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Excruciating Electric-Shock Pain in Back of Knee
For the past two years my wife (Age 47, 5'3", 140lbs) has had painfull attacks in the back of her knee that she describes as feeling like electric shocks.  Many times these are so painfull that they bring her right down to the floor where she screams and/or cries out in agony.  There is no pattern of when this happens. They are very random and can occur when she's sitting, walking, running or laying in bed.  They also can occur once in a day or week, or several times in  the same day.  She has had ultrasounds, xrays, mri's, vein tests, nerve tests, etc., and no doctor yet has diagnosed her problem.  It scares the heck out of me sometimes because it comes on so quick that there is a violent jerk reaction followed by cries of pain and agony.  The location of these painfull electric shocks is in the back of the knee about an inch or two below where the knee bends.  We've already checked on it being a Bakers Cyst causing the problem so I don't think it's that.  Because of the electrical-shock like nature of the pain, I'm guessing it has something to do with a nerve or vein being squeezed or pinched.  But how does that exlplain painfull attackes when she's laying completely flat or in a recliner and not moving a muscle?  I should add the she is a nail technician and sits for periods of time with her legs crossed.  But she has had a vein test and everything came out normal.  She does take B12 shots because at time she is deficient in Vitamin B12.  But that doesnt' seem to help.  She did have injections of botox which helped somewhat but not a whole heck of a lot.  We are at a loss for what is wrong. The Dr's. are at a loss. We've been to 5 or 6 specialists and my wife is at wits end.  Any suggestions?
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Thank you.

I think I've seen that video before but will have to refer back to it.
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I had a major attack this morning about 45 minutes after getting up. I've suffered for a year now with this. I'm taking Gabapentin and was hoping it was working, but after this morning's attack, I have no idea. I suffer through the pain, then cry from the emotional pain.
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i have the same Exact pain and symptoms you have...ended up in ER few times, excruciating pain like electric shocks again and again zapping...sometimes comes in the middle of the night. i started having it after I started taking tamoxifen for Breast cancer..tamoxifen causes arthritis, had all kinds of tests, all normal though. The only treatment HELPED is steroids, (medrol dose pack). It completely took away the pain for some time, but if, start using my knees,, exercise, it starts again..then i start steroids again. so it's some kind inflammation which irritates the sciatic or peroneal nerve there. i hope it helps.
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Hi Virgina, I'm Mick's wife.  I'm so sorry to hear you are still feeling this unbearable pain!  I have seen my husband jolt when he gets one of these shocks and the way he describes the pain sounds worse than childbirth!  I see that a few people have written about falling on their hips or tailbone previous to the pain just like my husband and so we are leaning towards believing that the fall on his opposite hip is what started this "nerve" pain in the back of the knee.  (I guess)  Since we posted our only comment back in July, he has only had 3 or 4 attacks since then, and none in the last...probably 3 months.  You mentioned you have lower back pain that you kind of associate with the shocks.  Is it possible you injured your hip, tailbone or back?    

I fear you may have had so many medical procedures done to your knee that you may have to recover from those before you are going to feel any relief. I sincerely sympathize with you, my husband says one of the hardest parts is trying to portray just how extremely painful these shocks are to those who don't know.  

But the scariest thing you wrote...not the pain...not your inability to clean house...but that you are loosing your faith!!  Now is not the time to give up on your faith or your life.  Don't be afraid to drive those 100 miles, do it - get up and do anything you want to do - don't live in fear and let the pain win!  You CAN get past this - say a prayer, tell this pain you are done with it, get over the swelling and other damage that may have been caused and get back to living.  God doesn't want you to have this life, he wants you to stop crying and start laughing.  This pain will only be here for a season, but you need your Faith for a lifetime.

Your pain is real and it is here for a reason.  I don't know what that reason is, but I know your story has helped us and I'm sure it has helped many others.  Keep the Faith and lose the pain, let God run your life, not the pain.
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Please see the private message I sent you.

Thanks for your encouragement for all of us.
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I hope Mick's wife's comment above has helped others in addition to me.
I had my  neuro appointment today and I had a major attack right there in his office in mid-sentence. I'm glad it happened. Now he knows what we are all talking about. I had a very hard day in general (numerous milder jolts) but it ended well with a two-hour nap on the couch. Now I wish it were morning so I could get going for real again.
After seeing the intensity of my pain (crying level), the neuro worked out a schedule that will increase my Gabapentin over the course of about a week. I will end up taking 3600MG per day.
I hope it doesn't make me loopy again or too clumsy or tremory. Is that a word? I doubt it. :) I am a former proofreader.
Still thinking of all of you too . . .
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I am doing better for the time being, but this was my week last week:
Monday went to E.R. for the worst attack I'd ever had. The pain was not only in its normal place, but also going half way up my leg in back and also half way down. The E.R. trip was useless except that I got 15 tabs of Hydrocodone. I've been taking half a tab before I go places, as a precaution and hopefully prevention.
Tuesday: was very vomiting sick all day
Wednesday: went to my husband's new ortho who assured me there is nothing wrong with my knee and otherwise was no help at all . . . another wasted trip in general. Gave me a prescription for Celebrex which I won't likely fill. After all, . . . he said there's nothing wrong with my knee except a little beginning arthritis.
Thursday: younger son and wife came a day early to beat the storm
Friday (Christmas Eve): had to cancel our plans because of storm
Saturday: good day with both sons, wives and family
Sunday: good day today
Conclusion: very little pain since trip to E.R. Oh, I just remembered: under guidance of neurologist, I have increased Gabapentin to the maximum dose over the course of this past week. Maybe that's why I've been better.
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I seem to be the last person standing in this forum. Humor was intended.

I am still doing well and hope the rest of you are also. I've started to get out and about again which involves me driving myself around town (very easy to get around here), but it took courage to start driving again.
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Also, I've decided this is the year to stop reading so much health information and concentrate on reading the fun stuff!!!!!!!

We are all over-saturated with health news.
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This exact electrifying episode began for me last Fri Feb 25-2011.   I was scheduled to fly to Denver from home in NoCal the next day and cancelled trip for fear it would get worse or be completely debilitating.  No warnings before the episode...I was walking down my hall and not carrying anything.   I caught myself before I fell to my knees and it was several seconds of rocking my left leg back and forth and then it 'caught' and I finally could straighten my leg and go on.  It happened several more times that night and I was extremely frightened.  Background:  I am an overweight 57 yr. old female, living alone with my 2 dogs in a tri level home on 12 acres.  I work at a desk full time but am very active at home with chores, firewood, housekeeping, maintenance, yard work etc.  I love being outside.  Due to degenerative disk disease, I had TKR left in 2003 and right knee in 2004.  Yes, I was young but I was 'bone IN TO bone'.   It was a necessary fix for quality of life.  Both knee replacements have been relatively uneventful until 6 mos ago when both knees started 'popping', primarily in bed lying on my side.  As a result, my orthopod x-rayed both knees last Nov. and said both prosthetics look good still, everything in alignment.  Showed a small bone spur growing that might be causing the pain he said.   After the Fri. night and Sat. am episodes, I phoned Anthem and the on-call orthopod and they both said to go to the ER.   I did, and 3 more X-rays show zilch, which I figured, because I had assumed this was a soft tissue problem.  The ER doctor put me in a Velcro full leg brace and said to see my ortho ASAP.  I did yesterday.  He says an MRI won’t show anything because all of the hardware in my knee will just appear as a ‘sunburst’.   He told me not to wear the brace as it stresses my other knee too much.   He ordered blood work to look for inflammation; I have no swelling or tenderness….and an MRI of my back.  Said sometimes even tho I have NO back pain, something could be going on there causing the pain.  So I am awaiting insurance approval for that.  He also wants me to do 8 episodes of physical therapy, which has me a little nervous.  I am keeping a legend of how often and approx. frequency of these episodes.  I am using one crutch for now, which is extremely frustrating as I am normally a fast walker and always moving.   It ***** to be able to only carry in one piece of firewood at time!   My woodstove is my heat and I cook on it too.
I have taken Lipitor and Celebrex for years; Vicodin AN for pain, baby aspirin and HCTZ.  I have a mostly organic, vegetarian diet and occasional alcohol and marijuana use.  
I will certainly post more as I learn more.  
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I'm so sorry you are also a shocking person, but am so glad you decided to write about it. I'm still trying to figure out what I have in common with others, so here's the scoop on you and I:

both overweight, close in age, take Lipitor, no pre-episode warnings, both do some sitting but also active, both have some extra spur-type growth in back of knee, I used to be a fast walker before I became shockingly slow,also  take a baby aspirin.
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My wife has had all your symptoms and all her tests were negative also. It's so frustrating. All these threads are from females and not males. Is this related to female reproductive organs? My wife is on angeliq hrt and has been taking and mirilax for 2 years. I have found that less than 1% mirilax users have nerve compression problems? Can this be? We are now going to a chiropractor and nuerologist to seek relief and cause. Help!
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No, it apparently doesn't have anything to do with "female stuff"
because in this and other forums there have been posts from men.

I am almost seven months free of the shocks. My neurologist finally decided it is neuralgia and I still take the maximum dose of Gabapentin (Neurontin).

I still have many moments of fear. I'm just afraid my "luck" won't hold out although the neuro said there should be NO break-through pain . . . but there was one major attack back in February.

I have to believe in prayer. I have also become good email friends with a man and his wife because of this mysterious shocking pain.
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wow, I am so encouraged no pain for you for 7 months. my wife had a steroid injection and her attacks were once a day, now twice a day and she is starting freaking out. she is on 300mg of lyrica, because gabapentin gave her headaches. do you attribute your lack of pain from strictly gabapentin or anything else? how many mg of gabapentin? we do notice that her shocks seem to be while she is sitting or driving. we are headed back to pain doc next week. the wierd thing is that all 8 docs have no diagnosis yet and have not seen something like this.
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I attribute my lack of pain, as far as medicine goes, to Gabapentin 600MG two tablets three times a day EVERY day! It's a prevention, not something you take after the shock begins.  By the way, it is the same medicine that epileptics take to prevent seizures. It works in the brain. I think it supplies a needed hormone that might be lacking. I'd have to study again to make sure that is right.
It's either the medicine, or God himself that is working. I can't say which for sure. It doesn't really matter, as long as the shocks are not occurring.
I used to have shocks all day long and would just sit and cry. When I had my last attack, I told my husband in all seriousness, "I wish I could just die a natural death and get it over with" even though I have a pretty good life otherwise and have grandchildren to live for.
I spent a year and a half going from doctor to doctor (all kinds) and none have heard of this type of pain. I TELL THEM TO GO TO SOME ONLINE FORUMS! I copied pages of stories from other people like you and took them to doctors.
The bottom line is that when this first started, my primary doctor SAID it was neuralgia although there were no studies of anyone who had ever had it so low in the body. He thought a Botox shot behind my knee might help temporarily, but my insurance would not pay for it. Neither would my husband. That's hateful, I know. We could have afforded it.
So, I went to about 12 different doctors in that time period until I finally landed with this particular neurologist. One time I had a very severe attack in his office and he said, "I never realized how bad the pain was." I was sobbing.
He says there is one more medicine he could add if I ever do need it. I forgot what it is, but it starts with a T.
My very first attack was when I was driving . . . two years ago this month. They continued just whenever though, no matter what I was doing. Sometimes they woke me from a deep sleep, one time I was in a swimming pool, just anytime. I'm sorry to be discouraging, but that's how it is.
My best to you. You have to keep pounding the doors of those doctors and RAISE THEIR AWARENESS OF THIS MONSTER!!!
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Good grief, I didn't know my previous post was so long!
I want to tell you that I live in Rantoul, IL and my neurologist is Dr. Shyu at Christie Clinic in Champaign, IL.
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Does your wife take Omeprazole (Prilosec)? I started taking it about the same time my shocks started. My neurologist suggested I switch to something else (for heartburn), so now I take Famotidine. Unfortunately, I'm almost 62 and have too many invisible age-related ailments to be able to use the scientific theory to rule out this or that.
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Thanks for all your posts on this.  I don't know if I have exactly what you have, but it's close.  I have been pretty normal without any real health problems so far in life.  I'm 41 and out of the blue about 3 weeks ago the worst pain imaginable hit the inside of my left knee for less than a second.  It was so bad I threw down what I had in my hands.  Everyone kind of laughed and asked what in the world happened.  Now there are more of them happening.  They only last for a second but they seem to be increasing in the number.  Instead of one, it will be 8 or 10 in a minute and then they are gone. They are bad though.  It's like it hits so hard my brain doesn't have time to process what is happening.  Tonight I fell to the ground because one hit and it was so painful, I was laying on the ground before my brain realized it was one of the electric shock pains that put me there.  What the heck is this?
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I hope it is, as my neurologist and a previous primary doctor suspected . . . I hope it is neuralgia. I hope mine is being prevented by taking Gabapentin, which is actually primarily an anti-seizure medication. Please, all of you, go to a neurologist and talk to him about trying this medicine. You'll get your life back if it works for you. I take the maximum dose. You have to work up to that much, if you indeed need it.
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Your pain sounds exactly like mine was. Sometimes for a split-second, but I had a few that lasted 10 minutes apiece. Sometimes off and on all day long for days at a time.
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I have found some significant research that indicates that Omeprazole and also Metformin can indeed lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, which can in turn cause nerve damage. I started taking Omeprazole in early October 2009 and had my first neuralgia attack in early November 2009. I quit taking Omeprazole in late May 2011. I had my last bad attack in late February 2011.
I also have taken Metformin for about a year.
Now I have weaned off the Gabapentin to see if the pain returns. Hopefully the Omeprazole was the culprit and the pain will not return.
I had my B12 tested yesterday because I've also been very fatigued and depressed. I will get results late this week.
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i am 28 years old and just recently started having sharp shooting insane pains behind my left knee. they come and go here n there but usually seem 2 happen when ive been on my feet all day and most the night(i have 2 young children) the pain used to be short and fast and i could apply pressure and rub it away but lately the pain lasts longer and nothing helps. i have not seen a dr i just started 2 research this and i found u so i just thought id share..i hope u find relief and pain free days!
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My B12 was fine. Started taking Prozac about a month ago for the depression. Neurologist does not think going off Gabapentin caused the depression but I've seen forums online which indicate otherwise.
I've had no neuralgia pain since March 2011, praise God!
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I too am experiencing a shocking pain behind my right knee. I am 48, 5' 4" about 148 lbs. It just started about a week ago. I was sitting outside with a friend & I felt like I had just been electrocuted behind my right knee. I threw whatever I had down & jumped up screaming. My friend didnt know what happened. When I explained that it felt like I was electrocuted she didnt know what to think. She & my husband both said it was probably a muscle spasm. Anyway, it happened again last night & about 4 more times this morning. I have had muscle spasms before & this is not the same at all. I am at a loss. So glad to hear that someone else is experiencing this & I am not crazy. Please let me know if anyone figures what this is & what I can do. Thanks, SherryB63
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Again, I would recommend seeing a neurologist and asking him about Gababentin (generic for Neurontin). I am off of it now and not experiencing shocks. I've been off  it for three months. He thinks perhaps I had a weird side effect from Omeprazole (Prilosec) which I took for heartburn. Since going off that, my shocks have not occurred. It's simply speculation.
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I'm back, with some shocking news. My back of knee shocks have begun again but I am restarting the Gabapentin at a low dose at first to hopefully nip it in the bud. When the pain is the worst, I also take two  Advil and that seems to calm it down.
I was pain-free for a year and a half and for six months of that time I was not medicated. So the good news is that this CAN go away for long periods of time.
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I've had a few mild attacks which hardly bothered me but they have been increasing in frequency and pain lately. Last night I had a horrendous attack while sitting on the couch which left me crying. I think I had about 15 or so jolts (hard to remember exactly) over about 2 or 3 minutes and they were so intense my whole leg was jolting and lifting off the footrest. Very scary.
I've had psoriatic arthritis in both knees for 15 years and have tried nearly ever drug available. I am very drug resistant (actually my Rheumytologist calls me a drug freak) and at the moment I am on Methotrexate, Humira and Naproxen. Last year I started getting bakers cysts in my left knee - I have lost track of how many have swollen, burst and the drained into my calf. Very, very painful. And now this. Absolutely awesome though to find so many people with the same kind of pain.   : )
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I am male 45 215lbs.  I have had this same electric shock-like pain in my left knee.  Although I don't think this is standard Piriformis Syndrome I do believe it is related to the piriformis pinching the sciatica. I have noticed attacks trigger after long periods of sitting and then anytime once aggravated.  

I joined a gym and began regularly working my leg muscles and the attacks stopped.  I didn't go to the gym one week and the attacks returned...I no longer skip the gym ;-)

A great stretch for the Piriformis muscle is to get down on all fours and cross one of your legs back and over the other leg like you are reaching out with that leg.  Now squat down with your supporting leg.  If you are in the middle of an attack this may not be a good idea but it is good to do when working out or stretching.
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I'm 28 years old and recently started feeling shocked in the back of my left leg over a month ago ... the pain is EXCRUCIATING, which it seems everyone unfortunately knows :( has anyone had a diagnosis? I went to the orthopedist and had tests done for blood clots and a torn meniscus...both tests came back normal.

I'm petrified. I went two weeks without an attack, and then just had one a day for two days in a row and the back of my leg is now so sore and I'm so scared waiting to get "shocked" again.

Has anybody gotten a diagnosis?
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I hadn't looked at this forum for a long time because I've been non-medicated and pain-free for about eight months now. The shocks can still come back, however. My diagnosis is "neuralgia" and when I start having attacks I am able to get back on Gabapentin under my doctor's supervision. I go to a neurologist who is very kind. I'd tried everything else.
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im glad to find im not alone! this just started for me. notice most are L leg...i wonder why
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Um I have them along with other movement problems. I am currently awaiting some more testing but it is looking like Parkinson's or MS. Does he have any other symptoms like unusual gait. Muscles feel like they are made of plastic. dizziness, cognitive problems? In any case it is of my personal opinion at minimum he should see a neurologist to rule out or diagnose nerve problems early. (CT/MRI scan and EEG at minimum) Also having a deficiency in B12 and D vitamins is an indication of Parkinson's. Not trying to alarm you but I went 5 years without a clue & there is great piece of mind in knowing either way. ( I hope hers is a minor problem) Anyway there is my opinion for what it is worth. Peace to you and yours!
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I have,e the same exact issues behind my knees.  Affine have a good doctor
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Did you ever get a dx
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Did you ever get a dx
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Did you ever get a dx
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Did you ever get a dx
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Did you get a dx
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Did you ever get a dx
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Did you ever get a dx
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Did you ever get a dx
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Hi there. I watched a medical show once and they had a whole team of Drs. doing test after tests on this woman and couldn't find anything wrong. She was in really bad shape. She too was a nail tech. Turned out, she had been one for like 8 yrs and it was all of the fumes she was breathing from her job that was poisoning her entire body and it was manifesting in really bad health conditions. Her save was that she quite that line of work. She did heal!
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Hi there. I watched a medical show once and they had a whole team of Drs. doing test after tests on this woman and couldn't find anything wrong. She was in really bad shape. She too was a nail tech. Turned out, she had been one for like 8 yrs and it was all of the fumes she was breathing from her job that was poisoning her entire body and it was manifesting in really bad health conditions. Her save was that she quite that line of work. She did heal!
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I was able to solve this by doing three stretches. Hamstring (seated reaching for toes). Deep glute stretch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zMMjowsfB0) and a Periformis stretch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcHVBsxmJXA)
After a week of doing this daily I have not had the issue come back thank God.
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I've had this for close to five years. And it's totally random. But always and only in my right leg. I get jolts for no more than 30 seconds, it feels like it's stopping and then more jolts for another 30-60 servings and then it's gone. Sometimes it happens a few times a week, sometimes one a month. U didn't have any for almost two years and now they are back. The worst is being woken up by it. My Dr thinks it might be a Baker's cyst. She did an x-ray but it's clear. She said to document it and if it gets worse she'll do an MRI. She also said if I'm going to be in my feet for long periods of time to take Advil an hour before. Problem is I work front desk in a hotel. Most days I stand for eight hours straight. Dr also checked my potassium and magnesium levels and they are good. I'll look into the b12 and D though and see if it helps. (I'm 38, 5'10" and 250 lbs). No other health issues to speak of.
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I am experiencing this problem since 4-5 months.
I tried using hot water bottler to give some heat to back of my knee and that helped really. But I stopped using it as my doctor said it might cause other problems. My doctor has given me some anti-inflammatory tablets that I am taking since 2 weeks and I can feel some improvement. Atleast the pain is not that sharp but I am afraid as soon as I stop taking those tablets, that sever pain might come again.
I will be asking my doctor if physiotherapy can help.

Thanks Anders22,
I wil also trying those stretches.

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I am experiencing this problem since 4-5 months.
I tried using hot water bottler to give some heat to back of my knee and that helped really. But I stopped using it as my doctor said it might cause other problems. My doctor has given me some anti-inflammatory tablets that I am taking since 2 weeks and I can feel some improvement. Atleast the pain is not that sharp but I am afraid as soon as I stop taking those tablets, that sever pain might come again.
I will be asking my doctor if physiotherapy can help.

Thanks Anders22,
I wil also trying those stretches.

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try these exercises also
http://www.hasantahir.com/docs/kneeexercise.pdf
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I am 52 year old in great health but I have this exact problem. Just behind my left knee, same spot every time. This has been going on for nearly a year. Very random. I tried someones advise on here and did the massage thing of my buttocks and hip, I thought it was working but hard to tell cause attacks are so random. My issue is today the pain came much harder than it has ever been, I was knocked right off my feet. I dont want to go to my doctor because I have a feeling the testing will be endless with no definitive answer.
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I had the same symptoms: 30 seconds bursts of shocking sensation behind my right knee at random times such as driving, sitting at my desk, mowing the lawn, sleeping in bed, standing at the sink and going to the bathroom.  My theory is that it could have been caused by a pinched sciatic nerve, caused by sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. Also, I used an off-brand squaty potty, which may place the nerve in a position where it could be pinched by the toilet seat. After I made the connection and stopped using the stool and got off the toilet when I was done with my business, the shocking sensations stopped. Stretching seemed to help relieve the pain but I don't feel it prevented the shocks. When I noticed that massaging my hamstring triggered shocks, I thought about the sciatic nerve. I hope this helps others. I am 41, 180 lbs male.
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I'm so glad I found this post. I have the same sudden burning shocking pain behind my right knee. It's been over 10'yrs now. I'm a 60 yr old 135 lb 5' 4" female. I have RA but this pain is so much more extreme and sudden. It makes me scream or yell out. I'll increase my vitD. I think it may be related to spinal stenosis. I sometimes get a rubber band sensation around my right ankle. Not at the same time.
Has anyone got a dx related to a spinal issue?  I'm going to have it checked out. I've had surgery for cervical stenosis and my mother had spinal stenosis but not this horrid pain behind the knee.
I'm tired of worrying if I will scream suddenly in public. It seems though that something irritates it and it flares up for a week or so. Then it calms down for a few months and then it starts over.
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