We all agree that having a throbbing knee pain at night could bring our quality of sleep to the bottom of the pit!
Knee pain, however, is a common condition suffered by active people. In the case of throbbing knee pain at night, inflammation on the joint is the first thing we need to focus.
Arthritis, which is a condition where your joints get inflamed, is the biggest thing to play a role in the knee pain attack. The result of inflammation are symptoms such as stiffness, pain, and swelling.
Inflammatory and non-inflammatory arthritis are the two most common forms of the condition. Inflammatory arthritis is usually referred to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and noninflammatory arthritis is known as osteoarthritis (OA).
Although it’s called noninflammatory arthritis, Osteoarthritis can still affect the joints to get an inflammation. The first thing you have to do is identify the cause of your knee pain to treat it properly.
What are the main causes of nocturnal pain in the knees
Throbbing knee pain at night might be caused by osteoarthritis which is the world’s most common joint disease. In other words, the cartilage wears out off the joints.
As we know, cartilage is a protective layer located between the two ends of the bone and normally prevents the bones from rubbing on each other.
In addition, the cartilage serves as a kind of shock absorber, which distributes the load evenly on the joint. Due to wear, improper lifting object and other reasons the cartilage can be damaged or even disappear at all.
Since the “worn out” of the cartilage is characteristic of osteoarthritis, it is considered to be a degenerative joint disorder.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is the various forms of chronic inflammatory rheumatism grouped under the term “chronic arthritis”. It is part of what are called autoimmune diseases, where immunity system attacks the body of the affected person.
It is also a system disease that does not always reach only the joints, but also sometimes other areas of the body.
3. Hoffa’s disease (adipose tissue)
At the base of the knee-cap is a “soft” fabric, also called “Hoffa Fatty Package”. In some cases, following a sudden blow on the patella or torsional motion, the famous fatty tissues can be compressed between the femoral condyle and the patella, resulting in intense pain.
Other causes that explain why knee pain gets worse at night
Depending on each case, different theories explain why knee pain can get worse during the night. We could try to identify the main reasons.
- The psychological factor
Being relaxed before sleeping will make you more aware of the elements that may disturb/hinder you. Conversely, a sense of isolation and loneliness can exacerbate the pain during the night.
- Abnormally increased blood vessels
During your sleep, the body’s blood vessels increase in diameter, but if it above normal condition, thus increasing blood pressure and causing shrinking of the available space in the joints.
- Hormonal disorder
During the night, the organism resists most of the hormonal signals, which allows the brain to better capture the signals of pain sent by the body, hence a sensation of pain that can be felt on the knee.
- Strong activity
In the case of intense activity, most people who suffer from knee or hip pain run the risk of being amplified during the night. The activities that can trigger this pain are very diverse: walking or a prolonged position (sitting, standing, slouching). Heavy impact activity such as running, jumping, lifting heavy weights and etc.
According to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, running by slightly leaning the torso of the body forward reduces the pressure on the patella-femoral joint, thus relieving the knee pain.
- The Weather
This problem usually suffered by older people. The weather is a recurring cause in people with osteoarthritis, aggravating the pain felt on the knee. It usually occurs when the weather gets bad, cold, humid, and windy.
What treatments are recommended to relieve knee pain during the night?
- Better sleep quality
Don’t lie in bed awake for more than about 20 minutes. Get out of bed and do a calm activity until you’re ready to sleep.
Maintain a good position during sleep. Sleeping with the legs slightly bent while on your right, helps to limit the pressure on the joints.
Some patients who suffer from osteoarthritis claimed that their pains were alleviated by a pillow squeezed between the legs. For this tip to be effective, it is better to avoid moving while you sleep.
- Ice compress
This is a first aid protocol designed to reduce swelling and pain and to stimulate blood circulation in the limbs. It is important not to leave the ice for more than 20 minutes and never put it directly on the skin. Apply with a towel or ice package. The compression bandage must be tight, but not too much to interfere with the blood flow.
- Heat compress
The heat from a hot water bottle also helps alleviate knee pain. This treatment will be more effective for people suffering from knee injuries (not joint diseases).
- Using aloe vera
Aloe vera usually used to alleviate the complaints of joint pain caused by inflammation. This is because aloe plant has the anti-inflammation agent on its gel.
- Over the counter (OTC) medication
This is the method that has pros and cons. It relieves the pain fast, but there are also side effects of OTC if taken improperly. Better consult with a pharmacist to know about OTC method more. Ibuprofen is one of the anti-inflammation medicine to relieve pain and arthritis.
What is the prevention of nocturnal knee pain?
Better to prevent than cure! This proverb applies to all diseases, including knee pain. However, in case of injury, to reduce the risk of long-term damage, it is an important matter of treating them quickly so that they do not worsen. The recess of physical activity is generally advisable in these circumstances.
While in rare cases, such as tendonitis, cross-ligament injury or bone tumor, the surgical solution is highly recommended.