Knee Pain Relief

There are eight acupuncture points in and around the knee. During an acupuncture session, we may use some of these points, nine times out of ten we include supporting points on other parts of the body to augment the treatment.

Very thin, sterile, single-use needles are inserted into the selected points. Most people report that insertion of acupuncture needles is not painful.

Almost everyone will need more than one treatment; a typical schedule might include two sessions a week for two months.

However, treatment schedules vary tremendously, depending on the knee condition being treated, and the individual patient’s response to it. Two common knee conditions that cause pain are: runner’s knee; and arthritis.

knee-acupuncture- Accupunture

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s Knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is characterized by pain underneath the kneecap that gets worse as the athlete continues training. Runner’s knee has frustrated doctors and athletes for decades because there doesn’t appear to be anything actually wrong with the knee that is causing the pain. With nothing obviously wrong, there is nothing for doctors to fix.  Acupuncture is helpful in this case.

The current theory is that runner’s knee is a pain syndrome caused by repeated minor stimulation of pain nerves in the knee. Pain syndromes are fairly common. In a pain syndrome, repeated stimulation of the nerves seems to sensitize the nerves such that they respond disproportionately to even minor stimulation.

In order to stop the cycle of pain, the pain itself has to be targeted. The nerves need a rest from the constant stimulation so that they can re-set back to a more normal level of sensitivity. Some suggest avoiding any activity that triggers the pain; others suggest using medications to block the pain. Acupuncture is an excellent alternative to these two options, and often produces greater results.

 Repeated sessions of acupuncture help the brain reset it’s perception of pain, reducing over-sensitive responses to minor stimuli, and breaking pain cycles.  Acupuncture combined with physical therapy can often completely cure runner’s knee in only a few weeks.

Arthritis Pain

Conversely, arthritis pain is actually due to obvious damage and inflammation of the joint. The knees visibly swell up, can be warm to the touch and reddened.  The damage can be seen on x-rays as the joint deteriorates.

Acupuncture can provide  relief of knee pain due to arthritis. Most likely this is mediated through acupuncture’s ability to release endorphins.

It may also be in part due to acupuncture’s ability to block inflammatory pathways and stimulate healing.

Maintenance Treatment

Unlike runner’s knee, acupuncture for arthritis of the knee will not cure the problem. Instead, acupuncture should be viewed as a maintenance therapy that will most likely have to be continued indefinitely. For optimal results, exercises to strengthen the knee should be regularly performed. Once the pain is at a manageable level, you may only need an occasional treatment.

 If you come in for a “tune-up” at the first sign of distress, you may only need one or two treatments to keep the pain at bay.  If you wait until the pain gets unbearable, it takes many more acupuncture visits to get the pain back under control.