As we age, wear and tear on our joints occurs. Whether it’s just damage due to time or you were injured, knee pain has a way of slowing you down. Living with knee pain can be frustrating, but there are things you can do to help manage your pain on a daily basis. Here are the do’s and don’ts of managing knee pain.
Things to Do
- Do exercise regularly. Cardio exercise can strengthen the muscles that support your knee joints and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching can also help. Some excellent cardio exercises to try include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi and yoga can also help with stiffness. Look for exercises that are low-impact, especially those that take place in water.
- Do use RICE. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) are key ways to help ease knee pain and reduce inflammation, especially when the pain is caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare up. Take some time to rest, use ice packs to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and elevate your knee whenever possible.
- Do look into acupuncture. This is a form of traditional Chinese medicine, which involves the careful placement of fine needles into certain points on the body to relieve pain. It is used across the world to control many types of pain, encourage weight loss, and even improve mental health.
- Do try different temperatures for relief. After you’ve been injured, use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours to reduce swelling and numb the pain. Frozen peas or corn makes a good ice pack, since it can easily be shaped around your knee.
- Do talk to an expert. If your knee pain is new or you’ve been injured, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor. They can evaluate your pain and prevent further injury by coming up with a treatment plan.
Things to Avoid
- Don’t rest too much. While it’s good to get some rest, too much time off can weaken the muscles and make the pain worsen. Work with your doctor to find an exercise routine that is gentle on your joints and helps you build flexibility and strength.
- Don’t risk a fall. You may not be at your most steady when you’re injured or suffering knee pain. A fall can further damage your knee, but it can also lead to other serious injuries. Make sure your home is well lit and your floor is clutter free, use hand railings on stairs and other uneven surfaces, and always use a sturdy ladder or footstool if you need to reach something high overhead.
- Don’t overlook your weight as a cause. Like aging, a little extra weight can lead to wear and tear on your joints. If you are overweight, consider starting a weight loss program. Even if you aren’t reaching your ideal weight, losing a few pounds can still make a difference in your pain and stiffness.
- Don’t skip walking aids if you need them. A cane, crutch, or walker can help you take some weight off your injured knee and provide additional stability. Knee splints and braces can also bring relief and keep you stable.
- Don’t let your shoes cause you pain. Your shoes are very important to the way you carry your weight. Cushioned insoles can help reduce the impact as you walk. There are special insoles that can help with the pain of osteoarthritis. Talk to your physician or physical therapist to learn more.
- Don’t let impact harm your joints. Running, jumping, kickboxing, and other exercises are considered high-impact, which can cause significant pain and even damage your joints. Lunges and deep squats can also put unnecessary stress on your knees and cause injury. Always talk to your doctor about trying a new exercise or sport.
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At Pain Medicine Group, we know a pain-free life is within reach. Our dedicated Orlando pain management doctors can help you treat and manage a wide variety of pain, including knee pain. Don’t wait any longer to learn how we can help you enjoy your life without pain.
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