Thursday, October 28, 2010

Treating the Knees

The greatest wealth is health.  ~Virgil

Since the summer I've had regular pain in one or both of my knees. It got to the point where I thought I had better see my doctor and get a referral to a physiotherapist because the problem has been interfering with my ability to do things and to take regular exercise.

Last week, I started on my physiotherapy which includes a four-pronged approach to treatment:

1. Manual stimulation
2. Physical exercise, including stretching and strengthening
3. Ultrasound, and
4. Interferential Treatment.

In manual stimulation the therapist is using his hands and fingers to manipulate the muscles around my knees. Among other things, I understand this helps to break up scar tissue, relieve pain and stimulate lymphatic flow.

Then the therapist usually gives me ultrasound treatment. This is basically sound energy which is directed at my knee muscles and the sound energy causes vibration at the molecular level which then turns into heat energy. It doesn't hurt at all and in fact, I don't feel much of anything except for the cooling gel that is applied before the ultrasound wand is placed around my knee area.

Positive benefits of ultrasound can include:

* Increased circulation and metabolism
* Breaking up and softening scar tissue
* Reduced inflammation or swelling
* Diminished muscle spasm
* Relief of acute and chronic pain
* Enhanced natural healing processes

Once the ultrasound treatment is complete, the therapist then puts me on a stationary bike. He told me "motion is lotion" and that I need to get on one as often as possible. Since it can be expensive to go to the gym so often, I purchased one second hand. I'm very happy I have it as I am finding it makes my other aching body parts feel better. I have had it now for only a couple of days and I am noticing a benefit. When I go to the physiotherapist's office, I get on their stationary bike for up to 15 minutes as part of my therapy before he teaches me 3 new stretching and strengthening exercises.

I was fortunate to find this on Craigslist without waiting too long. I think I got a good deal and it was one of the nicest ones on offer. The young man I bought it from even delivered as he lived in my neighbourhood. I suspect his wife was happy to get rid of it and he doesn't need it anymore so we are all happy.

It even has a fan (see the top) as well as the usual time, distance and work out programs.
After I'm done with the exercises, the physiotherapist administers Interferential Current (IFC) treatment.  The interferential current machine transmits electrical currents at a high frequency (4000 Hz) waveform. This technique enables the electrical current to penetrate deep into the tissues.

The electrical current is applied to the affected area using four electrodes. In some situations, the Therapist may choose to include a massaging suction effect to the electrodes. The four electrodes deliver two currents into the tissues. Where the two currents meet, they actually 'interfere' with each other hence the name 'interferential.' These interfering currents allow the delivery of a relatively high stimulus to the underlying tissues in a comfortable manner.

During treatment the patient will feel a tingling or 'pins and needles' sensation and often also muscular contractions. This sensation may continue for a brief period following treatment as well.

The electrical stimulation of the patient’s tissues results in a number of physiological effects that have therapeutic value such as reducing pain by blocking the transmission of the pain signals (pain gate mechanism) or by stimulating the release of pain reducing endorphins, reducing swelling, improving circulation, and muscle relaxation. (
I've had 3 complete sessions with the physiotherapist.  My knees though still weak and sore, are much better than they were a week ago. I have another two appointments booked.  Hopefully after that I can improve and maintain myself with the stretching and strengthening exercises and the stationary bike regime.  It has been rather busy of late with the various medical and dental appointments amongst all the other necessary things one has to do in life.

I'm leaving town soon and I really need to be in the best of shape for my travels. In other long awaited news, my mom's application for her preferred critical car home was accepted today. Now we are waiting for the actual bed and my hope is she will be happily and safely settled early in the new year if all goes well.


Jan said...

I'm glad you have found such beneficial treatment, including the stationary bike.
Blessings to you and your Mom that everything works out for each of you.
With love, Jan

Joyful said...

Thank you Jan. Travel is always the best motivation for me to get moving on outstanding matters. Thank you for your blessing. Love to you :-)

Jo said...

Oh I'm pleased you have treatment for the pain, Penny. I love the idea of a fan on the stationary bike. Cool, excuse the pun! Blessings to you my dear. (((Hugs))) Jo

Joyful said...

Hi JO, yes I'm so glad I'm getting treatment too. I should really have started much sooner but I kept thinking the paint would go away on its own. I do love the fan feature myself. Even a small bit of blowing air really helps to keep one cool.

Joyful said...

Hi JO, yes I'm so glad I'm getting treatment too. I should really have started much sooner but I kept thinking the paint would go away on its own. I do love the fan feature myself. Even a small bit of blowing air really helps to keep one cool.

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