If you suffer from joint pain (especially shoulder joint pain), it’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that there is hope for finding relief.
About one-third of adults report experiencing some form of joint pain. Depending on the cause, joint pain can range anywhere from slightly irritating to debilitating, and it can last anywhere from a few weeks to the rest of your life. Unfortunately, joint pain becomes more and more common the older you get.
According to WebMD, there are many medical conditions that can cause joint pain, including:
- Osteoarthritis – The most common joint disorder, osteoarthritis is usually caused by aging, but also can come from hereditary or developmental issues.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – This is a chronic disease that causes the joints and surrounding tissues to become inflamed, and if left untreated, it can negatively impact other organs.
- Bursitis – This condition causes inflammation of the bursa, or fluid-filled sacs located between a tendon and skin or tendon and bone, and can be acute or chronic.
- Gout – Another form of arthritis that can be either acute or chronic, gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood, which in turn causes joints to inflame.
- Strains, sprains, and other injuries – Any other damage to various parts of your body can result in temporary or permanent joint pain.
So what should you do if you’re one of the many people suffering from joint pain? Luckily, there are several treatment options that can help you find relief. As with any serious medical condition, the first step is to talk to your doctor about the pain, so he or she can make a proper diagnosis and get you started on a treatment plan.
Typical Treatment Options
- Oral medications – For the most mild joint pain with little to no swelling, over-the-counter medications containing acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can usually provide some relief. For more moderate to severe pain with swelling, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) are usually prescribed. If none of these options work, your doctor may suggest you take an opioid medication, and you may benefit from muscle relaxants or anti-depressants as well.
- Topical medications – Some doctors may suggest you use a medicated cream or spray on the area that’s causing joint pain. Some of the most common topical medications are capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers, or other over-the-counter gels (such as Bengay).
- Injections – If you aren’t finding relief from oral or topical medications, your doctor may recommend you inject a steroid medication directly into the site of pain every few months. You also may benefit from injections of a synthetic joint fluid or a procedure that removes fluid from the joint.
- Physical therapy – Undergoing physical therapy can help strengthen muscles and improve your range of motion. Your physical therapist may use such techniques as heat and cold therapy or exercises such as swimming.
- Diet and exercise – Obesity can have a very negative impact on your joints, so placing a larger focus on diet and exercise and making an effort to lose weight can go a long way toward providing joint pain relief.
- Alternative options – You can get some relief at home by resting, protecting the joint with a bandage, and icing the joint to reduce swelling. There also is new research emerging that certain nutritional supplements may help reduce joint pain.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for joint pain relief, regardless of what’s causing the condition. Talk to your doctor, start taking medication or undergoing treatment, and you will be on the path to a pain-free life before you know it!
+Roxy Sonnich focuses on health and fitness (from shoulder joint pain to weight loss).