If you’re like most people, you don’t think about your knees until they start hurting and stop functioning. Since knee pain affects your mobility, it can negatively impact your quality of life, making even everyday tasks, like walking and standing, difficult.
At New Jersey Advanced Pain Management Center, board-certified interventional spine and pain physician Ajay Kumar MD, DABPM specializes in helping men and women struggling with knee pain find relief at our offices in Hackettstown and Fairlawn , New Jersey, Matamoras, Pennsylvania, and Middletown, New York.
Dr. Kumar has the knowledge and experience to help diagnose the underlying cause of your knee pain and help restore your mobility. While surgery is sometimes the best option, many nonsurgical treatments can alleviate your discomfort, restore your mobility, and treat the underlying cause. And if you’ve had surgery and are still experiencing pain, Dr. Kumar’s years of experience can help.
Here’s a closer look at eight therapies for knee pain that don’t require surgery. Keep in mind that Dr. Kumar may recommend one or a combination of these therapies depending on your unique situation.
1. Lifestyle changes
Based on the type of knee pain you have and your medical and lifestyle histories, Dr. Kumar may suggest making changes to alleviate your discomfort and prevent it from returning, including:
- Losing excess weight
- Incorporating physical activity
- Modifying different activities
You may also want to evaluate the way you sit since sitting with your legs bent in a chair for long periods strains and stretches the muscles and ligaments that work your knees.
2. Over-the-counter medications
Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, and ibuprofen, work well to ease mild to moderate knee pain and reduce inflammation. Dr. Kumar may also suggest an OTC topical analgesic, like muscle rubs, to provide short-term, temporary pain relief.
3. Supportive devices
Supportive devices, like braces, splints, and even custom orthotics, work to align your joints and give your knee joint extra external stability. With the joint stabilized, knees experience less inflammation and pain at the same time the muscles that work the knee are strengthened.
4. Physical therapy
Physical therapy is an effective treatment for knee pain that stems from a chronic condition, such as arthritis. By engaging in specific exercises, like targeted stretching and muscle strengthening in your legs, you alleviate some of the stress on your knee. Physical therapy also helps you keep your joints aligned to minimize your pain.
5. Steroid injections
Cortisone injections, or steroids, can help reduce pain and swelling in patients with a deteriorating knee joint or an acute knee injury. Cortisone injections usually only help for a short period of time and repeated cortisone injections can damage the cartilage of the knee.
6. Viscosupplementation injections
Viscosupplementation injections work to inject hyaluronic acid into your arthritic knee joint to ease your pain and improve mobility. Your joints naturally contain hyaluronic acid, a gel-like substance that lubricates your joints and acts as a natural shock absorber. If you have osteoarthritis in the knee and still have pain even after physical therapy and non-steroidal cortisone injections, you can get good relief from hyaluronic acid injections.
7. Genicular nerve neurotomy
Genicular nerve neurotomy, also called radiofrequency ablation, is an advanced procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to reduce or eliminate knee pain. By targeting specific nerves in the knee, your provider cuts off communication between key nerves in your knee and your brain, stopping the pain signals from getting through.
8. Peripheral nerve stimulator (PNS)
Peripheral nerve stimulator (PNS) is an advanced minimally invasive procedure that blocks branches of a nerve in your knee from sending pain signals to your brain. Your provider first conducts a diagnostic nerve block to determine if you’re a candidate.
When to seek medical help for your knee pain
If your knee pain is mild, try a few home remedies and see if your symptoms improve over the next day or two before you schedule an appointment. Knee pain from minor injuries, like a mild strain, responds well to at-home treatments, like RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
The earlier you begin treatment, the better your chances of recovery. If you have severe pain or have any of the following symptoms, don’t wait to seek help:
- Pain that doesn’t get better, even after rest
- Inability to extend or flex your knee
- Significant swelling around the joint
- Unable to bear weight on the knee
- Grinding or popping sensation when moving your knee
- Unable to walk or perform normal movements
- Fever with your pain
- Significant redness or warmth around your knee
- Visible deformity around the joint
- If you have had knee surgery more than three months ago and still experience pain
Learn more about your surgery-free treatment options for knee pain by contacting Dr. Kumar and the team at New Jersey Advanced Pain Management Center. You can also book a consultation using our online tool.