Millions of people suffer from knee pain each day. Whether it’s chronic or occasional pain, it hurts and interferes with daily activities.
U.S. statistics are staggering, showing that of the 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain:
- Knee pain is the second most common cause
- It’s often the result of too much weight on the knee
- Up to 20% of men are affected, while at least 20% of women report knee pain.
What causes the wide variety of knee pain? Wear and tear accounts for many chronic pain incidents. The vast assortment of professional and amateur sports leads to acute injuries of the knee. Other common causes include gout, obesity, and overuse of the knee.
The lack of effective knee treatment can’t be blamed on volume-based care. Healthcare providers place knee conditions in a value-based reimbursement category, seeking to provide the best care at the lowest cost. Why do conditions like inflammation and osteoporosis continue to impair the American public and global citizens? The answer appears to be difficulty in identifying what’s causing the pain.
Recent evaluations of knee care indicate some treatments have been a waste of time, resulting in excessive medical bills. Patients with knee replacements, for example, were treated with ineffective injections that were not recommended. The cost reflected nearly 33 percent of their medical bills!
Dr. Nicholas Bedard presented findings of one study to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, observing that patients, doctors and insurance companies prefer to avoid surgery. Insurance companies tend to avoid paying for surgery until the patient has received other approved types of treatment that are do not resolve the problem.
Physical therapy is one of the three recommended approaches to knee pain. The other recommended methods are the opioid painkiller tramadol and anti-inflammatory non-steroidal drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen.
The knee is a complicated joint. It has different ligaments and muscles that affect its range of motion when something goes awry. A torn or strained ligament can be difficult to identify, resulting in further damage and a longer period to heal. Physical therapists have the training to determine the cause of pain and design an effective treatment plan that:
- builds strength.
- improves muscle control.
- increases mobility.
- enhances movement.
The patient, doctor, and other involved professionals review and discuss the plan to determine its effectiveness.
Avoiding the risk of knee surgery that may or not be successful.is an appealing option. In addition, physical therapy is less expensive than other strategies. Patients are involved in their own treatment by following an exercise plan at home in addition to treatment by the physical therapist at the office.