Knee Pain Treatment: A Spokane Valley, WA Chiropractor’s Perspective
Many people in Spokane Valley, WA think chiropractors only treat spine-related conditions, but often chiropractic care can help with other extremity-related problems too such as knee pain. Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems that people face. It is the second most common cause of chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months), and it is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans will experience knee pain at some point in their lives. Some of the common risk factors for knee pain are age, weight, overexertion, and tobacco use. In fact, it has been shown that for every pound someone is overweight is adds an additional 4 lbs of stress on the knee joint. When over 65% of the US population is overweight or obese you can start to see why so many people suffer from debilitating knee pain because this joint really faces a lot of stress over time.
The knee is a joint where the femur bone in the thigh meets the tibia bone in the leg. It is a hinge joint, meaning most of its movement occurs back and forth in the same plane of motion. This is largely due to the muscles and ligaments that provide a lot of stability to this joint. Within the knee joint are 2 strong ligaments that cross over one another. These are known as the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, of which the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is commonly heard in relation to sports injuries. There are also ligaments along the sides of the knee called the collateral ligaments, which keep the knee from rotating too much. The menisci (singular: meniscus) are pads of cartilage that line the knee joint and provide extra protection from the forces of both weight and gravity. Finally, there are many muscles such as the quadricep muscles that surround, support, and move the knee joint through its range of motions. These soft tissues all have a vital role to play but are also susceptible to their own unique injuries.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2017 alone, more than 745,000 total knee replacements surgeries were performed. Replacement surgery is performed when the knee joint has eroded to the point where there is “bone on bone” and is absent of any joint spacing. Knee replacement surgery can be helpful, but also carries the risk of infection, blood clots, bone destruction, or continued pain. There are other treatments available that are more natural, offer less risk, are less expensive, but just as effective in reducing knee pain and improving knee function. For example, chiropractic adjustments to the knee can help correct misalignment that can wear down the joint more rapidly. Proper alignment and improved motion can help decrease pain in the knee joint. Other treatments such as exercise to improve posture, massage, and knee traction (decompression) can get to the heart of the issue and have a lasting effect on the function of your knee. Because ultimately, it is about finding the root cause of your knee pain and working to correct it. That is where the best results exist.
How We Treat Knee Pain In Spokane Valley, WA
Comprehensive Consultation, Exam, and X-Rays
Treating knee pain begins with identifying the root cause which is why every new patient encounter at our Spokane Valley, WA chiropractic office involves a comprehensive history to find out what has happened in the past such as traumas or lifestyle factors and present that may be causing the knee pain.
The next step would be a thorough exam of both the knee and spine consisting of postural and range of motion analysis, orthopedic and neurological testing, bilateral weight testing, motion palpation, and if necessary spinal x-rays to measure the extent of the damage and or imbalances, and formulate a custom care plan to help correct the cause of the knee pain.
Corrective Chiropractic Care In Spokane Valley, WA
Our office in Spokane Valley, WA specializes in spinal corrective care. Only a small percentage of chiropractors have this approach and training. Commonly knee pain can be caused by misalignments of the bones in the foot or knee. Spinal or pelvic misalignments can also cause knee pain because the nerves going to the knee come from the lower back and imbalances in the pelvic bones results altered leg length and abnormal weight bearing.
Our goal is to not only help people in Spokane Valley, WA get relief from the knee pain, but also to correct their spine and posture so the issues don’t continue to come back through adjustments and a comprehensive exercise program performed in office as well as at home.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Program
At River City Chiropractic Spokane Valley we custom make a home exercise program and provide spinal homecare equipment that helps our patients get better and long lasting results. Following a thorough exam/xray and report of findings our doctor at River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley, WA will create a home exercise plan that is specific to your posture, exam, and x-ray findings. With this program comes some special spinal rehab equipment to help our patients in Spokane Valley, WA get better results, faster. We also have access to a database of 1000’s of stretches/exercises with videos that can be prescribed to our patients to help them with core stability, gait training or address any other muscle weakness or tightness concerns that may be leading to the knee pain.
Knee Decompression Therapy Spokane Valley, WA
The most common reason for getting knee replacement surgery is simply because the knee joint has completely worn down. The joint space is gone, the menisci have been worn down, and the femur and tibia bones are basically touching. This operation uses hardware that basically “replaces” the knee joint space altogether. It is a costly maneuver and doesn’t always lead to pain relief for sufferers of this type of knee pain. At River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley, WA we utilize technology that decompresses the knee joint, opens up the joint spacing, and stimulates the healing process. This device is known as the Knee-On-Trac, and it is the only product on the market of its kind.
During treatment on the Knee-On-Trac, you sit comfortably in a chair with your knee secured to the device. The device will slowly and gently stretch the knee back and forth across a 5-10 minute period. This treatment has been shown to decrease inflammation, increase hydration to the joint, increase knee range of motion, and speed up the healing process. In our treatment programs, we will take you through a series of visits that will provide regular care to the knee to help restore motion and function to the affected knee joint.
Common Causes of Knee Pain in Spokane Valley, WA
Degenerative Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
Perhaps the most common cause of knee pain, especially chronic knee pain, is degenerative arthritis. This condition is classically caused by wear and tear over years and even decades of use. It can also be accelerated by being overweight or obese due to the increased weight stress applied to the knee joints. It typically shows up on one side first, but it can affect both knees over time. From a medical standpoint, it is typically treated with NSAID medications, knee injections, and eventually knee replacement surgery. However, there are more natural options available to treat this common condition.
River City Chiropractic Spokane Valley addresses knee pain by getting to the root cause of the issue. If there is an alignment or soft tissue problem, chiropractic and corrective exercise is always a good way to preserve and improve the range of motion in an already-diminishing joint. Our Knee-On-Trac device can decompress the knee joint and increase joint space and range of motion while decreasing inflammation. Overall, there are many effective, conservative treatments for degenerative arthritis that are worth trying before moving on to more invasive treatment methods.
Within the knee joint two ligaments connect the thigh bone to the leg bone: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Of these 2, the ACL is far more likely to be injured. ACL injuries can happen in everyday life, but they most notably occur in the context of sports due to the mechanism of injury. In sports that require rapid change of direction such as soccer, basketball, or football, the ACL can be damaged when the knee gets rotated while the foot is planted. This torquing motion causes fibers in the ACL to tear, and in the worst cases, completely rupture.
ACL treatment depends largely on the extent of the damage. If the ligament is damaged but still intact, it can be rehabilitated through therapies such as rehabilitation exercises, deep tissue laser, vibration therapy, as well as many others. If a complete rupture has occurred, however, it will often require surgical reconstruction of the ligament. This is a severe injury that requires months of steady rehab post-operatively. If you injure your knee playing sports, it is best to have it checked by a healthcare professional who can point you in the right direction.
Another common sports injury that occurs with forceful twisting of the knee joint is a torn meniscus. The meniscus is the thin layer of fibrocartilage that lines the bony surfaces of the knee joint. When you plant the foot, the bones of the knee joint come extremely close together. When rotation of the knee occurs, whether intentional or not, the bones push into the meniscus, causing anything up to a complete tear in the cartilage. This can be very painful and cause lots of swelling and inflammation to develop in and around the knee.
Surgery is a common route for treating a torn meniscus, but it is not always successful. More conservative methods have been shown to be just as effective in rehabilitating even completely torn menisci. Therapies such as deep tissue laser and therapeutic exercises can be extremely effective for healing torn menisci, but it can take time and requires patience in order to make a complete recovery.
Some knee injuries are the result of overuse or repetitive motion, and a particularly common one is known as Runner’s knee. This condition causes pain in the front of the knee, and also either around or behind the knee cap. It develops over time as a result of repetitive activity such as jogging or running. It can cause “creaking” and “cracking” noises to occur in addition to chronic knee stiffness. The amount of force and stress placed on the knee joint during this activity causes the surrounding tissue to become inflamed. However, there is usually no damage to any bones, ligaments, or muscle tendons.
Sometimes, runner’s knee will require some time off of running to let the tissue heal and the inflammation subside. It can also be managed effectively with treatment such as deep tissue laser, which uses light energy to penetrate deep into the tissue and accelerate the healing process by decreasing inflammation. Runners are some of the most dedicated athletes on the planet, and the better they can manage conditions like runner’s knee, the more they can stay out there doing what they love.
A subluxation is a misalignment of the bones forming the knee, foot, ankle, or vertebrae/hip bones of the spine which prevents normal motion and posture. These misalignments over time can irritate or damage the spinal nerves resulting in knee pain, they can alter gait and weight-bearing leading to additional stress and irritation on certain joints such as the knee. At River City Chiropractic Spokane Valley, we locate subluxations of the spine or extremities that are causing knee pain, and through chiropractic adjustments paired with therapeutic exercises help people correct their subluxations over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a chiropractor help with knee pain?
Yes. Chiropractic care very often can help with knee pain. The first step would be to have a thorough evaluation done to determine the cause and extent of damage to the knee. Unless there is a severe injury conservative treatment such as chiropractic, exercise, and knee decompression are a very safe, natural solution to resolve knee pain.
When should I see a chiropractor in Spokane Valley, WA for knee pain?
Right away. Unless there was an acute injury by the time pain starts to appear the problem has been there for some time. It is important to address knee pain as early as possible to have a better and faster recovery. Visit River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley, WA to see how we can help correct the cause of your knee pain.
How do I know if my knee pain is serious?
Your knee pain is serious if it is interfering with your everyday life. Work, hobbies, family activities, etc. are an important part of quality of life. If your knee pain is disrupting these things, you should get it checked out to find out what the best options are to help fix this problem you’re having.
Is walking good for knee pain?
Exercise is definitely good for knee pain, and walking is one of the best types of exercise you can do for it. Walking exercises the leg muscles that move and support the knee, while also not applying very much force to the joint. Moving your body and joints such as the knee help to lubricate the joints and keep them healthy. The key with exercise is to do it consistently, and with walking being an easier activity to perform, it is a great option for you to do if you have knee pain.
Is it better to use heat or ice for knee pain?
Most types of knee pain or injuries involve inflammation, so ice is typically best when treating knee pain at home. Ice helps both with dulling pain and reducing inflammation. Heat can increase more blood flow and increase inflammation in the knee.
8:00am - 6:00pm
3:30pm - 5:30pm
8:00am - 6:00pm
11:00am - 5:30pm
River City Chiropractic
15413 East Valleyway Avenue
Building B Suite 100
Spokane Valley, WA 99037