MATRIX Personalized Fitness
More than just your muscles


Relevant Links:
Tip #4: Assess & Reassess
12a: Opposite Joint Opposite Movement (OJOM)
Better Movement Through Sensation
Tip 12b: OJOM for the Spine
Tip 12c: Advanced OJOM
Tip 10: Low Back Pain
Pain 101: The Threat Neuro-Matrix
Another Pain Handling Trick
Correcting Shoulder Pain


Hello out there! It's Shane from MATRIX Personalized Fitness. In today's video, we're going to talk about knee pain and give you some unique ways to work on getting rid of it.


There are few things that are more frustrating than being in pain. Particularly, when it is a joint that you use a lot, like the knee. Now I've done a bunch of different blogs and videos, talking about pain. And there will be links to those down below in the description. And sometimes you'll see some pop up above as well.


The first thing you want to know about trying to deal with pain in a joint is how to assess and reassess to make sure that what you're doing is creating positive change. The simple way for us to do this today is that, as long as you're not in too much pain, you're going to start to find out how much range of motion you have until the pain or discomfort begins. And hopefully, as you try these different techniques, you'll see that range of motion begin to increase. If that happens, you know that what you're doing is beneficial. And if it starts to get smaller, then you know that what you're doing is not the right route to go.


So, the first thing that you might want to try is this Neuro-"trick" called Opposite Joint Opposite Movement. When the right knee is in pain, the opposite joint is the left elbow. When the knee hurts in flexion, the opposite movement would be extension. So, the first thing that you can do is to get a gauge for how much movement you can create in your knee. Then, with your elbow on the opposite side you're going to be doing an Elbow Circle, focusing on extension if flexion of the knee is what hurts. Try a few reps of that, just to see what happens. Then go back to your knee, reassess and see if you've got any more range of motion after doing that. If that works, awesome, every time you go to do some work on your knee, start with the elbow circle.


Level two is sensation. I've also done some videos about this. Sensation can play a huge role in the awareness around your joint. And because pain lives in the brain, the better awareness you have, the better decisions your brain can make about it. You're going to want to check sensation in a number of different ways. The first, most basic one, is light touch. Use an object because with your hand you'll get extra sensation from your fingertips. That isn't as helpful because you want to isolate sensation just to the knee. So you'll take an object and bring some sensation in and around the knee joint. And as always, reassess. If that helps great. If not, try some other sensations. You can use a tool that vibrates as something else to check out. You might also try heat, cold, or something that's a little bit sharp. Each one of these different pathways gives different stimulus to the brain and could give you different results. If you really want to get the most out of this, don't skip any of them. Give each and every one a shot. Again, assessing and reassessing which ones are best. Once you've gone through that, maybe your pain is gone. But let's say it's not.


The next thing you want to work on is making sure that you're having good movement at the knee. The first way you would want to do this is unloading the knee so that it's not having any of our weight on it. And seeing what type of motion you can create. A simple drill for this is called a Hanging Knee Circle. Standing as tall as you can, you pull the affected knee up. Then, you have two movements going on; you have flexion and extension at the knee, or kicking forward and backward. You also have rotation at the hip, or bringing the foot side to side. This action is happening in your hip joint. When you put these together, you can start to create a circle. As you begin to do this, you might notice that there's pain when you get into certain positions. That's good to know. Don't move into the pain, but realize that is a way to assess. You might also notice that you don't have the best control over certain spots. It might get a little shaky, or it might be very pointed, or you might accelerate through it when you're trying to go slow. Those are signs that there's some lack of control from the brain there, and it's an area you might want to work on. After you can create some good movement at your knee joint, go back and reassess whatever is giving you pain. See if you can get a little bit more range of motion. If so, that was good. If not, move on to something else.


The next level up from there is to load the knee. Once it's feeling a little bit better, you can create that same knee circle, now with your body weight engaged. The way you would do this, is to come into what we call Front-45 lunge. Straighten the leg. You do want to be able to lock your knees out. It's not something you do all the time, but you want to have that skill. From a locked position, let your thigh roll in. Start to bend the knee. And then you're going to circle the thigh out, as you straighten the knee back. This is called a Grounded Knee Circle. As you get better and better with your knee, you'll start to be able to sink lower and lower in. You might get some good benefits by creating good motion with load. If not, there's more things you can try.


Another reason you might be having knee pain is because the muscles around the knee are a little bit weak. To play with this, you need to know what muscles affect the knee. Today I'm going to talk about three, the quads, the hamstrings, and the calfs.


Very simply, you can play with first the quad. Working on squeezing the knee. Making sure that the muscles are getting really tight. Then relaxing. Again squeezing. And as you touch your own leg, you might notice the spots that are a little soft. Those are the areas that could be the problem. So try to get them a little bit tighter. Then release, stretching. And after a couple rounds, go back, reassess if your knee feels better. If so you found another exercise you can do.


If the quads aren't the issue, maybe it's the hamstring. Bringing your heel to your butt and trying to pull your thigh back, you'll really feel the back of your thigh tighten up. That is your hamstring. Be careful on that one, it's a muscle that tends to cramp. Give it a couple of good squeezes. Again, touch and notice if there are areas that are soft. See if you can get them a little tighter. Stretch afterwards. And reassess your knee.


The last one is the calf. Same type of exercise here. You will be doing a simple heel raise. Going up, getting the calf to engage. Maybe feeling it. And then setting the leg back down. Doing a couple of reps. And then again, reassessing the knee. So if there was a muscle weakness issue, you have something to test there.


In contrast to that, you can also try flexibility. Stretching the quad, stretching the hamstring, or stretching the calf are all good things that you can try.


Now, once you're starting to improve your range of motion, and the knee is starting to feel better over bigger ranges, you want to build some strength wihtin those ranges. So with that, what I'd recommend is getting some object that you can start to press into. You could use your own body, or you could use a table or a chair. Go into the range of motion, right up to the edge of where you're feeling some discomfort. Back off of that a little bit. And then create some isometric strength by pressing into the table. Changing direction to try to press out forward into it. Trying to pull back into it. And trying to squeeze into it. So you're getting each side of the joint working. Getting the muscles engaged at those bigger end ranges of motion. And that's going to lock in the gains that you get.


Hopefully you found this interesting. In recap, things to play with: Opposite Joint Opposite Muscle. Sensations, all different types. Then, working on movement, unloaded. Movement, loaded. A little bit of strength training. A little bit of flexibility training. And then lastly, once you've redeveloped your range of motion, doing some isometric, resisted strength work in those positions. Not every one of these is going to work for you. That's why you want to use the assess/reassess technique to really figure out which ones are best for your specific problem.


If you have any questions, please send us a message and let us know. Also, recognize that at MATRIX we have our Tune-Ups program. So if you have a specific issue like this, you can sign up for a free 15-minute session. Come in and we'll give you some insight into that. And maybe, if you're still having issues, go a little bit deeper into some higher order brain stuff that I'm not going to get into these videos. Thanks so much for watching. And again, please reach out with any questions.