Knee pain is one of the most common conditions for which people seek medical advice. An estimated one in four adults are affected, and numbers have increased substantially over the last 20 years. As well as causing discomfort, knee pain limits mobility and your ability to carry out everyday tasks such as walking, going up and down stairs, getting in and out of the bath or even putting on your socks.
One in 3 people over the age of 45 has osteoarthritis, for example, with weight-bearing joints such as the knees commonly affected.
The knee is also the most commonly injured joint in sports, with over a million annual A&E attendances for knee sprains, ligament damage and joint injuries in the UK alone.
Knee pain can also occur with no obvious signs of joint damage on x-ray, or any history of trauma or sports injury. This type of functional knee pain is known as patellofemoral syndrome and is thought to cause pain beneath the knee cap as are result of over-use and compressive forces related to physical activity rather than to injury or arthritis damage. A recent study in the US found that patellofemoral pain was diagnosed in as many as in 14 people seeking any medical care within the United States.
Until recently, the usual first-line treatments for arthritis pain was oral paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Their prolonged use is now discouraged due to concerns that paracetamol and NSAIDs may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. The long-term use of NSAIDs is also limited by their intestinal side effects and peptic ulceration risks.
This has greatly limited the treatment options available. Topical painkilling creams and gels are now more widely used, as are natural approaches such as food supplements and using magnetic therapy to reduce pain and aid healing.
I have used magnetic therapy for over twenty years, and found personal benefit for painful knees by wearing a Trion:Z bracelet that generates both a magnetic field and negative ions.
Dr Sarah Brewer
MSC (NUTR MED), MA (CANTAB), MB, BCHIR, RNUTR, MBANT, CNHC, FRSM