Joint pain can be debilitating, and it's not always easy to pinpoint its cause. Joint pain can be caused by degenerative diseases, such as arthritis. It can also be caused by overuse or acute injury. Ignoring joint pain is always a bad choice since it can grow worse when left untreated. Fortunately, a doctor can prescribe effective joint pain treatment to help you heal. Here are four ways a doctor can help you manage your joint pain.
1. Home Care
Home care is often the first line of treatment for joint pain. Inflammation is a body's natural defense, but it can become a vicious cycle. Excess inflammation in your joints can impinge your nerves, causing pain and more inflammation. Your doctor will recommend that you rest your joints as much as possible, avoiding the activities that cause you pain. They will also suggest submerging your swollen joints in hot water or applying ice packs to reduce discomfort and swelling. These self-care measures can help you feel better.
2. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medication
NSAIDs are another common treatment for joint pain. Some NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are available over the counter. However, long-term use of these medications can have a detrimental effect on your stomach and kidney health. Your doctor can prescribe alternative NSAIDs, which can relieve joint inflammation and pain. For example, meloxicam is an NSAID that works in a targeted fashion to relieve joint pain without interfering with your digestive system. Your doctor will listen to your symptoms and prescribe medication that is most likely to help with few side effects.
3. Corticosteroid Injections
People who experience intense joint pain may not find relief through rest and NSAIDs alone. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid injections. These injections are placed directly in your affected joint. The steroidal medication will relieve your pain and swelling. The effect of these injections can take a few days to become noticeable. However, corticosteroid injections can provide relief for several months.
4. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can help you recover from joint pain. During physical therapy, a physical therapist will show you stretches that can help you alleviate and prevent joint pain caused by tight muscles and tendons. They will also prescribe exercises that can prevent additional pain in the future. Although more exercise may sound like the last thing you want when you're experiencing pain, your physical therapist will monitor your condition and ensure you don't hurt yourself during your therapy sessions.
Contact a clinic like the Arthritis Clinic of Central Utah to learn more.