There are 318.9 million people in the United States, about 100 million of whom suffer from chronic pain (US Census, Institute of Medicine). Pain isn’t just a quality-of-life issue. It is also incredibly expensive. The total price tag each year is $560-$635 billion; which means it costs the average person $2000 per year.
One of the most common types of pain is knee pain, as indicated by these prevalence rates from the CDC for American adult patients:
- Lower back pain – 28%
- Knee pain – 20%
- Headache/migraine – 16%
- Neck pain – 15%
- Shoulder pain – 9%
- Finger pain – 8%
- Hip pain – 7%.
Regular motion is critical for those with bad knees. You certainly don’t want to overdo rest, thinking they will improve the less you bother them, said pain medicine doctor James Rippe, MD. “Your joints thrive on movement,” he notes. “Always try to remember that some activity is better than no activity.” For exercise, Rippe suggested less intensive workouts such as swimming, cycling, and walking.
Whenever you do exercise, stretching is fundamental for recovery. Keep in mind that many muscles operate around the knee and help it to function properly, so you want to stretch all of them for ideal mechanics.
Here is a series of easy stretches to reduce knee pain after you exercise, as recommended by Manhattan-based certified personal trainer Lauren Williams:
Wall Calf Stretch
Stand facing a wall. Put one of your heels down about 4 to 6 inches from it. Allow your toes to make contact with the wall. Maintaining a straight-legged position, lean into the leg. Hold for five seconds. Attempt a dozen reps on each leg if it isn’t causing additional knee pain.
Resistance hamstring stretch
Lie down flat on your back. Gradually raise your left leg as high as you can, pushing against a resistance band. Do a dozen reps of five seconds per side, assuming you don’t experience a pain flareup, with five second breaks in between.
Get down flat on your back again. Bend your left leg. Without bending your right leg, raise it up about 12 inches. As you lift it, rotate it to the outside so that your toes make a diagonal line toward the ceiling. Complete three sets of a dozen reps per side.
“As you get stronger,” commented Greatist, “add ankle weights up to 10 pounds.”
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