the day can help prevent pain and flare-ups. In addition to lifestyle changes, certain alternative therapies may also help provide relief for chronic knee pain without the need for medication or surgery. These treatment options are non-invasive and focus on treating the underlying causes of knee pain to promote healing. Consulting with a pain specialist can help determine the appropriate solutions based on your specific circumstances.


Low-Impact Exercise

Engaging in low-impact exercises is crucial for maintaining joint health. Activities such as swimming, cycling, and walking are gentle on the knees while promoting cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. These exercises not only help manage knee pain but also contribute to weight management, reducing the load on the joints.


Braces

Knee braces provide compression and support to the joint, helping to ease pain. They limit certain movements that aggravate knee pain while allowing normal motion. Braces also improve stability and may prevent injury. Your doctor can recommend the right type of brace based on your needs.

occupational therapy and treatments

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy aims to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint, improve flexibility and range of motion, and correct any imbalances. Your physical therapist may use techniques like stretching, massage, ultrasound, heat/ice therapy, and targeted exercises to achieve these goals. With time and consistency, physical therapy can reduce knee discomfort and improve function.


Medical Massage

Medical massage therapy applies pressure and techniques to relax the muscles, increase blood flow, and decrease inflammation around the knees. A licensed massage therapist can target the soft tissues and joints to loosen them up, release tightness, and alleviate aches.


Acupuncture

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice, involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to promote healing and alleviate pain. Some individuals find relief from knee pain through acupuncture sessions, although results may vary.


Conclusion

Knee pain can significantly impact your quality of life and ability to stay active. Caring for your knees now pays off down the road. Make knee health a priority with smart lifestyle habits and treatment if needed. With some adjustments and consulting with an Englewood Cliffs pain management specialist to determine the most suitable intervention, you can get back to an active life free from knee pain.

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