Knee pain can occur due to an old injury, osteoarthritis, a sprain or any other cause. The pain may be so severe, it prevents you from going ahead with daily activities. A few home remedies available in any well-stocked Indian Kitchen (or an up-to-date First Aid Kit), alleviates the pain, before visiting the doctor.
Most knee pain is due to physical exertion, a lack of essential nutrients like Vitamin D, calcium and iron, along with age-related wear and tear of muscles and tissues. Remember excruciating pain that hasn't faded away within a couple of days, requires professional medical attention. In the meantime, here are a few home treatments that relieve pain, swelling, stiffness in the case of injuries:
- Protect the injured or painful area;
- Stop or change the activity that is causing pain;
- Take rest and don't use the painful knee if possible;
- Keep a small pillow under the injured knee to support it.
- Applying ice or cold packs to the affected area 2 or 3 times a day reduces swelling and eases pain;
- Avoid hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, or alcoholic beverages for the first 48 hours after a knee injury.
- The injured knee in elastic bandage will help decrease the swelling;
- Wrapping the knee too tightly causes the area above or below the wrappings to swell.
- Tight elastic bandages cause numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area below.
- The elastic bandage is not meant to protect or stabilise a knee injury, only to alleviate swelling.
Sometimes old injuries and age- related knee pain can be treated with remedies commonly found in the Indian kitchen:
The anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger helps reduce swelling on the knee along with the pain. Brew Ginger in hot water, with a little honey & lemon. Drink 2- 3 cups a day until the pain eases.
- Grate 1 - inch Ginger piece & boil for 10 minutes in 1 cup water.
- Strain the decoction & add a little honey & lemon before drinking.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) says this root may slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, one of the main causes of knee pain. Curcumin, an anti-inflammatory chemical found in Turmeric, also has anti-oxidant properties.
- Boil a half teaspoon each of ground ginger and turmeric to a cup of water for 10 minutes.
- Strain, add honey to taste, and drink this 'tea' twice a day.
- Boil a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk, add honey to sweeten the brew and drink once a day.
Caution: Turmeric has blood - thinning properties; people on blood- thinner medication are advised not to take this remedy regularly.
Are you wondering why lemons or lemon juice was an ingredient in the home remedies that we've mentioned above? That's because lemon is a low- cost remedy for arthritic pain. The citric acid in lemons and limes dissolves uric acid crystals, which causes some types of arthritis.
- Cut one or two lemons into quarters.
- Bundle the pieces in a cotton cloth and dip it in warm sesame (Til) oil.
- Place the cloth on the painful knee for 5 - 10 minutes.
- Do this twice a day until the knee pain disappears.
This holy plant has anti-rheumatic and antispasmodic properties.
- Boil a cup of water with a few leaves of Tulsi (Holy Basil) for few minutes.
- Let the decoction sit for 10 minutes, strain and drink the brew.
- Drink at least 3 - 4 cups of Tulsi 'tea' every day until the knee pain eases.
These home remedies are only simple ways to alleviate mild to moderate knee pain arising from old injuries, over exertion or arthritic symptoms. However, severe knee pain that disrupts your ability to move around needs to be examined by a doctor at the earliest.
Knee pain that increases in intensity or joint swellings that don't go down cannot be left untreated & need to be examined by a medical professional immediately.