Understanding Your Joint Pain
Pain is the primary symptom of any condition that causes joint pain. This pain can be subtle, acting as a mild ache or soreness in the various limbs, seemingly centered around the joint. Moderate pain presents itself as twinges whenever you make a movement that involves the joint in question, and may ache for some time afterwards.
Severe to extreme pain can cause moderate to complete immobility, especially if the joints affected involve the knees or ankles. This type of pain is chronic and occurs whenever the person attempts movement, and even when sitting still for some time. Other than pain, other symptoms of pain in the joints include swelling of the skin around it, redness of the skin around it, and stiffness of that joint.
There are a whole host of probable causes for recurrent joint pain. Any injuries to your body over your lifespan can cause pain later in life. Athletes of any type especially will begin to feel twinges and episodes of pain once they either stop playing that sport or as they age. Knee pain is the most common complaint, followed by shoulder, hip and back pain.
There are chronic medical conditions that can also cause this type of recurrent pain: arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, tendonitis and bursitis. All of these conditions are treatable, generally through medication, but there are other methods for pain relief available outside the realm of prescription drugs.
The Dangers of Self-Medicating
The logical first step when dealing with joint pain is to pay your doctor a visit, so that he can run tests and diagnose effectively what is causing your pain. Without an examination, there is no way that you can be treated in the correct manner. Self-medication is not an option, because if it is being caused by a medical condition like lupus or fibromyalgia, there is no drug available over-the-counter that will help you manage what could be a lifelong condition.
The goal of proper medical treatment is to reduce your pain and inflammation, so that your joint function can be restored and preserved. By self-medicating, you run the risk of some pretty serious complications from the drugs you may be taking to ease your pain. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium, can relieve your pain, but they also raise your risk for developing gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. Acetaminophen will also work, but may cause liver damage, especially if you drink alcohol on a regular basis.
After your doctor determines what is actually causing your pain, he will probably prescribe medication that will work toward that goal of reducing inflammation and pain. In some cases, depending where the pain is located and its probable cause, it is possible that you will be prescribed muscle relaxants to treat muscle spasms, or a type of antidepressant, because they can block pain signals from reaching the brain. Injected steroids are often the treatment of choice for severe cases of arthritis or muscle damage.
Physical therapy will teach you exercises that you can do at home to strengthen the muscles around the joint and to restore flexibility to that joint. Chiropractic adjustments are especially helpful when it come to back pain, because if your spine is out of alignment, it can affect your entire body, causing pain and limiting movement. Mineral supplements can improve the lubrication within your joints, and increase calcium levels to strengthen those joints. Massage therapy, especially with oils and creams that contain capsaicin, will penetrate into the muscles surrounding the joints, relaxing them, improving circulation to them, making them stronger to support your ailing joints.
Don't let joint pain keep you from doing all the things you love to do. The caring professionals at The Chiropractic Center of Lakeland are dedicated to helping you feel better fast. Call them today so you can get back on track as soon as possible. Also check out our new page on Joint Pain.
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