Chiropractic and Knee Pain


Knee pain is getting increasingly more common and more people with these health complaints are going for health care treatment both in medical clinics and chiropractic offices. In the U.S., knee pain accounts for more than 30 percent of all muscle and bone pain cases in doctor visits. The most common complaints pertain to wear and tear issues or osteoarthritis. Other reasons why people have knee pain conditions are sprained ligaments, meniscus tears, runner’s knee and tendonitis. Knee pain is also a special problem among athletes. More than half of all athletes deal with it every year.


Chiropractic can be helpful in the treatment of knee pain. While osteoarthritis is a condition which is not curable, chiropractic treatment can help reduce the symptoms and its progression can be controlled. Chiropractic cannot only help with knee pain but it is also effective for the treatment of many other problems of the knee.


The Knee Joint


Your knees are large complex joints that rely very strongly on muscles and ligaments for stability. They are weight-bearing joints consisting of the following:


  • Tibio-femoral joints – located between your thighs and lower legs
  • Patello-femoral joints – located between your knee caps and thighs
  • Ligaments and muscles – They provide both active and passive stability to the knees.
  • Menisci – These are two cartilage discs in each of your knee .


Chiropractic Treatment for Knee Pain


Chiropractic treatment will be helpful in the following situations:


  • When your knee pain is restricting your daily activities or sidelines you from sports activities
  • When you rely on painkillers and been advised to just rest, and do not see any long-term improvement with your condition
  • You have been diagnosed with arthritis and told that there is no hope in sight


The chiropractor takes a comprehensive and complete medical history of the patient and performs a thorough examination, both physical and biomechanical, to be able to generate an accurate diagnosis. A successful treatment will be possible only with an accurate diagnosis.


Before the treatment commences, not only the knee joint is examined, but all the other anatomical components such as  the low back, hip, pelvis, foot and ankle because of their direct influence on the knee, and the other way around. In certain conditions, the knee pain can be a referred pain from some other structures in the pelvis, low back and hip.  There is also a possibility that if other joints in the leg are not working correctly, increased stress is put on the joint in the knee, eventually resulting in injury.

The chiropractor may therefore also treat other areas linked to the knee, for maximized long-term improvement.

The treatment approach given to patients with knee pain is specific to the individual depending on their conditions. What is appropriate for one may not necessarily be the best approach for another. Here’s how a typical program of treatment for knee pain look like:


Stage 1:  Reduction of pain and inflammation of the joint through the following:


  • Avoiding factors that aggravate the condition; Using sports tape for support
  • Using ice therapy to reduce the inflammation, pain and muscle spasm
  • Employing soft tissue healing, ultrasound, laser and interferential therapy


Stage 2:  Normalizing joint functions through:


  • Applying specific chiropractic manipulation techniques as well as mobilization techniques to the areas where there is restricted movement. These are employed to bring about increased movement, improved function and reduced pain.
  • Using massage therapy – deep soft tissue, trigger-point and cross-friction


Stage 3:  Rehabilitation exercise program.  Whenever appropriate, exercise is introduced to improve the patient’s strength, stability and endurance. Other activities to improve balance and proprioception or the sense of position of the joint are also worked on. They will all help the patient return to normal, at the same time prevent new injuries. Tai Chi exercises are really effective in that sense.


Chiropractic care can immensely help in knee pain problems. It can help relieve pain, improve movement, strength and balance and prevent knee pain from recurring.