Knee and joint pain can make even the simplest daily tasks much more difficult. It’s a strenuous disability that afflicts many. We can experience joint pain anywhere: the feet, shoulders, hips, or knees. Because practically every movement uses the joints, this pain can also affect mental satisfaction with life.
To deal with this problem, we should look at what composes our joints.
Ligaments and Tendons
Our joints are composed mainly of ligaments and tendons which connect our muscles and bones and allow them to stretch for motion. The cartilage between the joints and our bones protect the bones from chaffing against each other.
When either ligaments, tendons, or cartilage begins to wear out, or are damaged from injury and overuse, that’s when we experience pain in our joints.
Causes of Joint Pain
Any number of reasons can cause severe joint pain. Some of them include:
- Ligament injury/Sprains and strains
- We can damage our joints by exercising with improper form or from injuries.
- Meniscus tears
- Sharp movements while running or frequently jumping can cause the cartilage between the knee to get dislodged between the knee joint. This painful predicament affects over 40% of people aged 65 and older.
- Arthritis/Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Inflammation in the joints can wear down the cartilage and cause pain that worsens over time.
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Eventually our joints suffer from wear and tear. This can result in swelling and stiffening.
- Bone infection
- Known as osteomyelitis, this occurs when bacteria enters the bone via a wound or broken bone that cuts through the skin.
- Repeated bending of joints can irritate the bursa sac, which sits right underneath the skin to prevent joint friction. Bursitis can cause swelling.
- This is a unique case and unfortunately, doctors have not yet found a cause, though they believe it to be related to the nervous system. Fibromyalgia can also impair sleep, cause headaches, and harm memory.
- Gout is a result of a buildup of uric acid in the joints. It can cause sudden pain so severe it could randomly wake you up at night.
You are probably already familiar with the pain that joint issues can cause. If any of these symptoms persist, you should see a doctor immediately to diagnose the problem:
- sudden, severe pain
- pain while walking or moving
- collapsing due to overwhelming pain
- swelling, stiffness, and deformity
- limited motion
- joint locking up
Aside from these symptoms, joint pain can also drastically impair your quality of life. Activities that used to be effortless now cause fear of triggering pain. This can wear down your mental health.
Fortunately, there are remedies for joint and knee pain. Some are more conventional and others attack the root of the cause in indirect ways.
Treatments for Joint Pain
Below are some tips for dealing with joint pain. Some of these options are extremely viable, so don’t lose hope and give them a try.
- Don’t rest too much; continue to exercise
- Rest can weaken the muscles and worsen joint pain. Regular cardio, stretching and muscle toning can strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility.
- Lessen the pressure
- Joint pain can make simple tasks like walking or carrying items problematic. Don’t be too proud to ask for assistance or to rely on a cane, cushioned shoes, or a walking aid to get you through the day.
- “Rest, ice, compression, elevation.” This treatment is very useful for sports injuries and swollen areas and can help reduce the pain significantly.
- In severe cases, visit a doctor. You will receive professional advice and diagnosis and may also discover that surgery is your best option. People who receive joint replacement surgery report feeling more satisfied with their overall mental health than those who went without.
- Weight loss
- Weight loss also eases the pressure on your joints, especially on the knees. You do not have to lose a dramatic amount of weight; every pound counts.
- Foods with anti-inflammatory properties can help ease joint pain. Start including fish oil, cruciferous vegetables, turmeric, and whole foods into your diet. Work on eliminating sugars, pasta, white rice, and red meats. Alternatively you can meet with a dietitian for professional guidance.
Your joint pain does not define you. At the end of the day you can minimize the pain and enjoy your life like before.
How have you treated your joint pain? What would you recommend to others?