For some people, it can be confusing and frustrating when a provider doesn't explain why they are doing what they're doing. Did they even listen to me? As massage therapists, many of the pain complaints we see are caused by referred muscular pains - pain that you feel in one area, that is caused by an issue in another area. ("it's all connected")
Today, let's focus on some of the referred knee pain that can be caused by trigger points in the hip, thigh, and lower leg. Yes, your knee pain can be caused by muscular pain! Take a look at this referral pain chart for the vastus lateralis, one of the quadricep muscles in the thigh.
The areas in red indicate where people commonly feel pain that is referred from the white X's, or trigger points along the muscle vastus lateralis. It's amazing how quickly we can resolve knee pain from trigger points. There are several other muscles that can cause referred pain into the knee, including the gluteus minimis in the hip, the adductor muscles of the inner thigh, and the hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh. We can help pinpoint which areas are related to your knee pain using the trigger point referral charts in our treatment rooms.
Now, part 2 of resolving knee pain from muscles is to understand WHY that muscle developed trigger points in the first place. This can be from a variety of factors:
muscular imbalances (weak muscles in one area and other muscles trying to pick up the slack)
dehydration - look into your intake of magnesium, calcium, and potassium
stress - we can hold stress in any muscle in the body
injury or instability - your body can form trigger points in reaction to an unstable joint
Massage therapy is only part of the equation in resolving knee pain. We help the body eliminate these trigger points and restore healthy circulation in the affected area. In some cases, there may be issues such as bursitis, arthritis, or meniscus injuries to evaluate. We can help narrow down the list of suspected causes. For many of our clients, it's important to stretch and/or strengthen the areas contributing to the pain. This may include exercises like squats or bridges. See our in-house personal trainer, Janelle, for more help with corrective exercises.