Thursday, October 15, 2009

Knee Pain

I vividly remember my first bout of knee pain; it was training for the Chicago Marathon 2 years ago and it began during an 11 mile run. Near the end of the run I had some pain on the outside of the knee and I was sore the next day. I didn’t think too much about it then, but in the following weeks it got worse and came on earlier in my long runs. That’s when I started to get worried – if this kept going I’d never be able to run the Marathon and 6 months of training would be wasted (at least that’s how I felt).

Knee pain is a fairly common complaint, most people have pain in their knees at some point but the location of that pain can vary as can the cause. Knee pain due to a specific injury is usually fairly easy to diagnose but knee pain in the front of the knee that develops without a specific injury or event can be a bit trickier.

My knee pain got so bad that during one run I was running about 30 feet and then walking 30 feet just to keep going. I was determined to make the race and finish and knew I had to find a solution. To find it I needed to step back and see myself as one of my patients, a difficult thing for any doctor to do – we are used to treating people not being treated.

I determined that I had “Patellofemoral Syndrome” due to my kneecap moving to the outside of my knee from fatigue of the muscles on the inner side of my knee. Knowing full well that a “lawyer that represents himself is a fool” I did confirm my diagnosis with other Doctors and Physical Therapists.

Now the question was how to manage and hopefully correct this so I could complete the marathon. That’s when I remembered McConnel taping. I was first introduced to this before Chiropractic School through an Athletic Trainer student. She showed me then how to tape a knee to minimize this movement. We also covered this in Chiropractic School but since being in practice I hadn’t seen it.

After conferring with other Doctors and Physical Therapists I re-learned this technique and used it on myself.

And, It Worked. After some trial and error with different tapes I was able to do my long runs pain free. My Marathon experience was great, my knee held up pain free throughout the race.

Since that time I have used the same taping on numerous other athletes, and taught them how to do it themselves.

The video I’ve posted shows the BASICS on how to do this technique (there are many variations, depending on such things as the tilt of the kneecap).

Another resource to check out is an article from American Family Physician

This article reviews the common causes of Patellofemoral Syndrome as well as the different treatment options. If you look at the top of the page you’ll also see that there is a patient handout – this has exercises to help with knee pain.

Keep moving and stay healthy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Move for a Healthier Neck

So many people have stiff or sore necks, I know because I see them every week in my office. Neck stiffness and soreness can be caused by many different conditions, from something as simple as falling asleep on the couch or in a chair to more serious conditions like a herniated disc. By far, the most common cause is a simple lack of movement in the neck.

Most of us spend our day in front of a computer at work or driving. In essence we sit and look straight ahead all day and what’s worse, we end up doing this with poor posture.

So, how do you correct this and regain a looser pain free neck? Well, you could change jobs but that isn’t really realistic. So, the answer is “Move”, move your neck. Joints in our bodies respond to the stresses that we place on them. If you don’t move them your body responds by making them tighter but if you move you joints then your body responds by making them looser.

In the video above I show 4 movement exercises that I use in my office to help my patients restore the range of motion in their necks and reduce or eliminate the pain that upsets their lives.