According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 15 million women and men in the U.S. experience severe joint pain because of arthritis. Arthritis is a group of about 100 inflammatory joint conditions that affects about 50 million adults and 300,000 children. Although arthritis is the most common cause of joint pain, it’s not the only one.
At Vulcan Pain Management in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, Victor E. Mendoza, MD, helps you manage joint pain with cutting-edge treatments that work with every budget. But the best type of joint pain, of course, is the kind you never get. Here are the main causes of joint pain and how you can avoid them:
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs because of overuse, aging, and stress on your joints. When you engage in high-impact sports, are overweight, or grow older, the cushiony cartilage that protects your joint bones and prevents them from rubbing against each other wears away. Without cartilage, the bones grind together, causing pain and inflammation.
You can minimize your risk for osteoarthritis by:
- Losing weight
- Warming up and cooling down after sports
- Avoiding repetitive motions
- Eating anti-inflammatory foods and spices
- Eating whole foods, fresh diet
- Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
- Exercising regularly
- Wearing protective sports gear
Exercise lubricates your joints so they stay healthy. Walking, biking, and swimming are great ways of moving without stressing your joints. Resistance exercises, such as weight lifting, helps build strong muscles so they can support your joints.
Treating joint pain as soon as you feel it helps stop inflammation from spreading. Inflammation can degrade cartilage, leading to more pain. If you have joint pain due to arthritis or injury, come to Vulcan Pain Management for an evaluation.
The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions muscles, tendons, and bones. Pressure on the bursa can cause a type of painful inflammation called bursitis.
You’re more likely to get bursitis if you ramp up activities suddenly. For instance, if you don’t exercise during the week and then overdo it on the weekends (aka weekend warrior), or overtrain for an upcoming sporting event, you may develop bursitis.
Being overweight also increases your risk for bursitis. You can guard against bursitis by adopting some of the same lifestyle changes you need to stave off osteoarthritis. Avoid high-impact activities, but exercise regularly, eat a fresh-foods diet, and maintain a healthy weight.
Fractures, sprains, and strains
If you were injured in a car accident, had a fall, or got hurt playing sports, your joint pain could be the result of a hairline bone fracture, or a torn tendon, ligament, or muscle. If you’ve had a collision or fall — even if you don’t feel any pain — you should still be evaluated to make sure your joints and supporting tissues are healthy. Sometimes the adrenalin that’s released during the trauma of an accident prevents you from feeling pain.
Treating joint pain
Without knowing what’s causing your joint pain, you could be ignoring a serious injury or an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis. By treating your joint pain, you minimize pain and disability and help prevent further degradation of cartilage and other important tissues.
At Vulcan Pain Management, we take the time to determine the cause of your joint pain and then custom design a treatment plan. To subdue pain and promote healing, Dr. Mendoza may recommend:
- Physical therapy to strengthen muscles that support joints
- Corticosteroids to control inflammation
- Nerve blocks to eliminate pain
- Pain medications to increase comfort
- Laser therapy to increase range of motion
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to regenerate cartilage, tendons, and bones
For a joint pain consultation and to learn how to improve the health of your joints, contact us today. You can also set up your own appointment online.