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Can surgeries be avoided to treat knee injuries and pain?

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Pain in the knee joint for people with an active lifestyle could be due to rheumatism, osteoporosis or an injury that resulted in ligament tear, meniscal tear and other soft tissue damage. Athletes and sports people are more prone to injuries of the knee due to the constant use of the knee joint.

Eventually the pain progresses to a level where a person needs to go through a corrective surgery or a knee replacement.

While surgeries are the only line of treatment for some, there are many cases where surgeries can be completely avoided or the need for surgery delayed by a few years. This becomes especially relevant when the surgical intervention will not necessarily ‘heal’ or ‘cure’ your condition but will only give you pain relief.

If pain relief is the only objective achieved by a surgery, then conservative management in such cases, saves the patient a lot of time, money and the hassle of being bed ridden while recuperating.

I am a staunch believer in the strength of the body and it’s natural healing ability. In my many years of practice, I have helped people heal through conservative lines of treatment using Ayurvedic internal medicines; Panchakarma therapies like Leech Therapy, Pinda Sweda, Agnikarma, etc and Yoga.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not say that surgeries are bad, but I do not condone the use of surgery where it can be avoided. I feel it is important for people suffering from knee injuries or pain, to be informed of treatments that exist in complementary medicine or alternative therapy, for their condition.

I have personally managed thousands of cases where the results of conservative treatment have been phenomenal.

Capt. Vikas Vij is one of my patients where I treated such a condition and I would like to talk about this case.

A club level tennis player and a Marathon runner. Imagine his frustration when his game started to suffer because of his debilitating knee pain. For 2 to 3 years he continued to play with the pain, trying to manage it at a personal level. In Nov 2020, the pain became unbearable. His doctor started some supplements and recommended surgery for the left knee.

A few years back, acupressure therapy had successfully healed his upper backache and spondylitis. So instead of opting for the surgery right away, he started looking for alternative medicinal treatment for his knee.

One of his friends, who was also my patient, recommended me and Vikas did an online consultation. Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, many of my intra city consultations have now moved to telephonic and online mode. We started his treatment in March 2021. .

I formulated a treatment plan with yoga asanas specific to the knee joint and started medicines to control the vitiated vata in his blood. He was an absolutely delightful patient, following every step that I recommended, to the T. We kept leech therapy on stand by for him and started with Yoga first.

He had his medicines on time with no irregularities and his follow up was like clockwork.

Within 3 months of treatment, his leg pain and stiffness reduced by 85%. He now feels that the wear and tear caused by the Marathon running will be better managed by these asanas and the Ayurvedic Tea from my clinic. He will continue to practice these asanas to improve the stability of his knee joint.

It feels good to see that we were able to avoid surgery for Vikas. He is now eagerly waiting for the tennis club to reopen so that he can be on the court again.

What do I recommend to my patients?

1. Weight management.

Knees are the most important joints for weight bearing. Obesity puts undue pressure on these joints increasing the age related degeneration.

2. Warm up.

I cannot stress enough, the need for a good 15 to 30 min warm up before you begin your exercises. A good warm up ensures good blood supply to your muscles, reducing the wear and tear.

3. Quick action.

If your knee is giving you trouble, address the issue before the pain increases to unbearable levels. Timely intervention can improve joint health and heal you faster.

4. No massages please.

A layman belief system is that massages help in relaxation and relieve aches and pain. While this might be true for some cases, it might be detrimental in many conditions. So, do not massage unless your doctor asks you to.

5. Warm compress/ Cold compress.

Check with your doctor and use either of these for pain relief.

6. Yoga Asanas

Regular yoga asanas to improve joint strength

7. Ayurvedic medicines

Based on your consultation the medicines might differ. I do a detailed consultation which records your complete case history giving me the correct idea of etiology, onset, progression and prognosis of your disease. After consultation I create a treatment plan specific to your condition and your natural body constitution.

8. Panchakarmas

I use panchakarmas like leech therapy, bandha, pichu, pindika sweda and lepa for local detox and for enhancing healing of the joint.

I will be sharing a few asanas that can improve your knee strength in my next blog.

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