Assess your pain
Mild to moderate knee pain can often be successfully treated at home. Whether due to a sprain or arthritis, there are several ways to combat the pain.
Before you attempt to treat your pain at home, you should be cautious. Seek medical attention for moderate to severe pain caused by the injury. Some types of knee pain can require surgery or other interventions to resolve. Surgery may be recommended in extreme cases of arthritis. See a doctor if you experience new knee pain after surgery.
However, if the pain is due to inflammation, arthritis, or a minor injury, there are options you can try at home that have proven effective. Read on for more information about alternative therapies and supplements that may help ease your knee pain.
1. Try RICE for strains and sprains
If you’ve twisted your leg, taken a hard fall, or otherwise strained your knee, first aid at home can be helpful. Remember the acronym “RICE” for treating strains and sprains:
Get off your feet and apply a cold compress or bag of ice to the knee. Frozen vegetables, such as peas, will also work if you have no ice handy. Wrap your knee with a compression bandage to prevent swelling, but not so tightly it cuts off circulation. While you’re resting, keep your foot elevated.
2. Tai chi
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese form of mind-body exercise that improves balance and flexibility. In a study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism, researchers found that practicing tai chi is especially beneficial for those with osteoarthritis. It reduces pain and increases range of motion. The mental discipline it teaches could also aid in coping with chronic pain.
3. Exercise and weight management
Daily exercise to keep the joint moving reduces knee pain in some people. For those with arthritis, keeping the leg stationary or reducing the range of motion to avoid pain can stiffen the joint and make matters worse. Being overweight can aggravate the problem as well, so weight management is important.
4. Heat and cold therapy
Using a heating pad to rest your knee when reclining can help to keep the joint from stiffening up. Wrapping a gel-style cold pack or cool compress around it can reduce pain and swelling. Alternate between cold and heat. Use cold more often during the first 24 hours after the injury.
5. Herbal ointment
In a study published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, researchers investigated a salve made of cinnamon, ginger, mastic, and sesame oil. They found the salve was just as effective as over-the-counter arthritis creams containing salicylate, a topical pain relief treatment.