Joint pain is a collective name for all the pain that is being manifested by the ligaments, bursa, cartilage, tendons and bones that make up our joints. It can be caused an injury or it can also be caused by an inflammation, infection or tumor. Medically, joint pain is also called arthralgia.
The condition is very common and is usually one of the most common complains of adults. The knees are the usual areas of concern followed by the shoulders and the hips. It can range from just a pinch of mild irritation or it can be incapacitating.
Joint pain relief is severely needed even for the mild cases because the condition is often to affect the patient’s quality of life. Joint pain is relief is one of the doctor’s first options for treatment. Every doctor’s goal for joint pain is to first decrease the level of pain intensity and to eliminate the swelling; finally, the most critical of his goals, more so than providing joint pain relief, is to preserve its function.
The most commonly used joint pain relief medication is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). This medicine both manages the pain and the inflammation of mild to moderate conditions. Old generations of NSAID include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. There are newer drug under this classification known as Cox2 inhibitor however all but one brand have been removed from the market because of the health risks associated with these.
In cases of severe pain and inflammation when NSAIDS and Cox2 inhibitors are not enough to alleviate the symptoms, the doctor usually give stronger opiods. However, these joint pain relief medications need doctor supervision because of their side effects.
There are also other joint pain relief drugs, though not commonly prescribed. These include muscle relaxants that work by treating the muscle spasms thus relieving the pain; and anti-depressants and anti-epileptic drugs to interfere with pain signals.
The drugs mentioned above are to be taken orally. In the market, there are other medications that can also decrease the pain levels and discomfort by simple applying them to the affected areas. These joint pain relief options are under the topical type of medication.
One of the most commonly used topical meds has the ingredient called Capsaicin. This compound is found in chili peppers and acts to block the pain signal transmitter. It also releases body chemicals called endorphins which also block pains. Another substance found in topical medications is methyl salicylate.
There are cases when topical and oral medications are not enough to control the symptoms of the joint pains. In these cases, the doctor usually administers steroid injections in combination with local anesthetics. These injections are commonly scheduled once every quarter and are often prescribed for chronic pain patients.
Therapies and Alternative Treatments
Other than alleviating the pain, one can also opt for physical therapy that is done to strengthen the muscles and to improve the range of motion.
There are times when the pains in the joint are caused by obesity. In this case, the patient’s best option is to lose weight.
Other than these options, there are also alternative medicines that you can use such as supplements that improve the joint functions in combination with pain control.