Try Acupuncture for Chronic Knee Pain

  • Tara Andresen

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There are many different possible reasons for knee pain. Apart from obvious tears and trauma to the knee structures, chronic nagging knee pain is often due to problems with calf muscles below the knee or thigh muscles above the knee. In my work as a naturopath, I have found that acupuncture improves muscle function around the knee and as a result effectively treats knee pain.

More specifically, myofascial acupuncture (where muscle trigger points are released) significantly improves knee pain. Trigger points form in muscles that are overused and contracted for a prolonged period. Trigger points feel ropey or tender when you press on them. Often pressing on the affected muscle will refer pain to the knee. Conversely, releasing these trigger points with acupuncture will address referred discomfort and decrease knee pain.

The muscles most often involved in knee pain include the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles in the calf which pull downward on the knee when they are not working properly and contain trigger points. As a side note, trigger points in these muscles can also lead to pain in the bottom of the foot. Ie. Plantar fasciitis.

In addition to the calf muscles, the muscles in the thigh can also contribute to knee pain. Trigger points in the quadriceps will pull up on the knee and cause discomfort. There are also muscles on the back side of the thigh that can be problematic as well.

Myofascial acupuncture is a highly effective treatment for releasing muscle trigger points that are referring pain to the knee. To know if muscle pain is the root cause for your knee pain, you should have a full assessment done by your Naturopath. They will rule out other possible causes for knee pain that are not related to muscle function before suggesting treatment options.

Your Naturopath will likely also suggest relevant stretching and hydrotherapy techniques to improve muscle function further between acupuncture treatments. Muscle pain often requires stretches to be held longer than you may think. Typically, a stretch will need to be held for 45 seconds at a time. Hydrotherapy for muscle pain typically refers to the application of therapeutic heat, which should be done as well between acupuncture treatments.

To find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can improve knee pain, contact your local Naturopathic Doctor or book your appointment with Dr. Andresen at one of her Toronto Naturopathic Clinics.