Options for Joint Pain

What Are Your Options When Suffering from Joint Pain?

Over the years, the body’s joints are subjected to a lot of stress and strain so we should not be too surprised if, on occasions, we may experience a bit of discomfort in a knee, a hip or, a shoulder. However, while a little rest and perhaps a nice warm bath or a cold compress might be enough to relieve the discomfort in many cases, this is not always the solution. In fact, joint pain can often be a sign of some underlying condition that may need closer attention. 

Apart from the sprains due to the overstretching or tearing of ligaments and the similar damage to muscles or tendons that results in a strain, there are numerous possible explanations for the pain, swelling, and frequently-reduced mobility that is typical of these problems. While some of these conditions may require the attention of a physician or surgeon, many have been found to respond favourably to the type of hands-on treatments that are favoured by a physiotherapist.

As an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, a physiotherapist will first evaluate the affected joint to determine the cause of the pain. Only then will he or she decide on the best course of action to correct the underlying cause, and thus alleviate any swelling and discomfort arising from it. In some cases, manipulation may serve to increase the mobility of a painful knee or shoulder, but for other patients, it might be inappropriate, hence the need for careful evaluation of each individual.

While patients might find the idea somewhat counterintuitive, one of the important requirements when dealing with joint pain arising from arthritis is to keep active. Fears that this may intensify discomfort will often drive them to become unduly sedentary, which can then lead to weakened musculature, creating instability and gradual loss of mobility. The joints are designed to move and the role of the physiotherapist in this situation is to prescribe a programme of exercise that will strengthen the weakened tissue whilst avoiding any activity that might tend to intensify the discomfort. The approach will be to start off with gentle actions and to gradually intensify the activities as the tissues become stronger.

Where the therapist may have access to a hydrotherapy pool, patients will often find that the combination of the soothing warmth and the support provided by the water helps to reduce the strain of exercise, and so, encourages them to participate more actively.  Joint pain can be debilitating, especially when it is persistent. Rather than confining yourself to a life of inactivity or resorting to prescription painkillers, why not contact a physiotherapist instead?

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