Knee Pain due to Injuries- What About Chiropractic Care?
Injuries, accidents and traumatic events are inevitable. Each year, hundreds and thousands of people develop moderate to severe injuries to their knee joint and other components of axial skeleton. Some cases are trivial and responds fairly well to rest/relaxation and exercises; while others may lead to permanent disability, loss of function and societal burden.
Traumatic injuries to knee joint and resulting chronic knee pain affect 38% of the population (1). This is mainly because, any forceful impact or blow on the knee joint can affect the integrity of joint components; leading to pain as a result of:
Inflammation of the joint cavity
Tear, stretch or strain of ligaments and associated connective tissues
Bruising of muscles
Fracture and Dislocation of joint components
There are a number of common conditions and syndromes that may follow after an acute knee injury; such as bursitis, tendonitis, osteoarthritis and other similar ailments that can lead to chronic knee pain and joint destruction.
How chiropractors manage knee pain due to injuries?
The chiropractic protocols vary according to the extent, intensity and severity of knee pain and injury. For example, in minor injuries; chiropractors advise:
Reducing the physical activity to a minimum until your pain and discomfort is resolved.
Application of cold compresses (like a wet piece of cloth or ice on your knee) if the injury is followed by swelling and discomfort. Application of cold compresses prevent further inflammation and reduce the existing pain.
Chiropractors also advise pain-killers if injury is painful. This includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or some potent options in case of severe pain.
According to the case study published in Journal of Chiropractic Medicine (1), investigator suggested that traumatic knee injuries (due to fall, accidents or sports related injuries) can be managed conservatively if multi-modal, chiropractic approach is utilized. Author reported the case of an 80-year old female who develop medial meniscal tear after a fall. However, she responded fairly well to multi-modal therapy that includes:
Therapeutic ultrasound (use of ultrasonic waves to alleviate pain and improve blood circulation)
Mechanically assisted Chiropractic therapies (with or without adjusting techniques) according to individual situation.
Sports taping that aims to facilitate the injured tissues
Ice compresses or application of warmth
Specific rehabilitation program
Elevation and compression protocol
Soft tissue therapy using lymphatic drainage and effleurage
At the end of 12th session, patient was able to swim, walk and ride a bicycle without any pain.
According to another case study reported by Thomas J. Solecki (2) and associates, chiropractic interventions alone helped in complete restoration of normal knee function and repair of ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in a 25-year old patient after injury. Author utilized multimodal technique (Active Release Technique, Kinesio Taping and Graston Technique) in addition to rehabilitation exercises to promote healing within a period of 12- weeks.
Matthew Fernandez (3) discussed the efficacy of interdisciplinary and multimodal approach in the management of posterior cruciate ligament and medial patellar retinaculum with 8-week therapy in a 32-year old male who suffered moderate destruction of knee joint after traumatic injury. The team of investigators combined chiropractic protocols (such as lumbopelvic manipulation) with physical therapy and exercise program to restore functional independence.
Besides above listed protocols, other helpful interventions include:
Active Release Technique
Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS)
Deep intramuscular electrical stimulation
Trigger point deactivation
Chiropractic management in long term:
Life style changes: Arthritis is a common complication of moderate knee joint injuries. Acute arthritis is a painful condition and leads to degeneration of joints. Under such circumstances simple changes in lifestyle can prove effective and fruitful. Incorporating regular exercise, yoga, herbal drugs, proper diet and reducing the use of stimulants has benefited the lives of many.
In addition, chiropractors also identify the cause and pathophysiology of injuries and advice adequate measures to minimize the risk of future events.
Other modalities include:
Psychosocial patient management
Use of supportive devices (such as orthotics, back support and other devices for posture stabilization)
What is the estimated recovery time for a knee injury?
Whatever your type of knee injury may be, you must keep in mind that knee problems need a rather long time to heal properly. This is mainly because, knee joint is a central and weight bearing joint of the body. Some serious knee injuries like a torn ligament or a dislocated knee cap may take months or even years for full functional recovery; however, with chiropractic adjustments and holistic protocols, the pace of recovery can be substantially improved. Although, optimal rest and therapeutic protocols are extremely important, you can always consider resuming your usual activities when the knee is in no pain while you are walking or running. It is highly recommended to speak to a chiropractor to learn more about the recovery program for your specific injury.
You can learn more about chiropractic treatments and the causes of knee pain by consulting a chiropractic practitioner for further advice.
Jarosz, B. S., & Ames, R. A. (2010). Chiropractic management of a medial meniscus tear in a patient with tibiofemoral degeneration: a case report. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 9(4), 200-208.
Fernandez, M., & Pugh, D. (2012). Multimodal and interdisciplinary management of an isolated partial tear of the posterior cruciate ligament: a case report. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 11(2), 84-93.
Solecki, T. J., & Herbst, E. M. (2011). Chiropractic management of a postoperative complete anterior cruciate ligament rupture using a multimodal approach: a case report. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 10(1), 47-53.
LaPrade, R. F., Surowiec, R. K., Sochanska, A. N., Hentkowski, B. S., Martin, B. M., Engebretsen, L., & Wijdicks, C. A. (2014). Epidemiology, identification, treatment and return to play of musculoskeletal-based ice hockey injuries. British journal of sports medicine, 48(1), 4-10.
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