While a complete cure for the pain may not always be attainable, effective management can significantly alleviate the patient’s discomfort. Sometimes, the pain might recede with the use of over-the-counter medications or through simple daily exercises.
On other occasions, the pain might indicate underlying issues that necessitate prescription medication or even surgical intervention, as provided by establishments like “Hamilton Interventional Pain Management Associates“. Armed with this understanding, let’s delve into the most commonly preferred medical approaches for addressing joint pain.
- Acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) might help alleviate the pain. These medications are available over the counter, though stronger doses may require a doctor’s prescription. If you have a history of stomach ulcers, kidney disease, or liver disease, consult your physician to determine if these options are suitable for you.
- Topical treatments, like ointments or gels applied to the skin over the affected joint area, could also provide pain relief. Some of these may be accessible over the counter, while others may require a prescription from a doctor.
- Dietary supplements, such as glucosamine, might offer pain relief. However, it’s important to consult the doctor before taking any over-the-counter supplements. In cases where necessary, weight loss might be suggested to reduce strain on the joints.
In cases where the aforementioned medications or therapies do not provide sufficient pain relief, the doctor might consider prescribing:
- Supportive aids like braces, canes, or orthotic devices for shoes can offer joint support and facilitate smoother movement. The appropriate choice can be determined by the doctor, physical or occupational therapist.
- Physical or occupational therapy, combined with a well-rounded fitness regimen, could gradually alleviate pain and enhance flexibility.
- Antidepressants might be recommended to enhance sleep quality for patients grappling with joint pain.
- Steroids, frequently administered via joint injections, can offer short-term relief from pain and inflammation.
- Surgery could be considered if the joint pain persists over time and does not respond to medications, physical therapy, and exercise. It’s important to have a comprehensive discussion with the doctor to determine the appropriateness of surgery.
The most common surgical options available include:
Arthroscopy: This procedure involves the surgeon making a few small incisions in the skin above the joint and using an arthroscope—a flexible, fiberoptic instrument—to access the joint. This allows for cartilage repair or removal of bone fragments within or around the joint.
Joint replacement: This procedure is commonly performed for hip, knee, and shoulder joints. During joint replacement, the surgeon removes damaged bone portions and inserts an artificial joint made from metal or plastic. This surgical approach has shown excellent results, often leading to enduring pain relief for the majority of patients after the procedure.