Chronic Knee Pain

Know Everything From Causes, Symptoms, To Treatment

Knee pain, in general, is one of the most common types of pain people experience in the U.S. In fact, knee pain is the second most common cause of chronic pain. When you consider the fact that the knees are among the most regularly used joints in our body, it’s not surprising that problems can easily occur.

In addition, a wide range of issues can cause knee pain. Some of these issues are acute, meaning they can last a short time and may go away on their own or with treatment. However, chronic knee issues last for an extended period of time. If you suffer from chronic knee issues, you’ll need to understand the causes, associated symptoms, and available treatments to manage your chronic knee pain effectively.


What Is Chronic Knee Pain?

Chronic knee pain is defined as pain that persists for more than three months. It can vary in intensity, but it typically causes consistent discomfort and pain. Chronic knee pain can also be accompanied by swelling and stiffness in the affected joint.

It is important to note that chronic knee problems are not always caused by an injury or medical condition. Chronic knee issues often result from overuse or wear and tear from everyday activities such as walking, running, or climbing stairs.


The Difference Between Chronic And Acute Pain

Acute knee pain generally occurs suddenly and lasts for a short period. It is often the result of an injury or medical condition such as a fracture, torn ligament, or infection. Acute knee pain can usually be treated with rest, ice, and physical therapy.

Acute knee pain is temporary and is caused by issues that either heal with time or can be cured or repaired. On the other hand, chronic pain tends to be long-term and can be caused by problems that linger or are permanent. As such, chronic knee pain can be more challenging to treat than acute knee pain.


Symptoms of Chronic Knee Pain

There are a variety of symptoms that indicate you may be suffering from chronic knee pain. The following are some of the common symptoms that are caused by chronic knee problems:

Swelling And Stiffness

Certain chronic knee issues can cause the knee joint to become inflamed, which can lead to swelling and stiffness. If swelling or stiffness is present, it can make the knee tender to the touch and make it difficult to move or bend the joint.

Warmth And Redness

If your knee is inflamed or infected, it might be warm to the touch and appear red. This can also indicate that an underlying medical condition is causing your chronic knee pain.

Clicking Noises When Bending The Knee

If you hear a clicking sound (or even a grinding sound) when you bend your knee, this could indicate a problem with the cartilage in your knee. This can be caused by conditions such as arthritis, which can lead to chronic knee pain.

Joint Instability

Knee instability can be a symptom of chronic knee pain. If you feel like your knee is giving out or buckling when you put weight on it, this could be a sign of an underlying issue. This can occur due to weakened knee ligaments or even damage to the cartilage in the joint.

Persistent Ache Or Discomfort

Finally, if you are experiencing a persistent ache or discomfort in your knee that lasts for more than three months, this is an indication of chronic knee pain. It’s important to note that the intensity and type of pain can vary depending on the underlying cause of your chronic knee issues.

Reduced Knee Mobility

In our everyday life, we perform movements such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs, or bending down to tie our shoes almost automatically. And, if we are able to perform these movements, it is thanks to the knee’s complex structure of bones, ligaments,...

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Long-Term Effects Of Living With Chronic Knee Pain

Living with chronic knee pain can have a serious effect on your life, both physically and emotionally. Over time, the pain and discomfort can result in a decreased quality of life, as well as other long-term effects such as:

  • Physical Limitations: Chronic knee pain can cause difficulty walking, climbing stairs, and performing everyday activities. This can lead to a loss of independence and the inability to participate in activities that were once enjoyed.
  • Muscle Weakness: Knee pain can cause muscles in the affected area to weaken due to lack of use. This can lead to further loss of mobility and an increased risk of falls or other accidents.
  • Emotional Stress: Chronic knee pain can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues as a result of the physical limitations and restrictions it causes. This can further limit your ability to enjoy life and participate in activities.
  • Worsening Symptoms: Chronic knee pain can worsen over time without treatment. This can lead to decreased range of motion and an increased risk for serious conditions such as arthritis or other degenerative diseases.

Causes of Chronic Knee Pain

Because the knees are some of the more used joints in the body, there are countless issues that can lead to chronic knee pain. With that in mind, these are some of the common causes of chronic knee pain:


Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons connected to the knee joint. It can be caused by overuse or aggravated due to activities such as running or jumping. It can lead to chronic knee pain, swelling, and stiffness, which can limit mobility.


Bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed. The bursa is a small sac located between the knee joint’s bones and tendons. The bursa protects the knee joint from friction and wear and tear. Thus, if it becomes inflamed, it can cause chronic pain in the knee joint. Infection or trauma to the joint can cause bursitis. Bursitis often causes chronic knee pain, swelling, and tenderness when applying pressure to the area.

Ligament Tears

Ligament tears can be caused by direct trauma to the knee or overuse, leading to chronic knee pain. Ligament tears are a common sports-related injury due to the high forces applied to the knee joint when running or jumping. If a ligament is torn, it can cause instability in the joint and chronic pain.


Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can cause chronic knee pain. This condition is often caused by age-related wear and tear on the joint, but it can also be caused by an underlying medical issue. Arthritis in the knee joint can cause pain, stiffness, and decreased joint mobility. It’s important to mention that there are many kinds of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can occur in the knee joint and affects millions of people worldwide. It is caused when the cartilage cushioning the bones wears down over time. This can leave bone rubbing against bone, causing chronic pain in the knee joint. It’s estimated that 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women over the age of 60 suffer from osteoarthritis knee pain.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome occurs when the kneecap does not move properly within the knee joint. Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be caused by tight muscles and tendons, weak quadriceps muscles, or alignment issues in the knee. This condition can lead to chronic pain, knee discomfort, and a clicking sensation when bending the joint. It’s important to note that this condition is more common in women and athletes, especially those involved in running sports.

Injury Or Trauma

Although many issues that cause chronic knee pain simply develop due to wear and tear over time, chronic knee pain can also be caused by various injuries and trauma. The following are a few examples of injury or trauma-induced conditions that can lead to chronic knee pain:

  • Osteoarthritis: Although osteoarthritis can develop due to wear and tear, it can also be caused by direct trauma or injury to the joint. If the joint experiences a significant force, such as from a fall or direct impact, it can damage the cartilage and lead to osteoarthritis.
  • Chondromalacia Patella: Chondromalacia Patella is a condition caused by misalignment or excessive wear of the kneecap. This can be caused if the knee joint experiences direct trauma or injury from something like a fall.
  • Gout: Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in the joint and is typically caused by dietary issues. This condition can also be caused by direct trauma or injury to the joint, such as a sprain or fracture, which can lead to inflammation of the knee. This inflammation can lead to the buildup of uric acid, causing gout.
  • Baker’s Cyst: A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled swelling that develops behind the knee joint. This condition can be caused by an injury or trauma to the joint, such as a ligament tear. This can cause inflammation in the joint, resulting in the fluid buildup and a Baker’s cyst. Baker’s cysts differ from gout because they are filled with synovial fluid rather than uric acid.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can cause chronic pain and inflammation. It differs from osteoarthritis because it is caused by the immune system attacking the joint. This condition can be triggered or exacerbated by direct trauma or injury to the joint.
  • Dislocation: If the knee joint experiences a significant force, such as from a fall or direct impact, it can cause the bones in the joint to become misaligned. This can lead to a condition known as knee dislocation, which can cause chronic pain and instability in the joint. Although the knee can be put back into place with manual manipulation or surgery, knee dislocation can lead to long-term issues such as arthritis and instability.
  • Meniscus Tear: A meniscus is a piece of cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in the knee joint. A tear in the meniscus can be caused by direct trauma or injury to the joint, such as a twist or turn. This can cause chronic pain and instability in the knee joint.
  • Torn Ligament: The knee joint is held together by four different ligaments that connect the bones in your knee. A direct trauma or injury to the joint, such as a fall or twist, can cause one of these ligaments to tear. This can lead to chronic pain and instability in the joint as well as a decreased range of motion.
  • Bone Tumors: A bone tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in the bones. Although rare, direct trauma or injury to the knee joint can cause one of these tumors to develop by causing the cells in the bone to start multiplying. This can lead to chronic pain in the knee joint.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors can increase an individual’s chances of developing chronic knee pain. The following are a few of the most common risk factors associated with chronic knee pain that you should be aware of:


As people age, their bones and joints naturally become weaker due to wear and tear over time. This can cause the cartilage surrounding the knee joint to break down, resulting in chronic pain. In addition, older adults are more prone to falls which can result in direct trauma or injury to the knee joint, leading to chronic pain.

Certain Sports Or Occupation

Certain sports and occupations can put additional strain on the knee joint, leading to injury or trauma. For example, activities that involve jumping or running put a lot of pressure on the knee joint, which can cause direct trauma or injury to the knee joint. Similarly, certain occupations, such as construction work, may involve repetitive motions that can also put extra stress on the knee joint.

Previous Knee Injury

Previous knee injuries can increase a person’s risk of developing chronic knee pain. This is because previous injury or trauma to the joint can weaken the structure of the joint, making it more prone to further injury or trauma.


When visiting a doctor, they will evaluate your knee pain by asking how long you have had it, what activities make the pain worse or better, and if there has been any previous injury to the knee joint. They will also ask about the type of pain you’re feeling and whether you’re experiencing any other symptoms. They will then do a physical examination of the knee joint, looking for any signs of inflammation, instability, or swelling by testing the knee’s mobility, flexibility, and range of motion.

It’s important to note that chronic knee pain is a symptom, not a condition. As such, certain imaging tests will likely be required to determine what the underlying cause is. Tests such as X-rays or MRIs can be used to assess joint integrity and detect any structural damage that may be causing the pain. Once the underlying cause of the knee pain has been identified, further treatment and rehabilitation can be recommended.

Chronic Knee Pain Treatment

Because there are so many underlying conditions that can cause chronic knee pain, there are many ways that traditional doctors will recommend treating it. The following is an overview of the treatment options that are available for chronic knee pain:

Conventional Measures

Most traditional doctors will stick to conventional measures to treat chronic knee pain. These include the following:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Because chronic knee pain is often the result of inflammation (especially in the case of conditions like arthritis), anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation in the joints. 
  • Rest: Sometimes, an injury may have caused chronic knee pain. In such cases, resting the knee by avoiding physical activities that strain the joint can help give the knee time to heal. For example, if you experience a minor tear in one of your knee ligaments, certain physical activities can make it worse. Resting the knee, in this case, can give it time to heal on its own.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can be used to increase strength and flexibility in the knee joint, which can help reduce pain and improve mobility. Building strength in the surrounding muscles can help protect the knee joint and reduce stress on the joint as well. Physical therapy is often prescribed for patients who have experienced knee injuries or trauma.

Surgical Procedures

In cases where chronic knee pain is caused by a serious issue, such as a severely damaged or torn ligament, surgery might be recommended to repair the knee joint. Surgery is usually the last option and should only be considered after all other treatments have been exhausted.

Surgical procedures are extremely invasive and can lead to complications, such as infections or nerve damage. Not to mention, the recovery time can be long, and there’s no guarantee of success. As such, it should only be considered a last resort.

Keeping this in mind, the following are the two primary types of surgeries that are done to help address severe chronic knee pain problems:

  • Partial/Total Knee Replacements: Partial or total knee replacements involve replacing the entire damaged knee joint with a prosthetic implant. This is usually done in cases where the pain and mobility issues are severe and cannot be successfully treated with conservative measures.
  • Cartilage Transplant: In cases where the pain is due to wear and tear on the cartilage, a procedure called a cartilage transplant can be done. This involves replacing the damaged cartilage with healthy tissue taken from another area of the body.

Does Knee Pain Ever Go Away?

Where your knee pain will go away depends on the underlying cause of the knee pain. For example, certain injuries can heal over time, whereas conditions like arthritis are permanent and cannot be cured. However, there are treatments available that can help to reduce the severity of knee pain and improve mobility.

How Neuragenex Neurofunctional Pain Management (NFPM) Approaches Chronic Knee Pain

We avoid many conventional treatment methods for chronic knee pain. The drug-free, non-surgical Neurofunctional Pain Management protocols apply a whole-body approach to address the root cause of your knee pain and deliver long-term relief, which is why we avoid the use of pain medications, which only address the symptom and can cause side effects as well as be habit-forming. Additionally, we avoid any treatment solutions that present a potential health risk, whether it’s invasive surgical procedures or chiropractic treatment.

The Neuragenex NFPM protocol includes electroanalgesia and IV therapy, both of which can help reduce inflammation in targeted areas, such as the knee, to reduce painful symptoms associated with chronic knee pain. Electroanalgesia uses high-pulse currents to block pain signals, release endorphins, and reduce muscle spasms. IV therapy can help reduce symptoms by providing vital vitamins and minerals, improving overall health and well-being, and reducing pain.


Electroanalgesia is a pain management technique that uses high-pulse electrical current to ease pain, boost blood circulation, improve mobility, and induce...

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IV Therapy

IV nutritional therapy, or intravenous therapy, involves administering vital nutrients directly to the bloodstream through an IV. This type of treatment bypasses the digestive system, allowing for maximum absorption and utilization of nutrients by the...

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Lifestyle Counseling

Lifestyle counseling is an approach to managing chronic pain that involves identifying, assessing, and modifying lifestyle factors contributing to an individual's pain. For example, lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical activity, stress, sleep quality...

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Ways You Can Do To Avoid Chronic Knee Pain

As part of our holistic approach to pain management, we also provide our patients with lifestyle counseling. This involves everything from diet and nutrition recommendations to specific exercises and ways to manage stress. Keeping that in mind, the following are some of the things you can do to avoid chronic knee pain:

  • Warm-up Before Exercise: Before any physical activity, you should warm up your muscles and joints properly. This helps ensure that you don’t strain or overwork your body and can help prevent certain injuries, such as torn ligaments or tendons.
  • Low-Impact Exercises: Certain low-impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling, are great options for people with chronic knee pain. These activities help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint while avoiding putting too much strain on the joint.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Being overweight can put additional strain on the knee joints, leading to chronic pain. Maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce the strain placed on the joints and can help reduce pain and prevent future issues, such as arthritis.
  • Walking Downhill: Walking is an excellent way to stay active and reduce knee pain. However, it’s vital to be aware of where you are walking. Walking uphill puts additional strain on the knee joints, whereas walking downhill can actually help reduce strain.
  • Get Support: Proper footwear, such as orthotics or knee braces, can help provide extra knee support and reduce pressure on them.

Start Moving With No Chronic Knee Pain

With NFPM, we believe that long-term relief from chronic knee pain is possible. By using a holistic approach to pain management that addresses the root cause of your chronic knee pain, we can help you get back to doing the things that you love without pain or limitation. If you’re ready to start moving again, contact us today to learn more about the Neuragenex NFPM program and how it can help you find lasting relief from chronic knee pain.

Take steps to prevent and treat chronic knee pain. Talk to us for expert advice and effective treatment.

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