Joint Pain is characterized by soreness in the regions of the body where two bones meet, commonly known as a joint. The pain or soreness felt in the joints can be due to a chronic disease like arthritis, or can be a result of ageing. No matter what the cause of this pain is, it is usually not an emergency and does not even require a visit to the hospital. However, it is necessary to find the cause of joint pain and start a proper course of treatment before it becomes severe.
Joint Pain Causes
There are a number of causes that can lead to joint pain. It might be caused by an ailment, a disorder or even an injury. The following are some of the probable causes that may be responsible for the joint pain you are having:
- Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Chondromalacia patellae
- Strains and sprains
- Septic arthritis
Infections are considered as one of the causes of joint pain, as well. The following are some of the infections that are most likely to accompany joint pain.
- Epstein-Barr viral syndrome
- Rheumatic fever
- Lyme disease
How to Relieve Joint Pain
Relieving the pain you are feeling in the joints is possible using the following treatment methods.
1. Home Care
Managing joint pain at home is possible if it is of a mild nature.
- You would have to keep your joint protected for a while, making use of either a brace or a wrap. This would keep your joint from getting damaged further.
- Resting is another good option, especially if your joint pain is arising from an injury that you suffered.
- To control the pain, make use of ice packs for at least a period of fifteen minutes on the joint. Use icing multiple times throughout the day to keep the pain minimized.
- Compressing the joints using an elastic wrap is great, too, as it will help with the muscle spasms that you must be feeling around the paining joint.
- Elevating your joint that is causing you the pain above the level of your heart can also help in reducing the pain a great deal.
- Exercise can help a lot in relieving mild and chronic joint pain. Watch the video for exercises to relive your finger joint pain and ankle joint pain.
Finger Joint Pain Relief:
Ankle Joint Pain Relief:
- Doctors often prescribe Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) to patients suffering from mild and even severe joint pain. Medications like aspirin, naproxen sodium and ibuprofen are among the most widely used drugs for reliving the pain felt in the joints.
- Sometimes use of muscle relaxants is also prescribed by the doctors alongside NSAIDs if the patient is having muscle spasms in addition to joint pain.
- Acetaminophen and Opioid medications are also among the drugs that can prove to be helpful in managing joint pain. However, they should only be used under the strict observation of a doctor since they have a number of side effects.
3. Topical Agents
Sometimes use of topical agents like capsaicin is also recommended by doctors for relieving the symptoms of joint pain. This substance, which is naturally found in chili peppers, has been found to be very helpful in releasing endorphins in the body that reduce pain. Moreover, capsaicin is also known for blocking pain signals to the brain as well due to its blockade of substance P, which is responsible for transmission of pain signals. Usage of arthritis cream that has methyl salicylate as an active ingredient is also suggested by doctors in some cases for reducing joint pain.
Steroid injections are among the best pain relieving method available for patients who cannot find relief from their joint pain through the use of medications or topical creams. These injections are always accompanied by a local anesthetic so that the patient does not feel any pain while the injection is being inserted in to his joint. Steroid injections can help in reducing the pain and inflammation, but overuse of these injections can lead to complications, therefore, these injections are administered every three to four months. Delivering of a synthetic version of the fluid present in the joints known as hyaluronan is also carried out using injections, but this treatment method is reserved for patients suffering from osteoarthritis only.
5. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy has shown very encouraging results for people suffering from joint pains. Your therapist will use techniques such as heat or cold therapy, ultrasound and electrical nerve stimulation to relive joint pain.
Targeted exercises work on strengthening the muscles present around the joint, it can help in stabilizing the joint and thus relieve the pressure that is endured by it during daily activities. Thus, including a light exercise routine in your treatment plan can go a long way in easing your joint pain. In addition to physical therapy, swimming too can help in reducing the pressure on the joints as well.
6. Alternative Treatments
Researchers have found that consuming supplements having components of cartilage in them can help some people in getting relief from joint pain. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are among the cartilage components that have been indicted for this purpose and are now available in the form of supplements. The best thing about using supplements either in capsule, powder or liquid form is that they do not have any major side effects.
When to See a Doctor
Seeing a doctor becomes a necessity for a person suffering joint pain when the area around his joint starts swelling up. Usually the swelling is going to be accompanied with fever and tenderness around the joint. You might also see that the skin in the vicinity of the joint has reddened and the pain is becoming increasingly hard for you to bear. In cases when moving the joint becomes impossible for you and swelling is increasing at an advanced rate, you must not wait another minute and should immediately seek the advice of a physician. Other symptoms which require an emergency visit to the hospital include joint deformation and an unexpected loss in weight.