4 Treatment Options For Chronic Knee Pain

Chronic pain affects 100 million people in the United States. Of all the kinds of chronic pain, knee pain is the second most common. Some causes of chronic knee pain include obesity, trauma to the knee, degenerative disorders, and overuse of the knee joint. Knee pain is debilitating as it makes it hard to walk, go from a sitting to standing position, and climb stairs. There are even some who have knee pain while they are rest.

The good news is, there are some effective treatment options for chronic knee pain. Here are four of those treatment options.

1. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a good option for patients who don't want an invasive type of treatment. When a patient engages in physical therapy, they are strengthening the muscles around the knee. The stronger these muscles, the less pressure there is on the knee joint.

Physical therapy also helps to increase range of motion, flexibility, and stability of the knee. A physical therapist might also recommend electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or soft tissue massage. Some physical therapists might also have the patient do strengthening exercises at home.

2. Genicular Nerve Blocks

The branches of nerves around the knee that provide sensation are called the genicular nerves. A genicular nerve block is one way to block the knee from feeling pain. During this office-based procedure, the patient is given a local anesthetic.

Anesthetic usually provides pain relief within 15 to 30 minutes of the patient receiving it. For some patients, genicular nerve blocks provide pain relief for days, weeks, or months. Because a nerve block will eventually wear off, the procedure needs to be repeated.

3. Radiofrequency Ablation

Patients who do not find pain relief for long periods of time might want to do a radiofrequency ablation instead of a nerve block. During this procedure, a very hot needle is injected directly onto the nerve. The heat helps to disable the nerve by creating inflammation. For some patients, this outpatient procedure provides pain relief for six months to a year.

4. Knee Replacement Surgery

Physical therapy, nerve blocks, and radiofrequency ablation may not be effective treatment options for some patients with chronic knee pain. These people may need to undergo a more invasive procedure called knee replacement surgery. Also known as knee arthroplasty, an orthopedic surgeon performs this type of surgery.

During this procedure, the knee joint gets replaced with an artificial one. Patients who choose this treatment should be aware that high-impact activities and excessive weight can cause the artificial joint to wear out more quickly.

If you think you could use a knee procedure for your pain, contact an orthopedic surgeon near you.