Muscle and joint pain are two common issues that affect millions of individuals in the United States alone. In fact, the majority of the population will experience at least one of these issues in their lifetime.
Muscle and joint pain is often classified as a minor issue to be treated over the counter. That’s perhaps especially true if it is an occasional occurrence or is caused by a specific incident.
That doesn’t mean that you should ignore the pain or that it’s not serious. Let’s take a look at the causes and treatments of joint and muscle pain.
What is Muscle Pain?
Most people have experienced muscle pain at some point. As many as one third of adults in the United States have experienced muscle pain within the last 30 days. It’s often described as a soreness in one’s muscles that occurs from overuse or injury.
Changes to your exercise routine, for example, might stretch parts of your muscles that aren’t used to moving much. When this happens, you will get small injuries or tears in their connective tissue and fibers. This pain tends to peak around 48 hours after the exertion or injury occurs, and then begins to slowly get better.
What is Joint Pain?
Joints facilitate connections between different bones and give help and support while you move. Pain or injury to our joints, then, can significantly restrict your movement and lower your quality of life.
Joint pain can be caused by a number of issues, including some of the following:
1. Osteoarthritis: a condition caused by injury, obesity, and aging joints.
2. Overuse or injury to ligaments or meniscus, strains, or sprains.
3. Bursitis: irritation or inflammation of the bursa, which is used by muscles, bones, and tendons to decrease irritation, rubbing, and friction.
4. Gout: a form of arthritis that can cause stiffness, burning pain, and joint swelling.
5. Rheumatoid arthritis: a condition caused by your immune system attacking joint linings.
Knee pain is perhaps the most common result of joint issues, but shoulder, hip, and back pains follow closely. Joint pain can be mildly annoying to completely debilitating, and might be acute in nature – that is, it only lasts for a few weeks – or chronic, meaning it lasts for months.
How Do You Treat Joint and Muscle Pain?
With both muscle and joint pain, the use of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are often used and recommended for the short term. You do not want to use these for too long, however, as they can cause liver damage when used for long amounts of time. Some examples of NSAIDs include:
2. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
3. Naproxen (Aleve)
If you have kidney disease, ulcers, or liver disease, however, you should be very cautious when it comes to using any kind of NSAID.
Beyond OTC medications, there are a few things you can do at home to help joint and muscle pain.
When you experience muscle pain, it is a good idea to apply ice to the area affected right away. This will help cut down on inflammation. You can later add heat to the area to help increase blood flow and promote healing. Do not overdo it, but exercise is also a great way to help muscle pain heal.
When it comes to joint pain, the treatments are a bit less simple. You can try to apply heat or cold to the area, for example, in an attempt to relieve the pain. You can also talk to your doctor about some form of physical therapy or medication to help your joints recover. Sometimes, rest might also be the best option.
If your joint pain does not respond to the treatments above, then it might be useful to look into steroid injections. These are applied directly to the joint in question every three to four months. Sometimes, injecting hyaluronan is on option, as is removing fluid from the area.
I Have Joint and/or Muscle Pain, and Need Help
If you are suffering muscle or joint pain, then perhaps it is time to visit a doctor. Contact Dr. Carl Spivak, an expert physician who runs Executive Spine Surgery.
Contact us today and see how we can help you feel better.