Joint pain can be an unfortunate side effect of getting older. A recent study found that 1 in 4 adults reported feeling joint pain in the past 30 days! There are many reasons joint pain can occur, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, or other injuries. Whatever the cause, here are 3 ways to ease your joint pain today.
The acronym PRICE is a great way to treat your joint pain at home, and it’s the first thing you should try! It stands for:
- PROTECT the joint with a brace or wrap
- REST from any activities that cause pain
- ICE the painful joint for 15-20 minutes about every 4 hours during the day
- COMPRESS the joint (like with a brace or wrap)
- ELEVATE the joint, or raise it above your heart level. If you have pain in your knee, for example, lie down and prop your knee up on a pillow.
You can also try using a heating pad instead of ice, if you aren’t experiencing swelling. Don’t wrap or brace the joint for long periods of time (more than a few days) unless it has been recommended by a doctor. Not moving the joint for too long could cause it to stiffen and feel worse.
2. Physical Therapy
Physical therapists are trained in many ways to improve joint health and function. They might use a variety of techniques like massage, muscle release, or heat or cold therapy. A physical therapist can also help you strengthen the muscles that will prevent your joint pain in the future. In many cases, strengthening the muscles around it will improve alignment and help support your joint in a more functional way.
3. Medications and Medical Treatments
Finally, if nothing else is working, there are lots of medical options! Anti-inflammatory medications can be a great choice. A lot of joint pain can be caused by swelling, so painkillers that reduce inflammation can really help. These medications, like Ibuprofen, are readily available over the counter, but talk to your doctor before taking them. All medications have side effects and can interact with other medications. Your doctor might also prescribe muscle relaxants, steroid injections, or other treatments. Call your doctor if you have persistent joint pain that doesn’t resolve with other treatments.
Make sure to call your doctor right away if you have severe pain or can’t use the joint at all. These tips are provided as suggestions and are not personalized medical advice. Contact a doctor before taking any medications. For most minor aches and pains, these 3 ways to ease joint pain can really help!