Chronic Pain

Finding the Cause of Joint Pain. Treatments to Help Find Relief

Source: Mayo Clinic

Joints can be defined as essentially every place that your body bends. They connect our bones to form our skeleton and allow us to move. When they’re working properly, they also help to support our bones and provide cushion between them. Not surprising for as often as we use them, they sometimes don’t work perfectly and can cause us pain.

Common Causes of Joint Pain

Many things could lead to joint pain, including:

  • Injury- physical damage to the tissues in joints can lead to swelling, pain, and loss of function. Injuries may include sprains, strains, or the tearing of ligaments or tendons.
  • Osteoarthritis- This type of arthritis is essentially due to wear and tear. The joints become inflamed and painful due to a breakdown in the cushiony cartilage found there.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- Unlike the naturally occurring wear of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the joint linings.
  • Bursitis- This joint condition is caused by swelling in the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushion for the joints.

Medical Interventions for Joint Pain

There are many medicines and therapies your doctor may prescribe for joint pain, including:

  • Tylenol- This is an over the counter medication frequently used to reduce mild pain.
  • NSAIDs- This class of drugs includes ibuprofen and naproxen. It uses compounds other than steroids to reduce inflammation and therefore pain.
  • Prescription medications- Pain medications may be prescribed, but other medications like muscle relaxers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsant drugs may also be given for joint pain depending upon its cause.
  • Topical medication- Medications that you apply to the affected area like prescription analgesics or OTC capsaicin creams may improve joint pain.
  • Injections- When joint pain is persistent or caused by tendonitis, arthritis, or other joint disease, injections of steroids directly into the affected area may help reduce pain and improve joint function.
  • Physical therapy- Physical therapy uses exercises and stretches to reduce pain and stiffness in painful joints.

Home Care

There are lots of ways you can take care of your aching, painful joints at home. Apply ice to reduce inflammation, take OTC pain medications, rest and elevate the area, and provide bracing to help support the joint if possible. You can also take steps to get to or stay at a healthy weight to reduce strain on the painful joints.

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