Most people at some point during their lives experience joint pain. Reasons for experiencing joint pain include a natural deterioration of joints that occurs during the aging process, overuse and overexertion, injury, and diseases like arthritis. The effect that joint pain has on your lifestyle depends upon the severity of the condition. A common symptom of joint pain is loss of motion. It becomes too painful to move your joint; therefore you naturally decrease its range of motion. Shoulder joint pain, for instance, will cause you to stop reaching overhead, moving your arm to the side or forward and/or cause you to stop sleeping on your painful side. Some common causes of joint pain include:
- Your joint pain may be caused by your autoimmune system attacking itself in a condition known as rheumatoid arthritis. This disease causes stiffness and pain in your affected joints.
- Bursitis is an inflammation of your bursae, the fluid-filled pocket surrounding your joint. This pocket provides padding and cushioning for your joints, making it easy for your tendons and muscles to move properly over your bone.
- Osteoarthritis is quite common in individuals of adult age. This disease involves a degeneration of joint cartilage and possibly bone spur growth. Inflammation surrounding the affected joint is common.
- Other reasons you may have painful joints include tendonitis or inflamed tendons, gout and a number of infectious diseases. Infectious diseases include mumps, influenza, chickenpox and hepatitis.
One of the best ways to prevent and/or decrease your joint pain is by strengthening the surrounding muscles. Strong muscles help absorb shock, thereby putting less stress on your joint. By strengthening your joint’s surrounding muscles, you increase joint support. Muscles keep your joint properly aligned and functioning as well as possible. Physical therapy also can be a great way to learn rehabilitation exercises to help your joints function better:
- Home therapy consists of R.I.C.E. Rest, ice, compression and elevation gives your painful joint a chance to recuperate and rehabilitate itself.
- Water exercises are excellent for painful joints. Water contains a natural buoyancy that takes pressure off your joints. You can move more freely and comfortably while exercising in water.
- Water also contains a natural resistance that helps strengthen muscles throughout your body without all the pain associated with land-based exercises.
- Warm water is especially helpful for lowering joint pain levels. Take a warm bath, sit in a hot tub, sauna or have a warm towel massage.
- Flexibility exercises are another way to lessen joint pain. Keeping your muscles flexible increases your range of motion and can help improve daily functioning.
- Keeping your joints flexible can help diminish your pain level. Flexible joints increase blood circulation throughout the area and also increase your range of motion. The greater your joint’s range of motion, the less stiff your joint will be. Joint stiffness causes pain and increases inflammation levels.
- Do mild and gentle stretches daily to lower your joint pain.
You can also lower your pain level by taking some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Joint pain is a common occurrence as we age. Treat it properly to make your life easier and more fulfilling.