Joint pain is a common problem among older adults due to their increased risk of medical conditions such as osteoarthritis. However, younger people can also develop Mason joint pain due to injuries or underlying health problems such as fibromyalgia, gout, lupus, bone cancer, bursitis, and complex regional pain syndrome. The discomfort can occur in any joint within your body but is common in areas like the knee, shoulder, spine, and hip. Most patients with joint pain experience stiff joints in the morning that gets better as the day progresses. Fortunately, there are different treatments to manage pain and improve joint function.
What is the treatment for joint pain?
Available treatments for joint pain aim at reducing pain and improving or preserving joint function. Your specialist recommends a suitable one for you based on different factors, including pain severity and whether the discomfort is acute or chronic. A diagnosis will help identify the cause of your joint pain and guide the doctor in making an effective treatment plan. For example, if an underlying problem like bursitis causes your joint pain, your doctor will first treat that condition. The different treatments for joint pain include:
In most cases, mild, acute joint pain improves with home remedies such as exercise and hot and cold compresses. You can place an ice pack or a heating pad on the affected area several times daily for pain relief. Instead of taking the usual shower, consider soaking in a warm bath. Low-impact exercises such as swimming and walking can help build muscle strength and joint function. If you’ve been engaging in intense workouts, you may need to scale back a bit. It is best to consult your doctor before starting a workout program to avoid complications.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, celecoxib, and aspirin can relieve mild to moderate joint pain with swelling. However, they pose a possible side effect of gastrointestinal bleeding and are therefore meant for short-term use. If you don’t have swelling, your doctor may recommend acetaminophen. You may need to stop taking alcohol while under this medication since high doses may result in liver damage.
- Opioids. These are more potent medications that may be an option if NSAIDs don’t offer relief from pain. Opioid medications should only be used upon a doctor’s prescription to avoid complications such as slowed breathing. While low doses help in pain management, specialists advise against long-term use of this medication since they have a high potential for addiction.
These include gels or ointments rubbed on the skin over the painful joint. Your doctor may write a prescription, or you can find them in medical stores.
Corticosteroids are usually administered into the joint or combined with local anesthesia to offer relief from pain. It is a common treatment approach for patients with medical problems such as arthritis and tendonitis. Steroid injections offer temporal results which can last for up to 4 months.
If your joints are swollen and painful, reserve a session with your doctor at Elite Physical Medicine for treatment to improve your quality of life.