Long standing pain following an injury or operation is always a difficult symptom for the practitioner to deal with. It should never be ignored, even if the patient seems to be complaining unduly.
It can sometimes be tempting to dismiss a complaint of pain as “psychological” or “all in the mind”, but this will not help the patient. When the practitioner does not take complaints of pain seriously, the patient quickly loses faith in the practitioner’s judgment and level of care.
In most common knee problems, resolving the pain depends on accurate assessment and appropriate treatment. If pain persist despite initial treatment, it can mean that the original diagnosis was mistaken or incomplete, that compensatory mechanism have added to the original pain, or that there is a secondary problem underlying the main one. There may be a need for more detailed investigations and a chance of treatment strategy.
Id you are anxious, afraid, stressed or depressed, your knee problem will be harder to cure and the pain will be more persistent. Your mind and particularly your perception of pain can influence and healing processes. In some cases, emotional disturbances prolong the symptoms are actually caused by emotional problems.
Dealing with chronic pain requires a flexible and sensitive treatment programme. Remedial exercise are a must, but only within the patient’s capacity and within pain limits. Apart from appropriate drug therapy, electrotherapy techniques, especially TENS, can relieve pain.
Pain relieving injections may be tried, usually to the other structures of the knee only, avoiding the knee joint itself. In some cases, the knee will be protected in a supportive bandage or even a plaster cast, and the patient may have to use crutches to avoid overloading the knee. Wherever possible, total immobilization of the knee is avoided because this can cause even more problems by weakening the muscles and disturbing the blood flow.
Positive thinking is an important part of the cure, and if you find this diffcult to accieve, you should seek help from an appropriate practitioner, such as a psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, counsellor or, for more severe illness, psychiatrist.