Joints Feeling Painful? Get Treated And Stay Active!

A strategy to remain active despite aging and sore joints is possible and desirable for anyone. Consult a sports physician or your doctor for advice on conservative interventions – there are many good options available.

Fortunately, doctors have numerous more conservative options to treat joint pain:

1. Weight loss

For those who are overweight, losing the excess kilograms will have a most significant effect in reducing the stress on the painful weight-bearing joint. This is achieved by dietary interventions and cross- training using exercise that impacts the affected joints less (swimming, cycling, rowing, etc).

2. Activity modification

Worn hips, knees and ankles don’t take kindly to running marathons! This doesn’t mean that no running exercises can be enjoyed – speak to a sports physician about finding the appropriate amount. In addition, a strengthening program targeting muscles around the area will help to support the joint. A physiotherapist or biokineticist can guide this.

3. Topical agents

Anti-inflammatories in topical gel form have been around for some time and may provide relief when massaged over the affected joint, as may anti-inflammatory patches, which slowly release the agent through the skin. A new drug-free mechanism to improve joint mobility uses Sequessome vesicles in a gel form that can be applied over arthritic joints, and accumulate on the damaged cartilage, replenishing the areas of damage. Rheumatological studies support the technology, and the side- effect profile is negligible. Click here to find out more about joint space narrowing and how to combat it.

4. Inserts and wedges

Altering the alignment of your feet and legs by inserting a simple wedge or arch support in a shoe may remove pressure from the injured side of an arthritic knee. A podiatrist is the best person to assist with this.

5. Injection techniques

Acute flare-ups of joints respond well to corticosteroid (cortisone) injections. Settling the pain will help mobility and facilitate strengthening, but repeat cortisone injections are not an ideal way to manage osteoarthritis on an ongoing basis, as the risks of infection and aggravating cartilage degeneration are too high. Other more physiological means to preserve joints include using gel-like injectable viscosupplements, such as hyaluronic acid, which can be injected twice a year, and platelet-rich plasma injections (platelet cells drawn from the patient’s own blood), which are showing good promise as a biological intervention.

6. Anti-inflammatories

Anti-inflammatories are of the most commonly used and prescribed agents for joint pain, and are also effective in settling inflammation, but may have side-effects on the stomach, kidneys and heart, and should be avoided long-term.

7. Supplements

Numerous supplements claim to be of benefit in degenerate joints. Glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) and omega-3 have all staked a claim to help in osteoarthritis. Glucosamine sulphate at a dose of 1 500mg a day has been shown to be of benefit, as have avocado and soy extracts.

Click here to find the link between pain and stress and how to beat both.