Why is my knee hurting?
When to seek a pain management physician to relieve knee pain.
A common complaint that affects people of all ages is knee pain. Knee pain can be the result of various diseases or injury, or most often the result of normal wear and tear which occurs with aging (this is usually called Osteoarthritis). Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. It develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.
The bones that make up your knee usually have a cap of cartilage on their ends. This cartilage helps make sure that your bones move smoothly against each other. The normal knee joint also contains a small amount of fluid called synovial fluid, which is a thick, gel-like substance that cushions the joint and provides lubrication to reduce friction. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of the cartilage breaks down and wears away, and the synovial fluid loses its ability to lubricate the joint. This combination causes pain and stiffness, limitation of joint motion, and some inflammation in your knees.
Knee Pain Self-Care Treatment Options
Many types of minor knee pain may respond well to self-care measures such as icing, wearing a knee brace, and elevating legs at the end of the day. However, if the pain is preventing you from doing your work or your daily activities, you may require pain management intervention to relieve the pain. Your pain physician will evaluate your knee, may order some x-rays and some blood work to determine what is going on and what is the best treatment for you.
Knee Pain Treatment Options
After knowing the cause, there are multiple treatment options:
- Medications: such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy: to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and decrease the friction.
- Steroid injection: this procedure will decrease the inflammation and make physical therapy and activity easier.
- Visco-supplementation: in this procedure a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid will be injected into the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial fluid surrounding the joint’s cartilages.
- Genicular nerve block: in this procedure the physician will inject medications near the nerves that transmit the pain signals from your knee and interrupt and block these signals. If you experienced effective pain relief following a nerve block, your physician may recommend genicular nerve ablation.