Doctors may recommend different types of knee pain relief, depending on the severity of the pain and the condition that causes it. If the pain is mild and the underlying condition is temporary, a person may decide to treat it at home. On the other hand, severe pain knee or what is caused by a condition, such as arthritis, or an infection may require medical attention.
People who injure their knees due to exercise mishaps or overwork often benefit from using an ice bag, which offers pain relief and can reduce swelling. Hard ice bags can be wrapped in a thin towel and placed on the knee. If no ice bag is available, a bag of frozen vegetables or ice cubes can be replaced. The ice can be placed on the knee for 20 minutes at a time, about three times daily. The knee skin, tissues and nerves can be damaged if the ice is left on it longer than that.
Heat treatment can also be used for knee pain relief. This can help, especially if the muscles around the knee are sore, as the heat will relax the area and encourage blood flow. A heating pad may be used or the patient may apply a warm, damp towel. If the patient’s knee feels too hot or uncomfortably warm, the heat source should be removed to avoid burning. Heat treatment can also be used to relieve pain in the knee before a person is engaged in physical activity.
Patients may benefit from compression bandages. Sufferers can either wrap the knee in a sports car bandage, or choose to wear a buckle specifically designed for the knee. Patients should choose a buckle that squeezes the knee but does not interfere with blood circulation. A compression dressing can help prevent swelling, as well as provide support and stability to the joint. In addition to compression, patients who wish to reduce swelling may raise the knee, or put it in a resting position, encouraging drainage of any accumulated fluid.
Over-the-counter topical ointments can help provide temporary knee pain relief. Usually applied directly to the skin, these often contain ingredients such as lidocaine, menthol and capsaicin. While patients may need to experiment to find the product that best suits them, such painkillers should not be combined or used more often than recommended on the label instructions. Topical products can be applied with a cotton swab or paper towel to prevent the patient from getting the ointment on their hands.
Oral medication can also relieve pain in the knee. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen, ibuprofen and aspirin, can be taken for mild pain according to product directions. Patients who experience severe knee pain may seek stronger, prescription drugs from their doctors. A physician can determine which drug works best for each patient.
In some cases, the doctor and the patient may decide that oral medication is not the best course of treatment. In this case, a doctor may administer a corticosteroid injection into the affected joint, which can provide knee pain relief for as long as a few months. If the joint suffers from inflammation, an injection of hyaluronic acid may help. This fluid is found naturally in the joints and can provide knee pain relief for up to six months.
Although successful during treatment, the patient should work to prevent future knee injuries and pain. This can mean reducing or stopping the activity that caused the first problem. Or the patient may work with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles around the knee, to prevent future injuries. If the pain was caused by a chronic, underlying condition, such as arthritis, the patient should follow a doctor’s instructions to treat it.
- Patients can work with a physical therapist to improve range of motion and strengthen the knee, reducing pain.
- An ice bag, which can help with knee pain.
- Doctors for RICE, which stands for (r) est, (i) ce, (c) repression, and (e) levation, for simple sprains.
- Ice cubes can be used to provide knee pain relief when ice bags are unavailable.
- Many runners maintain knee injuries when pushing their boundaries.
- Knee wraps can relieve pain in the knee.
- Capsaicin creams, a chemical that gives red pepper its heat, can be used to relieve joint pain.
- Oral medicine can provide relief from pain in the knee.
- A heating pad can help to give the knee pain relief by encouraging blood flow to the area.