The knee is one of the most complex and important joints in our bodies. It has the task of joining our biggest bone the femur, to the lower bones of the leg, the tibia, and the fibula. The knee is surrounded by ligaments, which in a healthy state are flexible enough to provide free movement and support. Inside the knee the is c-shaped cartilage called the meniscus, this cartilage acts as a shock absorber for the bones that the knee joins. Lastly, the patella or kneecap is the bone that covers the knee and protects it.
With this kind of anatomy, it is easy to imagine the range of causes for knee pain, and why it is a common complaint in people of all ages. Whether it is from an injury, lack of use, or degeneration, acupuncture can help.
A combination of physical exams, including palpation of the area of pain, and range of motion, along with an assessment of the characteristics of the patient like age, weight, and level of activity are usually part of the diagnosis process. Lastly, imaging can provide information on the structural condition of the joint.
Acupuncture helps promote circulation in a way that can benefit many different causes of knee pain. The increased circulation draws blood cells and platelets to the area which can speed up healing. It reduces inflammation and loosens tight muscles around the knee, which can in turn allow the joint to relax and return to health. Reducing inflammation and tightness around the knee can reduce pain. The use of acupuncture needles also releases endorphins, which are hormones secreted by our bodies that have analgesic effects. This kind of pain relief is incredibly helpful for cases of arthritis.
Some of the most common causes of knee pain are not due to an underlying disease. Injuries, too much stress, and aging are among the main causes. Heavy physical activity can create sprains or strains. Putting weight on your knees, kneeling for a long period of time, or lack of use of the knees can also cause pain and discomfort. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are also common causes.