Thursday, May 4, 2017

What to do when joint pain becomes chronic

There are many different causes of joint pain—arthritis, injury, disease (such as gout), and more. It's no wonder that joint pain is often a complaint for adults of all ages. Common painful joints tend to be large ones like the knee, hip, or shoulder, but joint pain can affect any of the joints in your body.

As the body ages, painful joints become more common. When joint pain lasts for several weeks or months, it is classified as chronic joint pain and can interfere with your quality of life. There are treatments and therapies available to manage chronic joint pain and get you back to your normal lifestyle.

Man experiencing joint pain in his shoulder

Short-term solutions for joint pain

If you are experiencing chronic joint pain, make an appointment with your doctor to investigate the possible causes. Your doctor's first treatment is likely to be focused on reducing inflammation and relieving pain. There are a number of options for this, from over-the-counter medications and topical creams to steroid injections. If you don't find enough relief with those treatments, your doctor is likely to recommend physical therapy.

Physical therapy for joint pain

Physical therapy focuses on your body's movement. Goals of physical therapy to treat joint pain include improving mobility, increasing strength to support the joints, and maintaining fitness for your desired lifestyle.

What can you expect from your physical therapy visit?
  • A personalized plan of exercises to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, and overall function
  • Lessons on proper body mechanics to prevent further injury
  • Instructions on using assistive devices such as walkers or canes, if needed
  • Use of therapy treatments such as ultrasound, hot/cold compresses, or electronic stimulation
  • A plan to teach you how to continue your therapy at home

Possible causes of joint pain

There are many potential causes of joint pain. Injury or disease affecting the ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bones near or within the joint can lead to a painful joint. Joint pain is also a frequent result of arthritis.

Joint pain has many causes, and sometimes, short-term solutions don't relieve pain for everyone. If you've tried physical therapy and other treatments with no relief, you may want to consider functional medicine.

A functional medicine solution

Traditional medicine is geared towards treating acute pain. Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of pain. It's a patient-centered approach that treats the whole person, not just a set of symptoms.

The Logansport Memorial Hospital pain management and orthopedics teams are here to help you find a solution that works for you. We take a different approach to helping you manage your pain and get back to doing the things you love.

Call 574.722.2663 to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons to discuss your total joint replacement options. 

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