Acupuncture for knee pain

Acupuncture for knee pain

Everyday I hear from patients that they have a torn meniscus or bone on bone knee cartilage or arthritis in their knee and their orthopedic surgeon doctors all tell them the same thing – they are going to need surgery. Well let’s talk about your options because 90% of knee pain cases don’t need surgery!

You’re going to learn why the old way that most doctors use to treat knee pain is a terrible idea. Then I’m going to tell you about a better way. By the end of this article you’ll see why acupuncture for knee meniscus pain, acupuncture for knee cartilage, acupuncture for knee arthritis and acupuncture for knee tendinitis is a better option than the old way of doing things.

The old way of doing things and why it’s a bad idea

Here’s all that your regular doctor has to offer: Ice, NSAIDs, Steroid injections, Surgery.

Really what happens is that most doctors you go to completely forget there’s a human standing in front of them. They just ignore you and move straight on to your imaging. I wish the human body was simple enough to just take an x-ray or MRI and point to the structural changes you see on it to figure out someone’s pain. But we are vastly more complex than just a picture. We have nerves that run all over us, and in the end these nerves are what carry all the pain signals (and every other signal) to and from various parts of our body. So if you just ignore them and only focus on structures – you don’t get good results. In fact, if we dive into the scientific research we can see that every type of knee surgery has poor outcomes.

Ice is for dead people. It numbs pain, sure. But it also delays healing time by constricting blood vessels which bring healing nutrients and oxygen to injured tissue.

NSAIDs like Advil & Aleve might temporarily calm your pain down but they also delay healing time. They literally stop the healing process from happening. They also have a TON of side effects. Like thousands of hospital visits a year due to spontaneous GI bleeding. Like increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. So they are a bandage at best and a nightmare long term.

Steroid injections (cortisone) are even worse. They might help in the very short term but long term they cause your cartilage and surrounding tissue to degenerate and turn to mush. One steroid injection increases your chances of needing a total knee replacement significantly. So short term relief or not, they just aren’t a good idea.

Meniscus surgery, while the most popular surgery year after year, are in the end not successful in relieving pain when compared to a sham knee surgery. Understand there is never any repair that a surgeon does when they “clean up your meniscus”. They literally just cut a part of your meniscus out and sew you up. This is a direct quote from a recent scientific study on knee surgery “Physicians and patients should consider all non-surgical options before undertaking surgical intervention for knee pain related to meniscus injury.” 

I hope you get the idea that all of the stuff your regular doctor has to offer is for the most part not going to help you in the long term. But there is good news, there is a better way. 

A better way

A good physical exam and hands on medicine like Acupuncture. Most doctors spend an average of 7 minutes with you during your visit and immediately order an x-ray and an MRI. Unfortunately for 95% of knee pain, an x-ray and and MRI are totally useless. If you didn’t have some kind of trauma like a car wreck then the only reason a doctor orders them is to justify surgery. 


The hands on exam is a lost art. Think about it. Did any doctor you go to spend more than 30 seconds looking at your knee before they just said you need an MRI? 

When you come to someone like me at my orthopedic acupuncture office in Tampa, FL, I am going to spend quite a bit of time hands on – feeling what your tissue feels like, checking the ligaments around your knee, checking the muscles that stabilize your knee, testing the nerves and soft tissue above and below your knee. In the end my goal is to determine what’s generating your pain – in the end it all comes down to how nerves send pain signals to your brain.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a tool that helps to restore function to your body and relieve pain. Be aware, there are different types of acupuncture – you want someone who is specialized in Orthopedic Acupuncture, Trigger Point Dry Needling, Neurofunctional Acupuncture, Sports Acupuncture.

The type of orthopedic acupuncture I practice in my clinic here in Tampa, FL is WAYYYYYYYYYYYY different than what your normal acupuncturist can do & wayyyyy different that how a physical therapist with a short weekend course in dry needling would approach your pain. 

There’s no way you could learn these advanced procedures in the few hours of education a physical therapist has in needling. 

And you could never be good at doing them if you didn’t specialize in sticking needles in people and getting in the reps like I have.

In 2019 alone, I provided over 3500 patient visits sticking about 20 needles in each patient… so that’s like ~70,000 needles in just 2019.

Your weekend trained physical therapist won’t do that in their lifetime.

But the real difference is the advanced procedures I have developed to be the most comprehensive holistic orthopedic approach available. 

The body is one single unit. You can’t try to separate the body like it’s a bunch of separate mechanical pieces.

You can’t just treat muscles and tendons. 

You can’t just treat fascia.

You can’t just treat inflammation.

You can’t just treat nerves.

You have to take into account all of the structures, all of the nerves, all of the connective tissue, and all of the metabolic components. Then you have to consider how everything works as a cohesive unit.

So a specialized orthopedic acupuncture treatment will be comprehensive and address ALL of the potential issues that are causing your body to not be able to heal itself.

There is a reason why your regular doctor or regular acupuncturist can’t do these advanced procedures. 

What to expect

On your first visit, we’re going to spend quite a bit of time talking so I can get a good health history, then we are going to perform an in depth physical exam. After that we will discuss your options – both what I can offer to help you and your other choices. After you understand what your options are we can get started with your treatment.

Treatment is quick (about 15 -20 minutes) and relatively painless – you will feel a little sensation but most people find it super comfortable and even relaxing. We will repeat the treatment weekly until maximum results are achieved. Most people need around 10 treatments to make a big difference that lasts.

As always, I’m here for you – feel free to email me at office@hansoncomplete or text/call my office directly at 813-534-0311. You can always sign up for a free 15 minute phone consult here on my website too.


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