Acupuncture For Knee Pain
Your knees carry you through life. They are the largest joints in your body. We often take them for granted until it’s too late. Every single day our knees allow us to climb stairs, bend down, stroll down the street, and even get out of bed in the morning. When knee pain gets us down, you might assume you need surgery or other invasive treatments. Before you head for the laparoscope or the scalpel, here’s what you should know about acupuncture for knee pain.
How does acupuncture for knee pain work?
Knee pain is a widespread problem across the globe. Our knees are responsible for much of our activity, and they can take a beating over time. Acupuncture for knee pain can help address both acute and chronic knee pain, helping to keep the body in balance and preventing inflammation that leads to pain.
Science shows that there is an increase of stem cell production with tiny amounts of electrical microcurrent. Acupuncture works on these principals to improve tissue recovery. Research that included 3,187 patients with knee osteoarthritis showed that patients who received electroacupuncture treatments had greater improvement, pain relief, and increased quality of life.
Acupuncture also helps with knee joint health by balancing the contributing muscle groups and posture. That way the muscles are not pulling and creating torque on the knee joint in ways that can cause calcium deposits (osteophytes), uneven cartilage wear (that can lead to meniscal damage), or unbalanced ligament strain (which can lead to ACL/MCL injuries). Keep in mind that even after surgery, research indicates that acupuncture helps improve healing and the reorganization of damaged tissues to ensure you get better quicker and stay better.
Our mission is to improve balanced mobility in the knee joint so you can keep doing what you love. While there are a variety of reasons why knee pain occurs, these are the most common causes.
Arthritis is the most common cause of knee pain, affecting nearly 25% of people in the U.S. Of the over 100 forms of arthritis that exist, two stand out.
Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear condition that occurs as we age. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to “attack” its own joints. Both cause pain and limited mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause swelling and heat in the knees.
Tendons and ligaments stabilize the three bones of the knee joint. When tendons become inflamed, the resulting tendonitis can cause:
- Decreased range of motion
Injury due to overuse or misuse (weekend warriors, this means you!) is a very common cause of knee pain. If the muscles supporting your knee joint are not strong, injury can occur. Injury due to falls or accidents is also possible.
These injuries can lead to:
- Partial meniscal tears
- Partial ALC tears
- MCL injuries and tears
What forms of knee pain can acupuncture help with?
Chronic knee pain affects almost 47% of people between the ages of 50 and 69. It’s the most common cause of pain in this age group. Acupuncture for knee pain offers relief and increased mobility in the knee joint.
Research backs this up. Here’s what we know.
Acupuncture for knee arthritis
Arthritis is the most common cause of knee pain. Various studies looked at acupuncture for knee arthritis and found promising results.
A scientific review of nearly 4,000 patients found that acupuncture was as or more effective than standard care and for people waiting for surgery. In patients with osteoarthritis of the knees, acupuncture provided good relief for pain during acute flare-ups.
Just as importantly for people with chronic knee arthritis, in a review of 20,827 patients, acupuncture was shown to reduce or eliminate knee pain and dysfunction. The effects persisted when compared to standard of care including the use of medications and surgery.
Acupuncture for knee tendonitis
Knee tendonitis is a blanket term for any inflammation in the tendons of the knee. This can involve tendons surrounding the kneecap, or any other connective tissues that become inflamed due to injury or chronic disease.
Acupuncture for knee tendonitis reduces inflammation, increases blood flow to the area and improves circulation, and increases and organizes the healing tissues to reduce scarring. These actions are widely recognized as crucial to healing. This treatment can be especially successful when performed in conjunction with strengthening exercises that target the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscles.
Because it can be challenging to accurately measure the effects of acupuncture directly, research has used Doppler imaging to show how acupuncture increases blood flow and circulation. Other research has demonstrated how tissues and nerves close to the acupuncture pin set up a chain reaction in and around the targeted area to decrease pain and inflammation.
Acupuncture for knee injury
Injury to the knee, including fractures and tears, can cause tremendous pain and inflammation, making movement without pain impossible. Acupuncture for knee injury focuses mainly on immediate pain relief but also helps to decrease swelling and to help the tissues heal.
When you suffer a knee injury, part of your healing may be physical therapy to restore movement and reduce pain. Research has shown that acupuncture actually increases the effects of rehabilitative exercises. Our patients and their doctors enjoy seeing quicker recovery when we work as a team.
This research is in addition to the above studies that show the positive effects of acupuncture on circulation, which is crucial to healing an injury.
Our approach to acupuncture for knee pain
Knee pain can have a devasting impact on your life.he Welldge Clinic, we take a comprehensive perspective for our patient’s health problems. If we don’t look at the person as a whole, we miss the real underlying problem leading to pain and only treating symptoms.
Instead, our treatment approach occurs over three stages:
- Provide relief while addressing the root cause of pain or other symptoms
- Then, our efforts focus on correcting the problem and the underlying causes of the problem
- As patients get better, we begin a maintenance schedule, so they stay better. You can imagine a car—it’s like an oil change, engine tune up, and tire rotation for your body. We encourage people not to wait for a catastrophe, but to instead keep up with their maintenance work.
Acupuncture for knee pain is an important part of your path towards better wellness.