April 24, 2005
ONE characteristic in many types of joint pain, including knee
pain, is inflammation. This is a natural response to injury.
Substances that cause inflammation are released in response to an
Drugs can be used to reduce or stop the inflammation.
Overthe-counter pain control medications such as the nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can play a role in the treatment of
knee pain. Like all medications, however, these drugs have side
effects, and you should be very careful of the doses used. You
should not use NSAIDs if you have a problemwith bleeding or stomach
ulcers or some types of kidney disease.
Consult a doctor if necessary Acetaminophen can also be used to
control knee pain, but does not have the anti-inflammatory
properties of the NSAIDs. Still, this treatment is remarkably useful
in many types of knee pain.
In addition, some home care
techniques can be used to help control the inflammation, namely
protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This regimen is
summarised by the memory device PRICE.
Compression helps reduce swelling in the
This can keep the knee from further rauma. A
pad over the kneecap, for example, helps to control the symptoms of
some knee injuries.
This is self explanatory. Rest reduces the
repetitive strain placed on the knee by activity. It also gives the
joint some time to heal and also prevents aggravation of the current
Icing the knee reduces swelling and can be used for
both acute and chronic knee injuries. The usual recommendation is
two to three times a day for 20-30 minutes each time.
This can be done with a knee brace or wrap.
Compression helps reduce swelling. In addition, in some injuries,
compression can help keep the joint mechanics aligned.
This also helps reduce swelling.It actually
helps fluid that would otherwise accumulate in the joint to flow
back to the central circulation.
When in doubt, always seek medical
help. However, if the pain is niggly, then use your own judgement. A
good rule of thumb when you are deciding whether to call the doctor
is if your symptoms have not gone away after trying three to seven
days of PRICE therapy and over-thecounter anti-inflammatory pain
medications. Then itís time to make that appointment.
This rule can also be applied to new knee injuries that are not
Remember, however, that this is only a guide. If you are
concerned about the pain, you should call the doctor
than a simple hinge
worldwide joint declaration
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