Joint pain is an epidemic afflicting 23 percent of American adults. That means 15 million people are suffering from this condition each year. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four adults with arthritis feel severe joint pain with nearly half of those people experiencing persistent pain.
Letting joint pain go unchecked, whether or not triggered by arthritis, can reduce the quality of life and even cause anxiety and depression. The good news is there are things you can do to manage your pain without adverse side effects so you can get on with enjoying your life.
Arthritis is one of the most common causes of joint pain.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is common in adults over the age of 40 and most commonly affects the knees, hips, hands, and wrists. OA causes a breakdown of the cartilage that absorbs shock in your joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes the immune system to attack the membrane that lines and protects the joints, leading to pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup.
But arthritis isn't the only cause of joint pain. Certain illnesses like hepatitis, lupus, mumps, cancer, and influenza, can also cause pain. Tendinitis is a condition marked by inflammation of the tendon, which can cause pain and swelling in the joints. Bursitis, or inflammation of the pads that surround and cushion joints, is another common condition that causes joint pain.
Other causes of joint pain include injury, overuse, infection of the joint or bone, and conditions like osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.
While joint pain isn't typically a medical emergency, you should see your doctor if it's severe or if you aren’t sure what’s causing it. If the joint is warm, tender, swollen, or red, or if joint pain persists for several days without improvement, visit your doctor. Likewise, if you have joint pain accompanied by a fever, but you don't have the flu, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will ask questions to help them narrow down the cause of the joint pain. In some cases, an x-ray will be ordered to determine whether damage to the joint is present. If common causes like arthritis and bursitis are ruled out, a blood test can help the doctor determine whether the joint pain is due to an autoimmune disorder or other less-common condition.
In cases where the joint pain is acute, meaning short-lived, certain medications can help treat the underlying cause and reduce the pain in the joints. But in cases of arthritis and some other conditions, joint pain is chronic, meaning there are no treatments available to cure it. The safest way to manage chronic joint pain is through lifestyle changes rather than pharmaceutical medication, which can have short- term and long-term side effects.
Lifestyle changes can work wonders depending on the severity of the joint pain and the mindset of the person suffering from it. Some of the most widely used non-medication treatments for managing joint pain include:
•Physical exercise, which has been shown to reduce arthritis pain as effectively as over-the-counter medications.
•Weight loss, which reduces the pressure on the joints.
•Pain workshops, which teach a variety of strategies for coping with and reducing pain.
•Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps you learn how to avoid pain triggers, including stress, negative emotions, and certain behaviors.
•Diet changes that eliminate foods that cause inflammation.
Several natural remedies for joint pain have been shown to be as effective as over the counter painkillers like ibuprofen. Those remedies include ginger and turmeric, both of which are shown through considerable research to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints.
Supplements like Thrive Naturals Joint Complex promotes healthy joints while eliciting an anti-inflammatory response that reduces pain. Joint Complex contains research-based ingredients like glucosamine sulfate, turmeric, chondroitin sulfate, and bromelain shown to be powerful reducers of joint pain issues.
If you have joint pain, don't give up hope for relief. With a few lifestyle changes including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and targeted supplementation, you can enjoy less joint pain so you can do more of what you love to do.
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