Knee Pain That Leads to Low Back Pain and How to Avoid It

Knee Pain Leads to Low Back Pain

Video by Dr. Bryan Stephens

I have had multiple patients come in with knee pain recently and because their knee has been hurting, they have had to limp.  This limping and change to their usual walking pattern has caused them to start experiencing low back pain as well.  They compensated for so long that they put the stress and strain on other areas of the body which in turn stop moving the way they should and become inflamed.  This inflammation is what causes the pain they feel.  Along with the adjustments to the back and knee to restore the lost motion in the joints, we focus on strengthening the areas around the joints as well to enforce full range of motion with resistance.  This is what contributes to healthy and pain free joints (Hilton’s Law!).

One of the exercises we work on is knee extension to help with standing fully upright.  By placing a therapy ball behind the knee, we can add resistance to the movement.  This can also be done with a band or even a weight.  I like to use a ball because it is a good starting point when already experiencing knee pain as it is not too intense.  As the knee strengthens and it becomes easier to stand and walk, the low back pain decreases as well.  By working with the kinetic chain, we are able to restore the normal movement patterns and avoid the compensations which lead to pain and inflammation.  The kinetic chain is the pattern of movement required to complete a motion completely.  By definition, the kinetic chain describes how energy generated by one link (or part of the body) is transferred to the next.  I have also explained it in the past using the children’s song:

The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, the hip bone’s connected to the back bone, etc.   You get the picture.

This is why it is important to look at the body as a whole instead of just separate isolated parts.  Your back pain may be coming from the knee or ankle.  The best way to know which is true is to get checked out.



Nobre, T. “Comparison of exercise open kinetic chain and closed kinetic chain in the rehabilitation of patellofemoral dysfunction: an updated revision.” Clin Med Diagn 2 (2012): 7-11.


Our Message

If you’re looking for a Chiropractor near you that you can trust, choose one who will not only get rid of your back pain, neck pain, or headaches but who will also guide you to living a healthier lifestyle to keep you out of pain. Our Chiropractors located in McKinney, near the corner of Eldorado Pkwy. and Stonebridge Dr., will teach you what the research says about how and why we should eat a better diet, move more and have more positive thoughts. By improving these areas of our lives we can become healthier and stay out of pain!