Your body is full of joints. Depending on how you categorize them and your age, you may have anywhere from 250 to 350 joints. Some experts consider a joint a place where two bones connect, while others make the distinction that the bones connect for the purpose of moving body parts, such as the knee, hip and elbow.
Joint pain usually occurs in the slightly movable joints, also known as cartilaginous joints, or the freely movable or synovial joints. The latter have synovial fluid bathing the joint so that the parts move smoothly against each other.
With so many joints in your body, it is not surprising that some will hurt from time to time. The proper diagnosis of the cause of your discomfort is critical in finding the best treatment for the problem. Finding the underlying condition is important in order to preserve joint function, reduce pain and inflammation. There are many conditions which can lead to joint pain. Some, like arthritis, are considerably more common than others.
Sources of Joint Pain
The list of causes of joint pain is long and includes a variety of ailments, some more serious than others, although the pain you feel may be slight or severe in any case. Some of the more common causes of joint pain include:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Bone cancer
- Broken bone
- Lyme’s disease
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
This is not a full list of causes of joint pain. Because the list is extensive, it is important to have an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your joint pain in order to receive the most effective treatment.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis and conditions related to arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, this disease by itself affects over 50 million adults and more than 300,000 children. Treatment for the pain of arthritis depends on which type you may have, and options vary accordingly.
Joint pain is not always caused by illness or disease. It can also be caused by an injury. Damage to the joint caused by a fall or direct blow to the joint can cause swelling, inflammation and pain. Aging also takes a toll on joints. As people get older, the cushioning in joints can get progressively thinner, sometimes to the point where bone wears on bone.
Joint Pain Treatment Options
Effective treatment of joint pain relies on the accurate diagnosis of the cause of the pain. For example, joint pain caused by cancer treatment will be different from the treatment for a dislocation. Treating swelling in the bursa will not be the same as treating a tear in the cartilage.
Treatments range from hands-on therapies to structuring your diet to include more whole foods, fresh vegetables and more anti-inflammatory foods. Dietary supplements may also be recommended to help resolve pain issues. Correcting poor posture, stretching exercises and ergonomics may be advised as well.
An assessment of your general health, lifestyle, pain levels and location are necessary to establish the best mode of treatment. Physical therapies are used to strengthen the muscles around the joint. This helps stabilize the joint and can improve your range of motion. Other therapies such as heat or cold, electrical nerve stimulation and physical manipulation may also be used.
Your doctor may make lifestyle recommendations to help reduce pain levels. For example, patients who are overweight may be advised to lose weight to reduce the pressure on joints. Low impact exercises such as walking may be advised to help with weight loss and keep joints mobile. Swimming and bicycling are also good exercise as they get you moving without adding stress to joints. Swimming has the added advantage of relieving pressure on joints because of buoyancy.
Home care recommendations may be given also. These may include such things as wrapping the joint using an elastic wrap, elevation of the affected area, icing it several times a day and rest.
Taking care of your body and eliminating the pain that puts you on the sidelines of life can be made easier when you enlist the services of Dr. Rolland Nemirovsky and his team of sports and physical therapists. Contact us to schedule an assessment of your pain, and find out how we can help you get back into the game.