Joint pain can affect one joint or several. It can come and go, and it can vary in levels of intensity. Even the weather can cause pain in the joints to fluctuate. Joint pain is pain that is directly in the area of a joint where bones articulate. They can be small as the joints in the fingers and toes or as large as the hip joints. Pain in joints is rarely associated with life-threatening conditions. If there is any doubt, seeing a doctor immediately would be wise. For all of the other reasons of joint pain, there are things to do to get relief before scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
There are over 100 forms of arthritis that causes joint pain, and every one of them benefits from exercise. There are a few forms of arthritis where sufferers should be very careful about the type of exercise, but all forms benefit from movement to maintain range of motion and to manage pain in the affected joints. Most exercises for arthritis sufferers include low-impact exercises that stretch muscles and move the joints where the arthritis is at work. Though it seems counter-intuitive to move painful joints, most who have arthritis notice higher levels of pain when exercise is stopped.
2. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy from a trained masseuse who can provide deep muscle massage has a dramatic effect on painful joints. The results can be transient or long lasting depending on the individual, the source of the pain, and the quality of the massage. Therapeutic massage loosens trigger points, improves circulation to remove pain causing toxins building up in inflamed tissues, and increases range of motion.
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are touted by those who suffer from joint pain as a source of relief. All supplements should be taken under the advice of a physician, and different people experience different levels of relief of joint pain. Most supplements take several weeks of daily use before full benefits of pain relief are enjoyed. Rocky Mountain Oils is a company that carries essential oils for pain, and would be a good resource to consult before going out and getting all kinds of oils and supplements.
4. Heat and Ice
Different joint pains respond to heat and cold as a pain relief mechanism. Some joint pains respond to the application of heat followed by cold or vice versa. Pain caused by overuse typically responds to the application of cold to reduce further inflammation and swelling. Arthritic joints often respond better to heat as a pain-relieving joint therapy. Cold helps minimize inflammation, and heat helps ease tense muscles. The combo therapy may be effective for some forms of arthritis pain.
5. Topical Analgesics
Muscle and joint rubs are popular. There are cooling and heating varieties. Some have a noticeable scent, while others are odorless. Most work on the premise of distraction due to the irritation of nerve endings in the skin. The topical creams, gels, lotions and liquids irritate the nerve endings in the skin where applied. These minor pain signals sent to the brain interrupt or confuse the brain’s interpretation of the deeper pain felt in the muscles or joints. Preparations that contain capsaicin are more expensive than the common methyl salicylate (wintergreen) rubs, but they are more effective at pain relief and do not come with an offending odor.
For common joint pains that have a known cause, these treatments can often save a trip to the doctor and the resulting fees. Doctors, in their hurried attempts to provide relief to patients, often prescribe drugs to relieve pain that can result in unintended side effects. Supplements can also cause side effects but usually have a much better safety profile than even over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Also, a doctor is likely to recommend one or more of these therapies to relieve common joint pain complaints.