Many people struggle with knee pain but health experts say that pain you’re having may actually be caused by a back problem. Neal Trottier, a physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System, says aches and sharp knee pains can be a symptom of a back problem. “A lot of patients will say I don’t have a back problem. I didn’t even have any back pain.” In many cases, Trottier says, patients have a pinched nerve in the lower back causing pain in their knees. “It’s because the nervous system and the nerves actually travel down to your legs, especially coming from the low back. If there’s a nerve that’s compressed you may not feel the back pain, you may not feel the pain where the actual problem is. A lot of times you will feel it extend down the leg.” If the patient has both knee and back pain, Trottier says the treatment will focus on strengthening the patient’s posture, flexibility, and core. “For back pain in general we tend to work a lot on core strength. Your core muscles, not only your abdominals but your hip muscles, your back muscles, they’re very important to strengthen and support the spine,” said Trottier. Physical therapy may also address the knee pain with light exercises. “Sitting and standing out of a chair, doing some light mini squats, and things where you’re putting weight through your joints,” said Trottier. Other activities like water aerobics and walking on soft surfaces can also help manage the pain. “Usually if it’s painful it’s probably not the right thing to do. It’s your body’s way of telling you it’s time to stop,” said Trottier. He says other ways to help with the pain are stretching, over the counter pain relief, and resting. Over time the pain typically gets better. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Visit