The human knee has its work cut out for it. It is the largest joint in the human body and provides support all day long. It’s used to walking, sitting, standing, running, pivoting and more. With so many opportunities for injury, it’s no wonder that acute knee pain is one of the most common types of pain in all ages.
Using Electrotherapy For Knee Pain
There’s a long list of causes for acute knee pain. Many of them relate to overuse and/or undercare. In the worst-case scenarios, surgery may be required. However, for many cases, acute knee pain can be resolved with rest, ice and heat, and proactive care. This might mean physical therapy or electrotherapy. Electrotherapy has become increasingly available for home use in recent years. Treatments like TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) or EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) are great for treating many types of acute pain, including pain in the knee.
Common Knee Injuries
The most common diagnosis of acute knee pain is patellofemoral pain syndrome. This is also known as runner’s knee, as it is common in athletic young adults. In this injury, the cartilage under the kneecap becomes damaged from physical overuse or from tight or weak muscles. The quickest way to heal from patellofemoral pain syndrome is with rest. However, EMS can speed up recovery. Using gentle electrical impulses to stimulate the muscles, EMS increases the bloodflow to the area where it is applied. EMS therapy also helps to strengthen the muscles even while they rest. Physical therapy, like gentle stretches, will also aid in recovery.
Another common knee injury is bursitis. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursas, which are fluid-filled sacs surrounding the joints. One may experience pes anserine bursitis, which occurs in the inner, lower knee. This type, like patellofemoral pain syndrome, is common in athletes. Another type is prepatellar bursitis, which occurs in front of the kneecap. Increased blood flow is found to be especially effective in treating bursitis. Thus, EMS is a great treatment option for this cause of acute knee pain.
Other Types of Knee Pain
Some sources of knee pain come from the unavoidable wear and tear that accompanies aging. The meniscus is the cartilage that provides cushioning for the knee. Meniscal injuries become more common with age, as the meniscus degrades over time. Osteoarthritis is a similar diagnosis as it is defined as the degeneration of cartilage. Osteoarthritis can especially benefit from EMS therapy. EMS is known to decrease stiffness in the joints for those who suffer from osteoarthritis, while reducing pain. EMS is also an effective way to help strengthen muscles in the elderly.
How TENS + EMS Can Benefit You
In many cases, acute knee pain can be debilitating. Often times, people suffering from pain come to rely on painkillers on a daily basis. Pain medications can have mild to severe side effects. This goes for both over-the-counter and prescription. For many who are conscious and prudent about this possibility, TENS is a safe and effective alternative. TENS uses gentle electrical impulses (similar to those in EMS) to block pain signals from reaching the brain. Small TENS units like iReliev’s TENS + EMS device can be applied and left on throughout the day. If acute knee pain is affecting one’s ability to perform daily tasks, TENS is a great drug-free option for treatment.