Dr. Linette Williamson - Joint Pain in Carlsbad
What to Know About Joint Pain
Joints are the parts of your body where your bones meet. Joints allow the bones of your skeleton to move. Joints include:
Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body's joints. Joint pain is a typical complaint. It does not usually require a hospital visit. In some cases, joint pain is the product of an illness or injury. Arthritis is also a frequent cause of joint pain. However, it can also result from other conditions or factors.
What triggers joint pain?
Among the most common sources of joint pain is arthritis. The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
According to the American College of Rheumatology, OA is most common in adults over age 40. It progresses gradually and has a tendency to affect commonly used joints like the:
Joint pain caused by OA results from a breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints.
The second form of arthritis is RA. According to the Arthritis Foundation, RA affects approximately 1.5 million Americans. It more commonly affects women than men.
It can deform and debilitate the joints gradually. RA results in pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the joints as the body's immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joints.
Joint pain can be caused by:
- bursitis, or inflammation of the cushioning pads around joints
- specific infectious diseases, such as mumps, influenza, and hepatitis
- chondromalacia of the patella, or a breakdown of the cartilage in the kneecap
- an injury
- tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendon
- an infection of the bone or joint
- overuse of a joint
What are the symptoms of joint pain?
In some cases, your joint pain will call for you to see a doctor. You should make an appointment if you don't know the cause of your joint pain and are experiencing other unexplained symptoms.
You should also see a physician if:
- the area around the joint is swollen, red, tender, or warm to the touch
- the pain persists for three days or more
- you have a fever but no other symptoms of the flu
Visit the emergency room if any of the following occurs:
- You've experienced a severe injury.
- The joint appears deformed.
- Swelling of the joint happens all of a sudden.
- The joint is completely immobile.
- You have severe joint pain.
How is joint pain diagnosed?
Your physician will most likely conduct a physical examination. They'll also ask you a series of questions regarding your joint pain. This may help to narrow the possible causes.
A joint X-ray might be necessary to determine arthritis-related joint damage.
If your physician thinks there's another cause, they may request a blood test to screen for certain autoimmune disorders. They might also request a sedimentation rate test to determine the level of inflammation in the body or a complete blood count.
How is joint pain treated?
Doctors consider both OA and RA to be chronic disorders. There's no treatment presently available that will totally eliminate the joint pain related to arthritis or keep it from returning. However, there are steps to cope with the pain:
- It may help to apply topical pain relievers or take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
- Stay physically active and follow a fitness program focusing on moderate exercise.
- Stretch before exercising to keep a good range of motion in your joints.
- Keep your body weight within a healthy range. This will lessen strain on the joints.
- If your pain isn't caused by arthritis, you can try taking a nonprescription, anti-inflammatory medication, getting a massage, taking a warm bath, stretching often, and getting sufficient rest.
Joint Pain in Carlsbad
Your treatment options will depend on the source of the pain. In some cases, your physician will need to draw out accumulated fluid in the joint area to test for infection or gout or other reasons for the joint pain. They may even suggest surgery to replace the joint.
Other nonsurgical treatment techniques might consist of lifestyle changes or medications that can possibly make your RA enter remission. In the case of RA, your physician will first address inflammation. Once the RA enters remission, your medical treatment can focus on maintaining a tight rein on your condition so that you avoid flare-ups.
What is the outlook for people with joint pain?
Joint pain is usually a result of the damage that happens through regular wear and tear. However, it can also be a sign of an infection or possibly debilitating RA.
You need to see your doctor if you have any unexplained joint pain, particularly if it doesn't go away on its own after a few days. Early detection and diagnosis can allow for effective treatment of the underlying cause of your discomfort.
Linette Williamson, MD is an Integrative Medical Doctor, who specializes in helping her patients and Joint Pain in Carlsbad
Identify lifestyle factors that affect their everyday medical issues. Dr. Williamson uses cutting-edge testing to find imbalances that are related to your health problems. She will spend time with you to find out what specific issues you have and help you develop a specific plan that is unique to you.
Call the clinic and schedule your appointment now. Call us today at (760) 875-2627.