Your favorite activities are no longer enjoyable because it hurts to do them. Getting things done around the house is difficult, if not impossible. One of my patients told me joint pain essentially made him a prisoner in an easy chair, because it hurt too much to do anything.
In 2006, 30 percent of people in the United States reported experiencing some type of joint pain within the previous month, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Fortunately, modern medicine means there are a wide range of options for people suffering from joint pain. But before you can solve the problem, you have to know what’s causing it.
One of the top causes of joint pain is injury, whether from overexertion, an accidental fall or strain, or some other factor. In addition to pain, joint injuries are typically accompanied by swelling and stiffness. Sometimes it’s a problem you can handle on your own. An easy way to remember how to handle injury pain is “RICE.”
- Rest – Take a load off and let that injury heal;
- Ice – Cold compresses or ice packs help bring down swelling (always wrap your bag of crushed ice or cold pack in a towel to prevent frostbite);
- Compression – Elastic bandages or ACE wraps can help control swelling;
- Elevation – Keeping the injured area raised higher than your heart also helps with swelling.
These measures generally help within a few days, but if they don’t, then it’s time to seek medical attention.
Another way to know if you need medical attention is what we call “mechanical instability.” An example of instability is if your knee was injured and it buckled or gave out when you tried to put weight on it. Instability usually means a more serious injury, and that’s a sign to see a doctor.
[tw-divider]Wear and tear[/tw-divider]
Another common cause of joint pain is arthritis. According to 2013 data from the CDC, one of every five adults in the United States reported being diagnosed with arthritis by their doctor. That same report found that half of adults aged 65 or older reported being diagnosed with arthritis.
Arthritis happens when the natural padding and cushioning cartilage in our joints deteriorates as we age. The pain gets worse over time, with increasing stiffness and mobility problems as the joint wears out.
One of the first steps that I recommend for my patients with arthritis is to take over-the-counter medications and supplements. One supplement in particular that I recommend is glucosamine. Clinical trials have demonstrated that about 60 percent of patients are helped by this. Compressive braces and hot packs can also treat the symptoms and pain associated with arthritis, but they ultimately do not remedy the underlying problem.
We also have the option of treating arthritis pain in joints with anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids, or by using a therapy called “viscosupplementation.” This treatment involves injecting Hyaluronan into the joint spaces. Hyaluronan is a natural component of the cartilage in your joints and injecting it there allows it to act as a natural lubricant.
Lastly, when other measures are unsuccessful or unfavorable for someone with a deteriorated joint, we can replace it with an artificial joint. Replacement of knees, shoulders and hips is a common surgery, and at Owensboro Health Orthopedics, we make use of the best non-invasive procedures. These procedures include the reverse shoulder replacement method and the direct anterior hip replacement method.
We utilize these methods because they’ve been shown to be less-invasive procedures. A less-invasive surgery means less blood loss and less tissue disturbance, and that translates into an easier, shorter hospital stay and recovery time. However, because any surgery is a major procedure, we don’t ever undertake it lightly, and it’s always used as a last resort.
[tw-divider]sleep on it[/tw-divider]
In addition to the major causes of joint pain listed above, there are other signs and symptoms that everyone should know about. One of these symptoms is persistent, worsening pain over time, especially pain that wakes you up at night. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s a joint pain that interferes with your sleeping, get it checked out.
Pain under any circumstance is not a good thing, but nighttime pain is something we consider to be a special warning sign because it’s typically a more pathologic pain. That means that it’s a more intense, serious pain associated with a disease process or other problem, such as infections, tumor growth or other rare conditions that require attention.
[tw-divider]you can call on us[/tw-divider]
If you have questions or concerns about joint pain, talk to your doctor. They can refer you to our office or you can simply call us up and make an appointment without a referral. You can reach us at 270-417-7940, and we’re located on the fifth floor of the Pleasant Valley Center at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.
Our number one focus is taking care of our patients, restoring their mobility and getting them back to living their lives. We want to make sure that your pain is a temporary thing and that we get you back to living your life as quickly as possible.
Make Summer Fitness Fun
For most people, there is typically one main motivator for wanting to get in shape for the warmer weather months – they want to fit into the smaller, more revealing clothing of the season.
Whether it’s a new swimsuit they’d like to purchase in a smaller size or they just want last year’s shorts to fit more comfortably, getting a beach-ready body can often seem unattainable. But summer boasts an abundance of outdoor activities that take away the “chore” of getting in shape. Focus on the fun of the season, and before you know it, you will be fitting into your favorite summer wardrobe staples.
“Now that the weather is warmer, people are outside training more,” said KT Tape Founder Jim Jenson. “It is important to have the proper training gear and equipment to avoid injury.”
[tw-divider]Go take a hike[/tw-divider]
Nothing allows you to take in the peace and tranquility of nature more than a long hike. This summer, incorporate many long hikes into your weekly routine and build up your endurance with this beneficial cardio exercise. Check with your county and state parks for trails and expand on your hiking skills, advancing in difficulty levels and length as the season progresses.
What it works: Hiking engages the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and gluts. This activity also strengthens your abdominal core, especially while carrying a heavy pack.
[tw-divider]Break a sweat, courtside[/tw-divider]
All you need to increase your heart rate is a basketball and an empty court at the local park or school playground. Practice shooting, normal dribbling, dribbling while doing sit-ups and dribbling behind the back of your legs.
What it works: Basketball can be a full-body workout, but it mainly targets your triceps, shoulders, biceps and pectoral muscles.
[tw-divider]Go for a swim[/tw-divider]
While the summer days often bring about occasions to relax by the pool, there’s no reason not to jump right in. Take refuge from the sun’s heat and burn calories at the same time by swimming. This exercise is a top choice for those with physical limitations or who find simple cardio activities – such as walking, hiking or jogging – difficult or painful.
What it works: Swimming works all major muscles groups, especially the shoulders, abdominals, legs, hips and back.
When the weather warms up and spending hours at the gym sounds less appealing, give a few of these fun activities a try. For more fitness tips, visit www.elivingtoday.com.
[tw-divider]Take care of your muscles[/tw-divider]
By engaging in a workout routine, you’ve already proven that you care for your body. But do you have a care plan for the muscles that take you to your next level of fitness? Here are some ways to keep those hard working muscles in top shape so you can give it your all at every workout.
[tw-divider]Warm up and cool down[/tw-divider]
Regardless of the sport or activity you pursue, it’s always best to ease into it slowly and build your endurance as you go. Warming up can include light jogging, walking or performing the activity at a very slow pace. At the end of your routine, be sure to lightly stretch out each major muscle group you worked.
[tw-divider]Listen to your body[/tw-divider]
If you should experience any sharp or sudden pains while exercising, don’t ignore the warning signs. Working out through the pain may make a small injury much worse. As a general rule, if it feels wrong, stop the workout.
[tw-divider]Engage in various activities[/tw-divider]
A body involved in different exercises will call on different muscle groups. This type of cross training prevents overly stressing one area of muscle.
[tw-divider]Allow the body to rest[/tw-divider]
In order to achieve the maximum benefit of your workout, your muscles need proper nourishment. This means sleep is extremely important, but it also means resting for a few days in between workouts. A proper rest period will give muscles time to heal.
[tw-divider]Today’s trends in fitness[/tw-divider]
For those who long for a little variety in their fitness routine, here are some new trends taking shape – for indoors and outdoors – that may be just what you need to take your fitness to the next level.
[tw-divider]Body weight training[/tw-divider]
This new trend in fitness works by using your own body weight as resistance, which can help you shape muscles, tone, increase flexibility and ultimately, burn fat.
This routine is great for those who are short on time, requiring extreme exertion in short intervals followed by a shorter recovery time.