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🔴 Notice: As part of our Acute Injury Treatment Practice, we now offer Functional Medicine Integrative Assessments and Treatments within our clinical scope for chronic degenerative disorders.  We first evaluate personal history, current nutrition, activity behaviors, toxic exposures, psychological and emotional factors, in tandem genetics.  We then can offer Functional Medicine Treatments in conjunction with our modern protocols.  Learn More

Functional Medicine Explained

Baker’s Cyst: How Chiropractic Can Help Alleviate Its Pain

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A baker’s cyst can cause pain, swelling, and limit the mobility in the affected knee. In some cases, complications can develop, causing serious problems with the leg. The problem with this type of cyst is that even if it is drained if the underlying cause isn’t addressed, the cyst can return. Chiropractic can be used to treat baker’s cyst and help relieve the pain that it causes.

What is a Baker’s Cyst?

A Baker’s cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, is a fluid-filled lump behind the knee. Synovial fluid builds up to form the benign cyst. It starts inside the knee but eventually extruded through the back part of the knee and forms a lump. Many times there is no discomfort of pain from the cyst, although there may be some pressure on the back side of the knee. The pain that is often associated with a Baker’s cyst is usually caused by the underlying problem that causes it. In some cases, a Baker’s cyst can become large enough to inhibit movement which can impact mobility.

What Causes a Baker’s Cyst?

A Baker’s cyst is caused by overproduction of synovial fluid in the knee that leads to the fluid building up and forming a lump. There are several reasons that this can happen, including knee joint inflammation and injury to the knee. A meniscal cartilage tear or another cartilage injury of the knee can cause a cyst to develop. Certain types of arthritis in the knee, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause the excess fluid to accumulate. Knee arthritis, a common condition among older adults, can also cause the development of a Baker’s cyst.

What are the Potential Complications of Baker’s Cyst?

Sometimes the location or size of a Baker’s cyst can cause swelling in the back of the knee. The cyst itself can be as large as a golf ball. This can put pressure on the joint, making it difficult to bend the knee. This pressure can extend through the calf muscle. The patient may experience tenderness and pain after exercising.

In rare cases, a Baker’s cyst can burst, causing the synovial fluid to leak into the calf. This can cause swelling and knee pain that is sharp and can be intense. The patient may notice redness in the calf or experience the sensation of water running down the back of the calf area. Because symptoms of a burst Baker’s cyst can closely resemble a blood clot in the leg, the patient should seek immediate medical attention to rule out a more serious condition.

How is a Baker’s Cyst Treated?

Some no treatment for popliteal cysts and they go away on their own. If a form of arthritis is causing the cyst, treating that problem may resolve the cyst. The same goes for a cyst caused by an injury to the knee. Once the injury is resolved, the cyst typically resolves as well.

If the cyst does not go away or if it is problematic, causing intense pain or limits mobility, the patient may talk to their doctor about getting it drained. The doctor will use a needle, insert it directly into the cyst and drain the fluid. Steroid medications may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling. In very rare cases, surgery may be required to remove the cyst.

Chiropractic for Baker’s Cyst

Many patients choose to seek chiropractic care to treat a Baker’s cyst because it is noninvasive and does not use medications that can have unpleasant or harmful side effects. The chiropractor will assess the cyst and conduct diagnostic tests to determine the cause. This will help them decide the best course of treatment. Sometimes an old injury can continue to put stress on the joint, causing a lingering tension pattern. A chiropractor can address this, bringing the body back into alignment, thus alleviating the problem. This will help reduce the pain, inflammation, and swelling. Chiropractic is also an effective treatment for arthritis so if that is the cause of the cyst, regular chiropractic care can help considerable. Often, once the underlying condition is corrected, the cyst goes away on its own.

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