Most, if not all, who suffer from joint pain are faced with much discomfort throughout their day. Joint pain can be mild, causing some soreness each time you move your joint. Or joint pain can be severe, making it impossible to use your joint altogether. This medical condition is rarely an emergency and most mild cases can be successfully managed at home.
What Causes Joint Pain?
There are many causes someone may develop joint pain. The two most frequent cause of joint pain are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 27 million individuals in the United States have this chronic condition. Most often the knees, hips and hands are affected. Joint pain due to osteoarthritis results from a breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.3 million Americans and can deform and debilitate the joints over time. This type of arthritis can cause pain, inflammations and fluid buildup in the joints as the membrane that lines them is attacked by the body’s immune system. Other conditions that may cause joint pain include:
• Bursitis (inflammation of the cushioning pads around the joints)
• Infection of the bone
Who is at Risk for Joint Pain?
There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of joint pain. Those who struggle with excess weight may be putting stress on their joints. If a person is overweight, ordinary activities such as walking or going up and down stairs puts a strain on their joints. Those who have certain structural abnormalities, such as having one leg shorter than the other, misaligned knees and even flat feet, may be caused with joint pain. A lack of strength and flexibility are among the leading causes of knee injuries and joint pain. Tight or weak muscles offer less support for your knee because they do not absorb enough of the stress exerted on the joint. Those who play certain sports, such as skiing, basketball and running, may be putting strains and stress on their joints, specifically their knees. Lastly, if someone has had a previous injury, they have a higher risk of injuring his or her joint again.
How to Manage Joint Pain.
Both of these forms of joint pain are considered as a chronic condition and nothing can completely eliminate the joint pain. However, there are ways to manage the pain. It may be helpful to:
•Use topical pain relievers
•Take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce the pain, swelling and inflammation
•Stay physically active and follow a fitness program focusing on moderate exercise
•Stretch prior to exercising to maintain a good range of motion in your joints
•Keep your body weight within a healthy range, which will lessen stress on the joints
If your pain is not caused by arthritis, you may try general pain relief measures, which include taking a warm bath, stretch frequently, get a massage, get adequate rest or take nonprescription anti-inflammatory medicine. In some cases, your joint pain will require you to see a doctor. You should make an appointment if:
•You do not know the cause of your joint pain and are experiencing other unexplained symptoms
•The area around the joint is swollen, red, tender or warm to the touch
•The pain persists for three days or more
•You have a fever but no signs of the flu
Protect Your Joints.
If you have discomfort in your joints and want to take control over the pain yourself, there are ways to do so.
•First, you should choose the strongest joint available for the job. For example, carry objects with your palm open, distributing the weight equally over your forearm.
•Slide objects along a counter or workbench rather than lifting them. Use your thigh muscles to rise from a chair instead of pushing off with your hands.
•Another way to protect your joints is to use good body mechanics. If you position yourself correctly and use the muscles best suited to a physically demanding task, you can minimize the stress on your joints. For example, carry heavy objects close to your chest, supporting the weight on your forearms.
•If you arrange your work area wisely you can help release tension or stress on your joints.
•Make sure while you are sitting you have hood back and foot support.
•If you are typing on a keyboard for long periods and your chair does not have arms consider using a wrist or forearm support.
•If you stand while working make sure the work surface enables you to work comfortable without stooping.
There are many ways to protect you from joint pain. You must take precautions and be aware of how you are using your body. You should learn ways to help alleviate stress on your joints and follow through with those instructions daily, before your pain worsens.