A joint is the meeting point between two bones. Every individual joint has its own flexibility and helps to execute different movements. As a result, they are susceptible to wear and tear, injury and damage.
Any damage caused to the joint due to injury or disease can cause pain and interfere with movement. Joint pain can affect any part of the body, from ankles to shoulder. However, knee joint pain is one of the most common complaints amongst elderly people.
Treatment Options For Joint Pain
Joint pain can either be acute, which goes away after few weeks, or chronic, which lasts for weeks and months. Whether mild or severe, the ultimate goal of the treatment for joint pain is to reduce pain and inflammation, maximize the movement of the joint and improve the quality of life. On the basis of the underlying cause, joint pain can be treated with medication, physical therapy and alternative treatment.
Treatment For Injury-Related Joint Pain
When joint pain is due to some immediate injury, you can take following steps to relieve yourself from pain and stress.
Warm And Cold Compress
Application of warm and cold compress on the affected joint alternatively can minimize swelling and pain. Also try to elevate the affected joint to allow proper blood flow and reduce stress on the joint.
Take enough rest and allow the joint to heal. Daily stretching will help to loosen the muscles and strengthen the joint and reduce stiffness in the joint.
For reducing pain and inflammation of the joint, over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and aspirin can be used. Milder pain without swelling can be treated with acetaminophen. Doctors often prescribe muscle relaxants along with NSAIDs combined with antidepressants to minimize pain and muscle spasm.
Topical application of capsaicin helps to release a chemical known as endorphin which blocks the pain and provides relief. These creams can have a little burning and stinging effect.
Doctors can inject steroid medication to people who do not find relief from joint pain using oral or topical medications. These steroid injections are directly injected on the patient’s joints after every three-four months.
Usually, steroid injections are used for patients with arthritis and in drastic cases where patient has lost the ability to move his/her joint.
Fluid removal is administered on patient with fluid buildup and inflammation (osteoarthritis). Removing excess fluid around the joints provides relief to the patient.
For strengthening the muscles around your joints, you can take the help of a physical therapist. Physical therapists use techniques like exercise, hot and cold therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasound etc. Physical therapy also helps to stabilize the joints and improve movements.
For relieving pressure from the joint, especially for those who are overweight, exercise is necessary. But exercise should be of low-impact for those with joint pain; otherwise it can further irritate the joints. Swimming is one of the best exercises for this purpose.
Some researches have shown that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are helpful for improving joint mobility because they contain the component that cushions the bones of the joint. These supplements are available in drug stores in capsule, tablet or liquid form and do not have any side effects.
Soaking the effected joint in hot water mixed with Epsom salt can also reduce pain and bring relief from inflamed joint. Massaging the inflamed joint with hot massage oil can relax the muscle and bring relief.
Surgery is the ultimate option that a physician recommends when the condition is irreversible.