If you deal with joint pain, you are certainly not alone. In one national survey, one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. (Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body’s joints, including shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees.)
While joint pain is extremely common, it presents in seemingly endless variations. It can range from mildly irritating to debilitating. It can last a short time and then go away (acute), or it can last for several weeks or months (chronic).
Whether mild or severe, chronic or acute, joint pain can affect your quality of life.
So, what causes joint pain? How can you relieve it? And can it be prevented?
Joint Pain: Causes
Joint pain can be caused by injury or disease of the joint or surrounding tissues. A typical joint is composed of bones separated by a cushion of cartilage. Ligaments then attach bone to bone around the joint. Bursae (fluid-filled sacs) provide a gliding surface for the adjacent tendons which attach the muscle around the joint to the bone. So, joint pain can arise from irritation or inflammation in any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint.
One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis - either osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Other causes include:
- certain infectious diseases like mumps, the flu, and hepatitis
- other diseases and conditions such as bone infections, cancer, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, sarcoidosis, and rickets
- injury, tendinitis, and general overuse of the joint.
A medical professional can try to assess the cause of your specific joint pain based on your overall symptoms, activities, and medical history.
Joint Pain: Remedies and Prevention
The goal of treating joint pain is to reduce pain and inflammation and to preserve joint function. There are various methods of treating joint pain including medications, topical agents, natural remedies, or a combination of different treatments. The best treatment option depends on the cause of the joint pain.
Common medical joint pain remedies include:
- Topical pain relievers
- Over the counter and prescription anti-inflammatory drugs
There are also a number of natural methods for preventing and managing joint pain that can be used on their own or in combination:
- Physical therapy (physical therapists specialize in human movement and can offer much expertise regarding the care of joints)
- Maintain range of motion (stretch warm muscles)
- Maintain a healthy body weight (reduce stress on joints)
- Exercise (keep your body and joints active and moving)
- Rest or go low-impact (not too active)
- Ice therapy (ice sore joints to reduce inflammation)
- Maintain a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet (eat more fish and other sources of essential fatty acids and Omega-3s)
- Eat for stronger bones (get plenty of Vitamin D and Calcium from dairy and green, leafy vegetables)
- Invest in high quality joint supplements (not all supplements are created equal; pay attention to what your supplements include and how they are processed to be sure they can actually be absorbed and used by your body, and to ensure they do not contain any unnecessary additives).
More than anything, know that you are not alone in your pain. Not only are there millions of others dealing with pain similar to yours, there are countless doctors, therapists, and researchers who want to help.If you’d like to learn more about how New Zealand’s Best is helping people with joint pain just like you, click here and see our selection of superior-quality, all-natural joint health products.
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