The importance of the joints cannot be overemphasized.
Apart from providing support and helping you move, they also form the connections between the bones.
Damage to joints secondary to disease or injury will not only cause a lot of pain but will also likely to interfere with your movement.
There are many conditions that cause joint pain—rheumatoid arthritis, gout, strains, osteoarthritis, and sprains to name a few.
Joint pain can be mildly irritating or debilitating. Some may go away after a few weeks (acute) or can last for several months (chronic). Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain—joint pain can definitely affect your quality of life.
Spare yourself from all the pains and discomforts brought about by joint pain by keeping in mind the following:
This golden rule will do a world of wonders for joint health—the more you move and stay active, the less stiffness you’ll likely have and experience. So look out for your joints by changing positions often whether you’re working, reading, or watching your favorite shows on TV. Also, make it a point to leave your desk every once in a while so you can move around and keep joint stiffness at bay.
While you may not be aware of it but the more overweight or obese you are, the more likely you are to put strain on your back, hips, and knees. If you have been struggling to keep the excess weight off, it will be a good idea to seek professional help. They’d be able to recommend programs and provide guidance on how to effectively and safely lose those extra pounds.
If you need more motivation, just remember that losing even just a pound will take as much as 4 pounds of pressure off your knees. That’s a good start if you want to say goodbye to joint pain for good.
If you want to stay fit but want to take care of your joints at the same time, opt for exercises that are low-impact. Fortunately, when it comes to low-impact exercises you have plenty of options available at your disposal. Exercises that are joint friendly include swimming, bicycling, walking, and strength training.
If you are already suffering from joint pains, you need not worry. Nowadays, there are plenty of effective treatment options available to choose from.
Topical agents. Capsaicin is proven effective when it comes to relieving joint pains secondary to arthritis and other conditions. It works by triggering the release of endorphins which block pain. It also blocks substance P which transmits pain signals to the body. Users however will experience stinging or burning in the area where Capsaicin is applied but it is the only known side effect.
Medications. For those who are experiencing joint pains that range from moderate to severe (with swelling), prescription or over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are given. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen sodium are just some of the proven medications that provide relief.
For those who are only experiencing mild pain sans swelling, taking acetaminophen would be recommended. However, you need to be cautious when taking acetaminophen when you drink alcohol as high doses may likely lead to liver damage.
In the event of severe pain, your doctor may give you a stronger opioid medication. However, since opioid drugs can make you drowsy, it should only be used upon your doctor’s recommendation.
Injections. If topical and oral medications won’t provide you with any relief, your doctor can inject a steroid medication directly in your joints. This will be done every three to four months.
Steroid injections are often given to patients with tendinitis, joint disease, and arthritis. The procedure has been proven highly effective.
Physical therapy. Your physical therapist can help stabilize the joint, enhance your motion range, and strengthen your muscles. They also make use of techniques like electrical nerve stimulation, heat or cold therapy and ultrasound, among others.
You can also employ a few simple yet effective techniques at home to help alleviate short-term joint pains.
- Use a wrap or brace to protect your joints.
- Steer clear of activities that will cause you pain.
- Make it a point to ice the joint for 15 minutes, several times every day.
- Use an elastic wrap to compress the joint.
- Elevate the joint above the heart level.
Regardless if the joint pain is tolerable or intense, it would be best to seek the help of a medical professional right away. Doing so will help ensure you are given immediate treatment before the condition escalates.