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Home Remedies 
for Knee Pain

Besides medical treatments, home remedies can also be highly effective for knee pain. Whether you are dealing with an acute injury, chronic knee pain, or post-surgery recovery, conservative treatments like ice, heat and massage are great tools for pain relief and healing.

Cold Therapy Explained

Cold therapy is one of the simplest time-tested remedies for managing pain and swelling. 


It is the “I” component of R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, and elevate). This is a treatment recommended for the home care of many injuries, particularly sports injuries.


Cold therapy has the following effects:

  • Numbs pain by reducing nerve activity and interrupting pain signals to brain

  • Reduces swelling by restricting blood flow through vasoconstriction (constriction of blood vessels)

💡 After using cold therapy to reduce pain, sweling and muscle guarding (muscles around the injury tightening to protect the area), mobility and range of motion can be achieved with less pain and more effectiveness.


How To Apply Cold Therapy

When applying cold therapy, you can use local, regional, or whole body treatment. Local therapy is best for small areas of pain, like an injured knee. You could use ice packs, coolant sprays, or even packs of frozen vegetables for local treatment. 


Apply cold to the injured area for 10-20 minutes at a time, with 30-40 minutes off. Ensure a layer of fabric between the ice pack and your skin to avoid burns.

Heat Therapy Explained

Heat therapy is the application of heat to an injured area to increase its temperature. It is used to improve circulation, soothe discomfort and stiffness, and accelerate healing. 


Heat therapy has the following effects:

  • Increase blood flow by causing vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels)

  • Increase range of motion & reduce joint stiffness by increasing muscle extensibility

  • Increase oxygen uptake and accelerates tissue healing by increasing cell metabolic rate

  • Soothe pain

  • Relax muscles and increase flexibility


💡 Using heat therapy on your knees before physical therapy can help improve blood flow, relieve stiffness, increase range of motion and strengthen the newly-formed scar tissue. This is crucial to avoiding reinjury and restoring your knee to full function.

How To Apply Heat Therapy

When applying heat therapy, you can use local, regional, or whole body treatment. Local therapy is best for small areas of pain, like a stiff knee joint. You could use small heated gel packs or a hot water bottle if you only want to treat an injury locally. 


Apply heat to the injured area for 20-30 minutes at a time, with 30-40 minutes off. Ensure that the temperature is “warm” rather than “hot” to avoid burning the skin.

Ice, Heat, or Combination?

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In the first 72 hours after you sustain an injury or after surgery, apply ice first to bring down pain and swelling. Once the initial swelling goes down, or after the first 72 hours, heat can help relieve stiffness and promote healing. 


It is also good to follow the “warm up, cool down” principle.

  • Before exercising, use heat therapy to loosen up your muscles and joints to reduce risk of reinjury.

  • After exercising, use cold therapy to bring down any pain and inflammation which may have been triggered.

💡 Hot and cold therapy can also be used in combination after the first 72 hours of the injury or after surgery. By alternating between hot and cold, you can relieve stiffness, inflammation and pain, as well as stimulate blood circulation to encourage healing. 

To use combination therapy:

  1. Ice for 20 minutes

  2. Heat for 15 minutes

  3. End by icing for another 20 minutes.

*For muscle spasms, end treatment with heat instead.

This causes your blood vessels to constrict, then dilate, then constrict again, creating a pumping mechanism that drives inflammation away from the area.


This process can be repeated at most twice per day.

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Massage Therapy Explained

Massage therapy can relieve pain through several mechanisms:

  • Relax painful muscles, tendons, and joints

  • Stimulate competing nerve fibers and impede pain messages to and from the brain

  • Reduce stress and anxiety


💡 The pain relief from massage is temporary, but it gives you a brief window to move the injured area. This can help you do physiotherapy exercises which are crucial to long-term pain reduction and knee rehabilitation.


Massage therapy can also encourage healing by improving blood circulation. This is achieved through:

  • Pressure on the veins and stimulation of the affected tissue

  • Local release of vasodilators (substances that dilate blood vessels)

💡 Improving circulation in your knee has the following benefits:

  • Enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients for healing

  • Speeds up the removal of waste products, reducing muscle weakness 

  • Raises muscle temperature, increasing elasticity of tissues and improving range of motion

How HeatPulse & Thermosleeve Can Help


Heat & Massage

  • For stiffness, tightness, and range of motion

  • For older injuries 

  • Encourages healing

Learn more >


Ice & Compression

  • For pain, swelling, and inflammation

  • First 72h after acute injury / flare-up of old injury

  • Provides relief


Knee Massager


Cold Compression Sleeve

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