Controlling Knee Pain without medications or surgery


I have found that knee pain for many patients has responded to treating the skeletal alignment problems as well as treating swelling problems.  When the pelvis is not aligned appropriately, the skeleton is not in neutral alignment such as shown in the paper-plate spine.












When the pelvis is out of alignment one of the legs is functionally longer than the other one.  You can see this in this photo showing the pelvis out of neutral alignment with the left leg longer than the right.  This is the reason I like to start working on improving the alignment of the pelvis to help alleviate knee pain.  














Alignment problems of the skeleton can cause problems in all joints and muscles and eventually will lead to mechanical wearing of the joint structures causing arthritis.  These alignment problems can often be improved by working to establish normal alignment of the skeleton and therefore the joint.  I have found that by restoring the neutral alignment of the pelvis this helps improve the alignment of the knee, even when arthritis is present.  In this case, often the pain is significantly reduced.  However, since there is still arthritis present it makes me think that something else is causing the knee pain.  



One of the techniques that I have found to be helpful is Strain and Counter Strain developed by an osteopathic physician, Lawrence Jones, D.O.  It is a highly specialized stretching protocol that I have turned into a home program to teach patients.  I call this “Releasing Joint Restrictions”.  The “horse and thinker” position is the first technique that I turn to in addressing joint pain anywhere in the body.  The "horse and thinker" position is used to improve the alignment of the pubic bone and pelvis which improves the alignment of the legs below the pelvis and the spine and shoulders above the pelvis.  



A further mechanical breakdown can occur due to poor posture causing abnormal torque forces through the joint structures.  Working on keeping the forces through the joints in a neutral position can help, such as avoid bending knees backward or twisting/tilting the pelvis or leg. 
















Swelling is another possible cause of knee pain.  In 2007, I did my doctoral research on controlling knee pain by treating swelling problems.  This 42-year-old showed very little swelling in his left leg but after wearing compression stockings and doing Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) massage technique his knee pain reduced from 9/10 to 2/10 when he hiked or played sports.  He lost 2 cm off the calf and ankle, and he gained 12 degrees of bending motion of the knee.  Several older patients in the study noted pain walking through Costco reduced from 8/10 to 2/10, lost girth, and improved range of motion in the knee after 2 weeks of wearing compression socks and doing MLD. 













By addressing alignment problems, posture problems, and swelling problems, I have had several patients able to control their knee pain without medications or surgery. 







If you have knee pain, try working with the Releasing Joint Restrictions (RJR) information on this site.  Start by treating the pubic bone on the side and the front and then work on the pelvis and then the spine.  Use the pre-test and post-test to determine if you are making any changes.  The improvement is typically noted immediately.  Once the pelvis and spine are aligned, then work your way down the leg to continue to improve alignment.  If you need to, find a physical therapist who knows how to do the "Strain and Counterstrain" technique to improve your skeletal alignment.