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Proper Exercise: An effective prescription for joint pain
Regular movement can help relieve ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder pain
Joint pain can rob you of life’s simple pleasures — you may no longer look forward to walking your dog, gardening, or chasing a tennis ball across the court. Even the basics of getting through your day, like getting into the car or carrying laundry to the basement, can become sharp reminders of your limitations.
But the right exercises performed properly can be a long-lasting way to subdue ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder pain. Although it might seem that exercise would aggravate aching joints, this is simply not the case. Exercise can actually help to relieve joint pain in multiple ways:
*It increases the strength and flexibility of the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the joints. When thigh muscles are stronger, for example, they can help support the knee, thus relieving some of the pressure on that joint.
*Exercise relieves stiffness, which itself can be painful. The body is made to move. When not exercised, the tendons, muscles, and ligaments quickly shorten and tense up. But exercise — and stretching afterward — can help reduce stiffness and preserve or extend your range of motion.
*It boosts production of synovial fluid, the lubricant inside the joints. Synovial fluid helps to bring oxygen and nutrients into joints. Thus, exercise helps keep your joints “well-oiled.”
*It increases production of natural compounds in the body that help tamp down pain. In other words, without exercise, you are more sensitive to every twinge. With it, you have a measure of natural pain protection.
*It helps you keep your weight under control, which can help relieve pressure in weight-bearing joints, such as your hips, knees, and ankles.
For moderate-to-severe joint pain with swelling, an over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen sodium (Aleve), can provide relief. A newer generation of NSAIDs known as Cox-2 inhibitors (celcoxib) is also good for pain relief, but all except one of these drugs (Celebrex) have been removed from the market because of an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events. NSAIDs also can have side effects, potentially increasing your risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.
You can relieve short-term joint pain with a few simple techniques at home. One method is known by the acronym, PRICE:
*Protect the joint with a brace or wrap.
*Rest the joint, avoiding any activities that cause you pain.
*Ice the joint for about 15 minutes, several times each day.
*Compress the joint using an elastic wrap.
*Elevate the joint above the level of your heart.
Applying ice to your painful joints can relieve the pain and inflammation. For muscle spasms around joints, try using a heating pad or wrap several times a day. Your doctor may recommend that you tape or splint the joint to minimize movement or reduce pain, but avoid keeping the joint still for too long because it can eventually become stiff and lose function.
Capsaicin — a substance found in chili peppers — may relieve joint pain from arthritis and other conditions. Capsaicin blocks substance P, which helps transmit pain signals, and it triggers the release of chemicals in the body called endorphins, which block pain. Side effects of capsaicin cream include burning or stinging in the area where it is applied. Another topical option is an arthritis cream containing the ingredient, methyl salicylate (Ben Gay).
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For people who don’t find joint pain relief from oral or topical medications, the doctor can inject a steroid medication (which may be combined with a local anesthetic) directly into the joint every three months to four months. Steroid injections are most commonly used in patients with arthritis, joint disease, or tendinitis. The procedure is effective, but in most situations the effect be temporary. It can also have side effects; if steroid injections mask an injury, you could overuse the joint and damage it even further.
Other injection options include:
*Removing fluid from the joint (and is often done in connection with a steroid injection)
*Injections of hyaluronan, a synthetic version of the natural joint fluid. This is used to treat osteoarthritis
Alternative Treatments options:
Some research has indicated that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can help with joint pain and improve function. Both of these substances are components of normal cartilage, which helps cushion the bones and protect joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are available in capsule, tablet, powder, or liquid form. Although these supplements don’t work for everyone, they are safe to try because they don’t have any significant side effects.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.