Need to Know: Joint Discomfort
We want you to know that you should never ever ignore your joint discomfort. The aches in your knees, back, feet, ankles, wrists, elbows, and fingers can all be pointing to an underlying condition that can be treated. Joint discomfort is often a symptom of an illness or disease, so please do seek medical attention for any joint discomfort. Just as your health needs are unique, your joint care and mobility issues are also unique. You many have an autoimmune disease or other condition that makes joint discomfort and mobility issues part of your day-to-day. Regardless, we want you to know that you’re not alone in living with and managing this discomfort. You do not need to suffer in silence and we urge you to speak up when your joints are giving you trouble or the discomfort has worsened. In this article, we take a deep dive into joint discomfort, looking at some of reasons for it and different treatment options and recommendations. Please do seek medical attention for any joint discomfort you have – take our word for it – your health is too important to not give it the attention it deserves. Don’t Ignore Those Aches You likely know someone who had a minor ache that they decided to ignore. Funny thing about these minor aches, this is our body telling us to slow-down and figure out what is going on. But so many of us, ignore these minor joint aches, believing “it’s nothing” and then a few months later when the ache has become more than just “a little ache” we drag ourselves to a healthcare practitioner. Don’t do this. Listen to your body – give it the respect it deserves. If you really believe the sudden ache in your knee or wrist is from something you did, for example, spending the day digging in the garden or playing in a tennis tournament – then rushing off to your doctor may not be immediately necessary. Rest, ice, and pay attention to the source of discomfort – if after a few days you’re still sore – then get some medical attention. Okay, so now you know – don’t ignore aches, joint discomfort, mobility issues and other physical symptoms. This is your body’s warning system, letting you know that something is going on. What Are Common Reasons for Joint Discomfort? Joint discomfort can be caused by a range of illnesses and conditions, emphasizing the need to stay in-tune with the signals your body is giving you. Common conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, lupus, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, joint strains, sprains, and other trauma to your joints. Joint discomfort is incredibly common with most people dealing with knee, shoulder, and hip discomfort. The tricky aspect to this joint discomfort is the wide range of symptoms – some joint discomfort is associated with swelling, redness, and soreness to the touch while other joint discomfort may have none of these symptoms. One thing is definite, ongoing chronic joint discomfort can greatly impact your quality of life.
- Arthritis: there are more than 100 types of arthritis. It impacts people of all ages, gender, and activity levels. The common symptoms include swelling, discomfort, stiffness, and mobility issues.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: this is an autoimmune disease, causing the immune system to attack otherwise healthy joints. This causes inflammation in the joints, causing swelling and discomfort, making it hard for the joints to move easily.
- Osteoarthritis: this is the most common chronic joint condition. When the cartilage breaks down between the joints, this causes discomfort, swelling, and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is most common in people 65 years and older.
- Lupus: this is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks various body parts including the joints, kidneys and other organs, skin, blood, and the brain. Lupus can range from mild to severe and is associated with joint discomfort, fatigue, hair loss, skin rash, kidney problems, and light sensitivity.
- Fibromyalgia: this chronic condition is associated with joint discomfort, chronic overall body discomfort, fatigue, memory issues, and frequent mood changes. Fibromyalgia affects over 3.7 million Americans, most who are women between the ages of 40 and 75.
- Gout: this is a type of inflammatory arthritis that develops in people who have high levels of uric acid in their blood. This uric acid can create the formation of needle-like crystals in joints, causing sudden swelling, redness, heat, and discomfort. Often this condition occurs in the big toe joint.
- Medications: the medication prescribe by your healthcare practitioner depends on the severity and source of your joint discomfort. These medications can range from over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs to stronger and targeted medications designed to treat specific types of arthritis and other conditions.
- Topical agents: topical agents that include capsaicin, can relieve some joint discomfort and is typically applied in a cream or in a wrap that can applied to knees, the upper back, or elbows.
- Injections: for severe joint discomfort or that which is associated with an autoimmune disease, strong medications are delivered with injections or with intravenous therapy.
- Exercise: this might sound counter-intuitive, but by building muscle and supportive strength, the stress on sore and inflamed joints can be lessened. Many arthritis patients for example, benefit from swimming, water exercise, cycling, and yoga.
- Physical therapy: working with a physical therapist with ultrasound, hot and cold therapy, massage, electrical nerve stimulation and other specialized treatments can help alleviate and treat joint discomfort.
- Alternative natural treatments: choose a natural supplements that can support cartilage and joint function health. Look for options that are all-natural and are backed by proven research studies.
- Rest and recovery: giving your joints a chance to rest and recover from strains and sprains can help ease associated joint discomfort.