Are You Living With Hip and Knee Pain?
Hip and knee pain are some of the most common types of pain people deal with – they are some of the top pains listed on the Centers for Disease Control surveys of adults reporting joint pain.
So, if you are struggling with hip and knee pain, you are definitely not alone. Whether your knee hurts, your hip hurts, or you are struggling with pain in both joints, you are well aware of the fact that such pain can make it much harder to live the life you prefer.
Fortunately, physical and occupational therapy can do a lot to alleviate that pain.
Long-lasting relief with physical and occupational therapy
Hip and knee pain can be so frustrating – it seems like no matter what you have to do if you move you are going to experience pain.
But there are ways to reduce your pain over the long term. It may take some time and effort on your part, but physical and occupational therapy has proven time and again to help reduce hip and knee pain for patients of all ages and backgrounds.
Why does the pain relief you get from physical and occupational therapy last for so long? There are a few reasons, including:
- Making it easier to lead an active lifestyle. Chronic hip and knee pain can be improved significantly through regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you have to be able to move without significant pain to exercise – something that is made much easier by physical and occupational therapy. Your physical or occupational therapist can help you improve your hip and knee pain significantly and teach you ways to exercise so that you avoid injuring your joints. Through physical and occupational therapy, you can regain strength and mobility so that you can lead a more active lifestyle.
- Helping you move in a healthier way. Many times the pain you are experiencing in your hip and knee is related to unhealthy movement patterns. They may have been learned over time or in response to an initial injury. Those unhealthy movements cause added strain on your joints and lead to further pain and injuries. Your physical or occupational therapist will help identify unhealthy movement patterns and give you advice to replace those patterns with ones that will protect your joints from further injury.
- Making you stronger so you don’t sustain further injuries. One of the big frustrations with joint pain is that it never seems to fully go away. Even if you rest for a while and feel better, when you go out and start moving again the injury can flare up all over again. But with physical and occupational therapy exercises, you get much stronger than you were before. The added strength allows your muscles to better support your joints, so you are less likely to experience additional irritation in the joint.
- Getting to the source of the problem. If you just treat the symptoms of a hip and/or knee issue, you are almost guaranteed to see the problem pop up again later on. But if you can identify the source of the problem, you can actually treat what is causing the pain. Physical and occupational therapists have a process to identify the causes of hip and knee pain so that they can give you targeted treatments designed to get to the bottom of what is causing your pain.
Common physical & occupational therapy treatments for hip and knee pain
There are many ways that your hip and knee pain can be treated, including, but not limited to:
Physical & Occupational Therapy Exercises
The exercises that your physical and occupational therapist prescribes for your hip and knee pain will be customized to your circumstances. One person’s knee pain can have a different cause than another person’s knee pain, so it is important to apply the right exercises for each individual’s needs.
You will first go through your physical and occupational therapy exercises under the guidance of the physical or occupational therapist. They want to make sure that you are able to do the exercises safely – and you may need assistance to get through them at first. Eventually, you may be assigned exercises to do at home on your own.
The exercises will be designed to make you stronger and improve your range of motion. Eventually, they will help you better support your hip and/or knee so that you experience less pain.
Your physical or occupational therapist may help you learn new ways to move so that you avoid injuring your joints in the future.
Hot and Cold Therapies
Your physical or occupational therapist may use heat and/or ice to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Providing Relief for Your Pain
Once the cause has been identified it is time for treatment. There are several different things a physical or occupational therapist might do to treat your pain.
Checking Your Strength and Range of Motion
You may feel relatively strong in your legs and hips, but there are a lot of small muscles that could be weaker than you realize.
The physical or occupational therapist will take you through some different exercises to find any weaknesses that could be contributing to your pain.
You will also go through range of motion exercises to see how far you can comfortably move your joints.
Feeling for Abnormalities
Physical and occupational therapists use a technique called palpation to feel around your joints to identify potential problems. They can feel if something is out of place.
The pressure they apply will also show them if you feel sensitive to the touch anywhere around the joint.
Examining Your Gait
The way you walk can tell a physical or occupational therapist a lot about your condition and its causes. They will ask you to walk a short distance and notice the different indicators of gait issues.
You may not be aware of the various signs you show as you walk, but your physical or occupational therapist will definitely notice them.
How can physical or occupational therapy help?
Physical or occupational therapists are trained to help people in situations like yours regain functionality and mobility – and to help lessen the pain experienced from various injuries and illnesses.
They are extremely knowledgeable about the causes of hip pain and knee pain, and they know a wide variety of treatment methods to provide relief from these types of pain.