Knee Pain and How to Treat it Holistically

Knee Pain

Many of our clients ask us about knee pain and how to treat it holistically with chiropractic adjustments!

If you experience knee pain, it can make even simple tasks like walking upstairs or getting in and out of chairs difficult. Persistent discomfort in the knee area can make sleeping troublesome, and even bending down to pick something up can cause sharp pain. The inability to exercise can quickly affect your overall health, and possibly the most significantly, knee pain can lead to missing out on family activities and adversely impact your mood, disrupting your daily routine.


If you’re exhausted from dealing with knee pain that won’t go away, it might be time to reconsider how you care for your knees. Luckily, we live in an era where modern science intersects with ancient wisdom, offering innovative ways to improve knee health.

This blog uncovers essential insights into knee pain and how to treat it with effective solutions grounded in this new understanding.

Often, diagnoses from MRIs and ultrasounds can create limiting beliefs that impede healing, pushing people towards riskier treatments like corticosteroid injections and surgery, which may not provide long-term benefits compared to conservative care.

knee pain and how to treat

Scientific evidence suggests that knee pain often stems from spinal issues that disrupt nerve signals, indicating that addressing postural and body imbalances is crucial for recovery. Emotional factors, such as anxiety and depression, can further complicate knee pain, making a holistic treatment approach essential. Rather than focusing solely on the knee, treatments that consider whole-body compensations are more effective. Chiropractic care and muscle techniques like Trigenics can help align these imbalances, restoring proper nerve and muscle function, and facilitating genuine healing.

  • Holistic Approach: How Posture Affects Knee Healing
  • Hidden Causes: How Your Spine Affects Knee Pain
  • Emotional Factors: How Anxiety & Depression Affect Knee Pain
  • Dangers of Diagnostic Imaging: How Negative Results Can Harm Recovery
  • Conservative Care First: Risks of Steroid Injections and Surgery

Knee Pain and How to Treat – Holistic Approach

Holistic Approach: How Posture Affects Knee Healing

Recognising the compensations in our posture is essential for effectively addressing knee issues, as they are often a contributing factor to the initial knee problem.

Refer to Figure 1, which shows an example of spinal and postural compensation that can impact multiple conditions beyond just knee problems. For instance, when the pelvis is misaligned, as shown in the example (Category 2 – Pelvic Subluxation), it can cause instability in the sacroiliac joints and irritate the nerves, weakening the core and postural support below the knee.

This postural misalignment forces the knee into an incorrect position, which disrupts the alignment of surrounding muscles. Consequently, this increases the risk of sprains and strains in muscles such as the quadriceps and hamstrings. This misalignment can cause muscles and ligaments to rub against the joint, leading to inflammation and bursitis.

Interestingly, the same compensation can affect other areas of the body, including the lower back, hip, and ankle. Therefore, it is crucial to address these compensations throughout the entire spine to prevent the development of seemingly unrelated problems.

knee pain and how to treat
Figure 1. – Postural Compensations

Many postural compensations like those shown above in Figure 1. can result in tightening of the diaphragm (part of our core muscles), which may result in restricted breathing patterns.


Hidden Causes: How Your Spine Affects Knee Pain

It’s Never Just a Knee Problem!

Knee issues may often feel like isolated problems, but they’re rarely just muscle problems, or tendons, even if that’s where the damage maybe. The knee is a complex joint influenced by various factors, including the spine, hips, and even the feet. Understanding the bigger picture is crucial for effective treatment.

The knee functions within an intricate system where muscles, bones, and nerves work together. Your brain and nervous system play a vital role in controlling these movements and maintaining stability. The brain sends signals through the nerves to manage muscle coordination and joint alignment, ensuring smooth and pain-free movement.

Think of the nervous system as a sophisticated control centre. It regulates how we move, stand, and adapt to different stresses. When the brain is under stress—whether physical, emotional, or mental—it can drain energy, leading to poor posture and misalignments. The spine, acting like a fuse box, can experience overload, resulting in nerve irritation that affects the muscles pulling on the knee.

Misalignments in the spine and pelvis can disrupt the nerve signals to the knee, leading to dysfunction and pain. For instance, if the lower back or hips are misaligned, it can cause compensatory movements and stress on the knee joint. This is why addressing only the knee without considering the entire body can lead to incomplete or temporary relief.

Similarly, a knee problem can cause a chain reaction, affecting your overall movement and leading to compensatory issues elsewhere in the body. For example, favouring one knee due to pain can lead to hip or lower back problems over time. This interconnectedness is why a holistic approach is essential.

Chiropractic care is effective in addressing spinal misalignments, which can restore proper nerve flow and improve knee function. By correcting these misalignments, chiropractic techniques help the nervous system maintain correct posture and joint alignment, enhancing overall movement.

Additionally, when knee muscles become stressed or injured, the nerve communication to these muscles can be disrupted. Techniques like Trigenics can help restore this communication, improving muscle function and reducing pain. Trigenics works directly on the muscles, re-establishing the flow of nerve signals, which is crucial for healing and proper knee function.

Ultimately, the flow of energy and information through the nervous system is vital for the knee’s health. By taking a comprehensive approach that considers the spine, nervous system, and overall body mechanics, we can effectively address knee problems and promote lasting recovery.


Emotional Factors: How Anxiety & Depression Affect Knee Pain

Knee injuries make up about 40% of serious sports injuries and often stop athletes from returning to play. Emotions play a big role in recovery. Fear of getting hurt again and lack of confidence can slow down recovery, while support from family, friends, and therapists can help a lot. Studies show that athletes who believe in their ability to recover have less pain and better outcomes. Recent research shows that depression significantly affects knee pain. Addressing emotions like anxiety, motivation, and social support can greatly improve recovery and help athletes get back to their sport.

 It’s fascinating to discover that chronic pain is linked to a phenomenon known as ‘right brain lateralisation,’ which can profoundly affect how we experience and manage knee pain.

The right side of the brain is integral in processing emotions and monitoring bodily sensations. It is also associated with creativity, often linked to musical and artistic abilities, and tends to process information holistically, focusing on the big picture rather than specific details.

When an individual experiences chronic pain, there is increased activity in the right hemisphere, especially in areas that manage stress and anxiety. This heightened activity can amplify the perception of pain and prolong its duration. Understanding this connection allows chiropractors to develop treatments that address these emotional components, potentially reducing pain levels.

Why Energy Therapy is Beneficial

The understanding of emotional influences highlights the importance of holistic treatments like energy therapy and mindfulness. These modalities help the nervous system see the broader perspective, facilitating healing on multiple levels.

In many healing traditions, knee issues are linked to carrying emotional burdens and facing life’s challenges. Integrated Energy Therapy, one of our specialties, draws upon these ancient principles. It teaches that suppressed emotions can become stored in the cellular memory of the knees.

Specifically, mental and emotional stress related to our perceived limitations and support systems can manifest in knee discomfort. The right knee symbolises issues around forward movement and personal control, while the left knee represents support and vulnerability. For instance, someone feeling unsupported at work might experience tension in their left knee due to the stress of carrying these burdens alone.

Addressing Emotional Factors in Knee Pain

By integrating energy therapy, we aim to release these emotional blockages and restore balance. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and guided imagery can help the nervous system recalibrate, reducing the heightened activity in the right brain that exacerbates pain perception.

Additionally, understanding the emotional underpinnings of knee pain allows for a more comprehensive treatment plan. This might include traditional chiropractic adjustments to address physical misalignments, coupled with emotional support strategies to address the root causes of pain.

Ultimately, recognising the connection between emotional health and knee pain underscores the need for a holistic approach. By addressing both the physical and emotional dimensions of knee pain, we can facilitate more effective and lasting healing.


Dangers of Diagnostic Imaging: How Negative Results Can Harm Recovery

Researchers continue to highlight the significant negative impact that certain diagnostic terms from imaging results can have on patients with knee problems. Terms like ‘degenerative joint disease’ and ‘bone-on-bone’ arthritis can create a nocebo effect, making patients feel hopeless, fearful, and stigmatised.

Cartilage of the knee can regenerate! Among the evidence showing that cartilage can heal is a 2006 study of 325 people, average age 45. In the two-year study, which simply followed the natural history of these patients, 37 percent of participants showed improvements in cartilage as measured by MRI.

(19) LA Sports & Spine | Facebook

This language can negatively shape beliefs and expectations, leading to increased pain perception, avoidance of activity, and reduced compliance with treatment. The psychological burden from these terms often results in poorer rehabilitation outcomes. Researchers advocate for using neutral or positive language, providing clear education, and offering empathetic communication to improve health outcomes.

Here are some key points to consider:

Prevalence of Findings:

  • Patellofemoral osteoarthritis (OA) is present in about 65% of people with knee pain over the age of 50.
  • Many people with no knee symptoms have full-thickness cartilage damage, while those with minimal OA can experience significant pain.
  • Studies show that up to 85% of adults without knee pain have x-rays showing knee arthritis, indicating little correlation between the degree of arthritis and actual pain.
  • In one study, 48% of healthy professional basketball players had meniscal (cartilage) damage on their MRIs.

Key Takeaway:

Don’t panic if your knee x-ray or MRI shows degeneration, arthritis, or mild cartilage tears. It’s often normal and not necessarily linked to pain or severe issues.

Understanding these points can help reduce anxiety and promote a more positive outlook, leading to better engagement in treatment and overall health outcomes.

Patellofemoral morphology and alignment: reference values and dose–response patterns for the relation to MRI features of patellofemoral osteoarthritis – ScienceDirect

knee pain and how to treat

Conservative Care First: Risks of Steroid Injections and Surgery

Conservative Care for Knee Problems!

There are some critical points to consider regarding corticosteroid injections and surgery for knee issues:

  • Corticosteroid injections carry the potential risk of weakening tendons and accelerating joint degeneration, including osteoarthritis.
  • The duration of pain relief from these injections can vary widely. Some patients experience relief for months, while others find it only lasts a few days.
  • Research indicates that corticosteroid injections can reduce pain scores within the first 8 weeks, but from 9 to 24 weeks, there’s no significant difference compared to those who didn’t receive injections.
  • By one year, recovery rates are generally lower for those who received corticosteroid injections.

More recent research has only confirmed that ‘when it comes to the long-term effects of corticosteroid injections for knee osteoarthritis (OA), studies show they don’t provide lasting benefits!!’

Pay attention to the evidence: in the longer term, intraarticular corticosteroid injections offer only harm for knee osteoarthritis – ScienceDirect)

Conservative Care vs. Surgery

Knee injuries can significantly impact daily life, prompting many to seek quick fixes like surgery. However, deciding between conservative care and surgical options requires careful consideration of potential benefits and risks. Research suggests that surgery might only offer small long-term improvements and may not be superior to non-operative methods, particularly for conditions like degenerative knee disease.

A study published in the BMJ on May 12, 2017, strongly recommends against arthroscopy for nearly all patients with knee osteoarthritis or meniscal tears. This recommendation is based on a systematic review that showed outcomes for knee arthroscopy were no better than those for exercise in people with degenerative medial meniscus tears. The international, multidisciplinary panel behind the guideline included physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, and other healthcare professionals. They concluded that the small, short-term gains in pain and function from arthroscopy are greatly outweighed by the postoperative limitations and rare serious adverse effects associated with the surgery. Therefore, the panel strongly advocates for conservative treatment over arthroscopy for nearly all patients with degenerative knee disease.

The key takeaway from this research is to prioritise a conservative approach first. This includes chiropractic care, which encompasses exercise and manual therapy. Such methods not only avoid the risks associated with injections and surgery but also offer effective pain relief and functional improvement.

BMJ: Guideline Strongly Recommends Against Arthroscopy for ‘Nearly All’ Pat… | APTA

Take Control of Your Knee Pain Today!

Knee pain can disrupt daily life, affecting everything from walking to sleeping. Modern science and ancient wisdom now offer holistic solutions that address the root causes of knee pain without resorting to risky treatments like corticosteroid injections and surgery.

Why Holistic Treatment?

  • Posture and Alignment: Misalignments in your spine and pelvis can lead to knee pain.
  • Whole-Body Health: Knee issues are often linked to problems in the spine, hips, and feet.
  • Emotional Well-being: Anxiety and depression can worsen knee pain; addressing these can improve recovery.
  • Conservative Care First: Research supports that conservative treatments like chiropractic care are more effective long-term than invasive procedures.

Key Points:

  • Imaging results showing degeneration aren’t always linked to pain.
  • A positive outlook can lead to better treatment engagement and outcomes.

Don’t let knee pain control your life. Book an appointment today and explore holistic treatments tailored to your needs. Book Now!

DISCLAIMER: All content is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Ready to take the next step? Book an appointment with us.
Beautiful Landscape