Beautiful woman jumping for joy after finding knee joint pain relief

14 Solutions for Knee Joint Pain Relief That Don't Include Medication

Knee pain comes in many forms. Those of us who have chronic knee joint pain know the daily struggles all too well. Whether you have arthritis, knee bursitis, or any other knee-related pain, finding a knee joint pain relief regimen that works reliably can be hard. 

When we run out of options, our go-to source of knee joint pain relief is often medication. It doesn't always have to be that way, though. 

There are options out there that could help you to manage your knee pain and give you a better quality of life. But before we dive into our favorite natural solutions for knee joint pain relief, let’s discuss why your knee might be hurting you in the first place. 

What causes knee pain?

There are many causes for knee pain. If you didn’t have a traumatic injury, the most common cause of knee joint issues is osteoarthritis, where the cartilage in your joint breaks down and causes the bone to rub together painfully. 

Some other common reasons for knee pain include:

  • Bursitis
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Baker’s cysts
  • Infections 

If you aren’t sure what is causing your knee pain, it’s best to speak with your medical health provider for an official diagnosis and to rule out the need for surgical intervention. As long as you are in the clear, you can try forms of natural knee joint pain relief. 

14 (natural) solutions for knee joint pain relief

If you are looking for home remedies for knee pain, here are our favorite options for knee joint pain relief that don’t require surgery or medication: 

1. Use the RICE method

RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This is a standard treatment for many sports-related injuries, but can be used for arthritis or bursitis-related pain as well. 

Resting when you have a flare-up may be the only way to manage your pain sometimes. In these moments, finding time to elevate and ice your joint can bring much-needed relief. 

Wearing a compress or wrap around your knee can also provide the joint with extra support. As the muscles around your knee gain strength from exercise, a compress may not be as necessary. 

2. Find a low-impact exercise you enjoy

When you're experiencing knee joint pain, mustering up the courage to get out and move can be both a mental and physical battle. But, although it seems counterintuitive, exercise can potentially provide knee joint pain relief down the line. 

Mild, low-impact exercises can help you to build muscle strength around the knee area, relieving some stress in the joint. You should try to be careful with exercise, though. It is a delicate balance, especially when you have pain in your joints. It can be easy to overdo it. 

A long-touted ideal exercise for people who suffer from knee pain is swimming. Exercising in the water takes immense amounts of strain and stress off your joints. You can also try something as simple as running laps in a pool, or attending water aerobics if you aren't fond of swimming. 

Other exercises like stretching, yoga, and tai chi can also help manage both physical and mental strength. 

3. Try physical therapy 

When you're first starting an exercise routine, it can be helpful to consult a physical therapist. They will give you various exercises to strengthen your knee joint and manage your pain. Physical therapy can improve your range of motion while also targeting specific muscles surrounding your joints. 

3. Consider acupuncture or dry needling

Sometimes, it can be beneficial to turn to alternative treatments like acupuncture and dry needling. If you've never experienced either of these treatments before, they can be somewhat intimidating but one or the other could provide you with knee joint pain relief. 

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that has long been used for pain relief. Many people experience anti-inflammatory effects with acupuncture, along with a release of endogenous opioid endorphins, a natural pain-relieving chemical in our body. 

Dry needling is similar to acupuncture in appearance but engages with your body differently altogether. When the needles are inserted for a dry needling treatment, the practitioner will twist the needle slightly to cause an internal stretch in the tissue. 

Once the needles have been inserted, they're left in place between 10-30 minutes. Like acupuncture, a low-frequency electrical stimulation may be applied to the needles for specific treatment purposes. 

4. Use a walking aid when necessary

Particularly if you are young, using a walking aid like a cane, walker, or even crutches may seem like an extreme adaptation in your life. However, breaking past those personal biases can benefit you wholeheartedly and provide swift knee joint pain relief.

If you are experiencing a lot of pain, or are unable to walk certain distances without assistance, a walking aid may be necessary for a short time. Using a walking aid continuously can cause dependencies, so it’s best to wean yourself off of it after a couple of weeks. 

Working with a physical therapist to learn how to walk appropriately with a walking aid is important. They can teach you the most effective way to walk, as well as how to strengthen your knee joint to lessen the need for a walking aid.

5. Be conscious about how you walk and sit

Believe it or not, the way you walk, run, and sit at your desk during the day can dramatically impact your knee pain levels. If we are continuously using a gait that favors one side when we walk, or if we lean while sitting, we are adding extra stress to certain parts of the body.

One of the best ways to become mindful of your movements is through the Alexander Technique. During Alexander Technique lessons, you go through guided exercises to break down unfavorable movements and postures so you can integrate positive, beneficial ones.

Alexander Technique practitioners often look at knee joint pain as a result of excessive co-contraction of the leg muscles during walking, standing, sitting, and other daily activities. 

Alexander Technique lessons can help you understand how you move, and why it is important to retrain habits that may be harmful on your journey to find knee joint pain relief. 

6. Take time to meditate

Meditation is a practice where we focus the mind on a particular object, activity, or thought. The goal of these mental exercises is to achieve mental clarity and awareness by training your attention. 

Similar to how the Alexander Technique trains the awareness of specific movements, your awareness can be heightened through the practice of mindfulness in mediation. Our mental processes can alter our sensory processing, which includes the sensation of pain. 

Over time, you may experience immense benefits beyond pain relief from meditation, but be aware that it can take immense patience and results will likely not be immediate. 

7. Invest in your shoes

Did you know your knee pain could be caused by your feet? Sometimes, finding knee joint pain relief is as simple as finding the right footwear. Your doctor may recommend special insoles or shoe brands to provide extra support while you walk and stand. 

8. Rethink your diet

With any joint issue you may experience, your diet can play an integral role, even during knee injury recovery. For most people, the first thought they have for reducing inflammation is to grab an ice pack or take some ibuprofen. 

But did you know that there are ways we can reduce inflammation naturally just by altering what we eat?

Ingesting anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, green tea, berries, and leafy greens can be extremely beneficial. However, it is important to know which foods can promote inflammation so we can avoid them as well. 

Foods like dairy, processed foods, red meats, and refined carbohydrates top the list of foods to avoid when you are trying to reduce inflammation. 

10. Go for a massage 

Massage feels great, but it can also help with knee joint pain relief. That’s because a professional massage can improve blood flow to the area and relax any tight muscles or connective tissues that could be causing an imbalance in your joint. 

11. Consider aromatherapy and salves 

Essential oils smell wonderful, and they may even help with your knee joint pain relief. Massaging your knee with ginger and orange oil can improve the pain and function in your joint – even if you have moderate to severe osteoarthritis. 

A 2011 study found that a natural salve made from cinnamon, ginger, mastic, and sesame oil was able to improve joint pain, stiffness, and range of motion just as effectively as an expensive prescription ointment. 

12. Become a snowbird 

Okay, so not all of us can pick up and move, but if you have the option, moving to a warmer climate may provide knee pain arthritis relief. That’s because cold weather can make arthritis more painful.

If you have the option, why not spend a few months in Mexico or Thailand next winter?

13. Use CBD

Whatever your thoughts are on marijuana, there is no denying that CBD oil has wonderful pain relief properties. This powerful oil is THC-free, so you don’t need to worry about any mind-altering effects. 

You can get sublingual CBD drops, or get a topical salve to apply directly to your knee. 

Of course, make sure to check the legality of CBD products in your area first!

14. Take a daily collagen supplement 

Although we naturally produce collagen in our bodies, our natural production slows down as early as age 25. Collagen is what helps to keep our skin looking young and our joints feeling youthful. It’s also what our body uses to rebuild cartilage and connective tissues.

If you have arthritis or a strained or sprained knee, a daily collagen supplement is one of the absolute best things you can take. Collagen for knees will help to rebuild new joint tissues from the inside out and reduce feelings of pain and inflammation in your knee. 

Can collagen cure knee pain? Well, no, but it can go a long way towards helping you find knee joint pain relief. Depending on the cause of your knee pain, it may cause symptoms to go away, and it can also help with how to prevent knee pain in the future. 

Find relief for your knee pain

Knee joint pain of any kind can feel debilitating and impossible to manage. The good news is that there are things that you can do in your daily life to help both treat and manage your pain. 

While we did not include medication as a treatment on our list of solutions for knee joint pain relief, if you currently take medication for knee pain, it is essential to discuss with your doctor before you stop using it.

In a perfect world, when we have knee joint pain, we would integrate all the above solutions into our lives. However, sometimes our schedules, budgets, or personal preferences do not allow for that. 

If you shy away from acupuncture needles, or don't want to worry about diet and exercise, one of the easiest ways to find knee joint pain relief is through supplemental collagen. 

From knee injuries to arthritis pain, the integration of collagen into your diet is a tried-and-true treatment trusted by thousands of medical professionals. A hydrolyzed collagen protein supplement can help provide swift (and much-needed) relief from knee joint pain. 

FAQs about knee joint pain relief 

Here are answers to some common questions about knee joint pain relief: 

What is the main cause of knee pain?

The most common cause of knee pain is osteoarthritis, but there is no single “main cause” of knee pain. If you have pain in your knee that comes on suddenly, worsens, or refuses to go away, you should speak with your doctor to find the source of your discomfort. 

How do I get rid of joint pain in my knees?

You can find knee joint pain relief through a number of surgical and non-surgical options. This includes rest, heat and cold therapy, physical therapy, diet changes, weight loss, and supplementation with joint-supporting supplements like collagen. 

What shouldn't I do if I have knee pain?

If you have knee pain, you should avoid high-impact activities like running and jumping. You should also try to avoid fast twisting motions or direction changes, as well as any motions that aggravate your symptoms. Your doctor can give you more specific answers based on your case. 

What exercise is best for knee pain?

Low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, tai chi, or yoga tend to be the best options for knee pain. Make sure to listen to your body and find a form of gentle movement that works best for you. 

What is the best pain relief for knee pain?

The best pain relief for knee pain is a combination of treatments with NSAIDs, physical therapy exercises, and regular collagen supplementation for internal healing support.  Talk with your doctor to find the right plan for knee joint pain relief.