3 Common Habits That Cause Chronic Knee Pain
When you’re considering doing something like going to the store, walking the dog, or playing with the grandkids, do you ever find yourself asking “What if…?”
“What if I’m all the way in the back of the store and my knee gives out, and I have to call for help? How painful and embarrassing that will be!”
“What if I’m walking the dog and my knee buckles and I fall? What will I do if my phone doesn’t have signal, or the battery dies, and I’m stranded far from help?”
Suffering from chronic knee pain can get in the way of living life in lots of surprising ways, and often it does the most damage before we’ve even moved from our seats, as those little doubts and fears pile up into a sense of worry or foreboding. But did you know that not all of what you experience with a chronic knee problem is random? In fact, much of the pain is avoidable and caused by a few common bad habits!
Bad Habit #1 – Sitting Too Long
It’s ironic, yes; you’d think with chronic knee pain, especially when it’s caused by an old injury or repetitive stress injury to the meniscus or cartilage, you’d want to stay off your feet as much as possible. But the truth, as it tends to be, is more complicated than that.
Our bodies are designed to move, to be up and be active. The more you sit around, the worse the pain tends to get, not least of all because sitting for long periods often means cycling through a variety of positions, many of which are not very good for a bad knee. Putting your feet up, crossing your legs … depending on the exact position, many of these seemingly relaxing poses can put a lot of torque on your knees—oftentimes more than standing or walking would do!
However, unlike standing and walking, which create short-term stresses on your knees that promote healing and strengthening afterward, sitting for long periods creates exactly the type of chronic stress that can cause knee injury in the first place!
Solution: Get up and get moving. Even just getting up and walking around for five minutes once an hour can work wonders!
Bad Habit #2 – Inflammatory Food
You’ve probably heard that the vast majority of pain is caused by inflammation. With knee pain, this typically means inflammation of the cartilage or meniscus, the soft, lubricated pad that lets your knee bear your whole body’s weight while still remaining mobile. Inflammation can happen for a variety of reasons, and one reason that often goes unmentioned and untreated is that we eat foods that cause or promote inflammation.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, common inflammatory foods include sugar, refined carbs, MSG, an imbalance of omega fatty acids toward too much omega-6, trans fats (especially “partially hydrogenated” oils), gluten, aspartame, and saturated fats such as those found in cheese and other full-fat dairy products.
Solution: Avoid the inflammatory foods above as much as you can; switch out your soda for water with a twist of citrus, and consider ordering your next pizza with half the cheese and a thin crust. Then consider adding more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, such as tomatoes, fish, olive oil, green leafy veggies, nuts, and fruits.
Bad Habit #3 – Pain Meds
Pain hurts! Our natural inclination is to make the pain go away by any means necessary. Pain meds, especially those derived from opium, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet), and codeine, and, to a much lesser extent, aspirin, are very good at dulling pain.
The trouble is, pain is there for a reason, and while it may feel good to mute your pain, often you wind up doing more damage to your knees and other joints as a result. The pain is trying to tell you “stop what you’re doing; it’s hurting us!,” but when you’re on pain meds, you’re effectively not listening, so you can quite easily push yourself too far without even realizing it.
Solution: Use prescription pain meds in moderation, and only for acute problems or truly unbearable pain—and when you do use them, use them to rest, not to be active and potentially injure yourself even more! The rest of the time, try to stick to anti-inflammatory pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or Naproxen (Aleve), or even better, use natural anti-inflammatories like the foods mentioned above.
Another Solution Might Be Right for You…
If you’ve broken all of these bad, chronic pain-causing habits and you’re still having knee pain, you might consider Umbilical Cord Tissue Procedure. Using safe, ethically-sourced umbilical cord tissue allograft, we may be able to offer an effective solution that has been shown to reduce inflammation and promote regeneration and regrowth of cartilage and meniscal tissue.
Many of our patients report significant pain reduction and mobility improvement in a matter of days. They’re able to walk, shop, play with the grandkids … even pick up intimate activities with their spouses they thought they’d left far behind! Don’t you owe it to yourself to learn more, and see if this solution is right for you?