4 physical therapy treatments that may improve knee pain

torn meniscus physical therapy

Knee pain can be a tough symptom to address. In many cases, it is an indication of a deeper underlying issue. Knee pain is often caused by injuries such as strains and sprains. It can also be a sign of a chronic condition like arthritis. If you are experiencing knee pain, it is important to seek treatment. Left untreated, knee pain can have a major impact on your daily life. From walking up a staircase to going for a run, knee pain can make it difficult to engage in many different activities. By alleviating your pain and improving your knee’s condition, you can find relief and return to your normal routine.

When it comes to treating knee pain, physical therapy is an excellent option. Equipped with years of experience and extensive health knowledge, a good physical therapist can help you find lasting relief. Physical therapists can employ a wide variety of techniques to help you achieve your wellness goals. After identifying your condition through a comprehensive assessment, your physical therapist will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. Your treatment plan will be tailored to your physical condition, symptoms, capacity and wellness goals. As you make progress, your physical therapist can adapt your treatment plan accordingly. If you’re interested in finding out more about how PT can help you, learning about the top physical therapy treatments for knee pain can be a great start.

Top physical therapy treatments for knee pain

  • Manual therapy — Looking for a physical therapist who can treat your pain through hands-on motions and controlled pressure? This kind of treatment is called manual therapy. Using manual therapy techniques, your physical therapist can alleviate tension and promote blood circulation around your knee. Commonly applied techniques include joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization. Each technique can be highly effective in certain situations. If your pain is caused by a muscle knot near your knee, for example, soft tissue mobilization can help break up the tension. By addressing your pain at the source, manual therapy can be a great way to achieve lasting relief.
  • IASTM — IASTM is short for instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization. Similar to the soft tissue mobilization technique in manual therapy, this technique works to improve mobility in areas of soft tissue such as muscles, ligaments and tendons. Instead of bare hands, though, IASTM involves specially designed stainless steel tools. IASTM is highly effective in addressing scar tissue. If your knee pain is associated with scar tissue from a past knee injury, IASTM can be helpful. IASTM also boosts circulation, allowing more nutrients to enter injured tissue. This can accelerate your healing. With benefits ranging from reduced inflammation to increased mobility, IASTM may be an important aspect of your PT treatment plan.
  • Cupping Cupping is among the oldest forms of physical therapy, and it is still popular today for its reliable results. Cupping works by creating suction against the surface of your skin. This suction can have effects including better circulation and lymphatic drainage. The process involves empty cups that are set along the body’s surface. These cups are sometimes heated first, then placed on the skin as the air inside cools to create a vacuum. In other cases, the suction is achieved through rubber pumps connected to the cups. Cupping can help treat a wide variety of conditions that cause knee pain. One study shows that cupping therapy helps relieve the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Symptoms such as pain, swelling and stiffness can be effectively managed with the help of cupping. In addition to osteoarthritis, cupping can also help while recovering from a knee injury. Because cupping promotes circulation, it can improve your body’s natural healing processes after an injury.
  • Electrical stimulation — Electrical stimulation can be a great choice for fast and effective pain relief. There are several types of electrical stimulation that can be used in physical therapy. Your physical therapist will choose a mode of electrical stimulation based on your condition and the other elements of your treatment plan. Common forms of electrical stimulation include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and interferential current (IFC). The healing effects of electrical stimulation range from decreased swelling to improved motor coordination. This treatment method can also offer rapid pain relief by disrupting pain signals to your brain, eliminating your discomfort as you recover.

Virtual PT: One of the newest treatment methods for knee pain

An innovative approach to physical therapy, virtual physical therapy services might be the right fit for you. With virtual PT, you can get personalized one-on-one treatment without needing to go to a clinic. Virtual PT can be especially beneficial if your mobility is limited. For many people with knee pain, it can be hard to walk or drive. Instead of putting yourself through heightened discomfort, you can access virtual PT from the comfort of your own home.

Convenience is a key benefit of virtual physical therapy. If you have a busy schedule, finding time for a trip to an in-person PT clinic is not always easy. Virtual physical therapy helps eliminate schedule barriers. Because it is not limited by a geographical location, virtual PT is also accessible to many more people. If you do not live near a clinic, you can still benefit from top-notch treatment online. Being virtual does not mean this kind of treatment is less effective — in fact, 93% of patients experience lowered pain levels after receiving virtual care.

If you prefer a combination of in-person visits and virtual PT, hybrid care can meet your needs. With a hybrid model, you can experience the best aspects of both in-person and virtual physical therapy. With multiple modes of care, you can ensure that you continue to get the treatment you need at all times as you work toward recovery.

Can I get knee pain treatment without surgery?

The good news is that, in many cases of knee pain, surgery is not necessary. The best treatment route for you will depend on your particular condition. For some cases, such as severe knee injuries, surgery can be an important part of the treatment process. If you are planning to undergo surgery, pre-surgical rehab can be highly beneficial. During pre-surgical rehab, you can work with your physical therapist to prepare for your upcoming operation. Physical therapy before a major surgery can boost your chances of success and reduce the side effects you experience afterward. If you have already undergone your surgical operation, you may want to seek post-surgical rehabilitation. Rehab after surgery can be essential to making a rapid and complete recovery. A personalized rehab plan can help you keep track of your recovery milestones as you restore your physical condition in the wake of surgery.

For conditions where surgery is not necessary, it may be best to opt for other kinds of treatment. Surgery can be stressful and intensive and often comes with negative effects such as lingering pain and soreness. By addressing your condition through physical therapy instead, you can find relief from your knee pain without undergoing any invasive procedures. Nonsurgical PT treatments generally focus on pain management strategies and techniques that promote healing. Your physical therapist can also provide preventive education, helping reduce your risk of experiencing more knee pain in the future.

Find a solution to your knee pain at Whatcom Physical Therapy

Ready to get treatment for your knee pain? Whatcom Physical Therapy offers a wide range of treatments designed to offer rapid pain relief that lasts for a long time. With treatments such as manual therapy and electrical stimulation, you can have your knee pain addressed at the source.

Call us or request an appointment today to get tailored knee pain treatment.