Total Acupuncture and Physical Therapy

Natural Relief from Knee Pain

Jan 25, 2024
Person holding right knee in pain

Natural Relief from Knee Pain

The largest joints in our body, our knees get a lot of daily wear and tear. Knees are also structurally complicated, making them vulnerable to injury and chronic conditions. Whether knee pain is hampering your daily activities, like bending and walking, or severely impacting your ability to function, acupuncture and physical therapy can offer pain relief and often promote healing of the root cause. 

Common conditions that benefit from acupuncture and physical therapy:

  • Meniscus tears
  • Ligament sprains 
  • Osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis) 
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Chondromalacia patella
  • Iliotibial band syndrome 
  • Pre & post knee surgery 

If you’ve experienced an injury, it’s important to seek medical attention to understand any structural damage. 


How Acupuncture Relieves Knee Pain

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine, uses thin needles to stimulate the body’s innate healing response and nervous system. A natural form of pain relief, acupuncture promotes circulation and reduces pro-inflammatory markers in the body. Dry needling, often considered a form of acupuncture, uses needles on trigger points to stimulate a muscle response and promote natural pain relief. 

Acupuncture and dry needling can reduce knee pain by:

  • stimulating specific points on the body that help increase blood flow
  • loosening tight muscles 
  • reducing inflammation 
  • improving mobility

In the case of osteoarthritis, several randomized controlled trials have studied the effectiveness of acupuncture and dry needling for knee pain. One review of 10 such trials found that acupuncture can help reduce knee pain and improve physical function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The review also noted that, in some cases, acupuncture was more effective than prescribed pain medication.

Another study compared the effectiveness of acupuncture and dry needling for patellofemoral pain syndrome, a common knee problem among runners. The study found that acupuncture and dry needling are effective in reducing pain and improving knee function.     

Acupuncture is safe, minimally invasive, and complementary to conventional treatments.


Physical Therapy for Knee Conditions

Physical therapy for knee pain usually focuses on strengthening and stretching the muscles around the knee, helping them act as better shock absorbers during daily activities. A physical therapist may also work to modify activities or improve movement patterns to make them less painful for activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and squatting.

According to Erica Fritz Eannucci, DPT, OCS, CMP, SFMA, a physical therapist at HSS Paramus, “Orthopedic physical therapists are highly skilled in managing knee injuries. Their training allows them to differentiate between a knee injury that can be managed by a physical therapist or one that needs a physician referral.” (HSS, 2023)

Our physical therapists and acupuncturists are well versed in finding the right balance in treating the knee with exercises, acupuncture, and manual techniques to relax the muscles and tissues, followed by building strength.   


If you or a loved one suffer from knee pain, please call our office at 973-910-1441 to schedule an evaluation.      


About the Authors

Christine Marcarian, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist, massage therapist, and herbalist at Total Acupuncture and Physical Therapy in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. She earned a Master of Science in Acupuncture in 2008 and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2010 from the Tristate College of Acupuncture in New York, NY. Early in her career Christine worked in hospital settings and private orthopedic practices. She is certified in Sports Medical Acupuncture, giving her the tools to properly assess, diagnose, and treat various orthopedic injuries and chronic pain. As a certified MELT practitioner, Christine incorporates myofascial release into her acupuncture and massage treatments. She is also certified in oncology acupuncture. 

Frank Failla, DPT, is doctor of physical therapy at Total Acupuncture and Physical Therapy in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. Dr. Failla takes pride in providing one-on-one physical therapy in a private setting, creating a relaxing and nurturing environment. Throughout his fifteen years of advanced orthopedic practice, Dr. Failla has taken extensive continuing education courses in manual therapy, myofascial release, and osteopathic techniques. He has trained with the McKenzie Institute in mechanical diagnosis and treatment of the spine; the Barral Institute in neural manipulation for an integrative approach to pain and dysfunction; and the Institute of Physical Art in functional and visceral mobilization. He is a certified provider of Active Release Technique. Dr. Failla enjoys helping patients who have struggled to find pain relief using conventional medical disciplines. He believes patients can often avoid surgical procedures through proper care and lifestyle modifications.

HSS, 2/22/23, When to See a Physical Therapist for Knee Pain,,