Healthy Joints

Experiencing joint pain is a common health issue and might result from one out of several known causes. Even though joint pain is mostly caused by a sprain or an injury, it can be the result of an underlying condition such as rheumatoid arthritis (known as RA) or osteoarthritis (which is called OA), and this is often the case as you advance in years.

What are the symptoms of joint pain?

The nature and the severity of your joint pain symptoms largely depend on the cause. If your joint pain is due to an inflammatory disorder (e.g. an injury or a type of arthritis), then your symptoms might include:

  • Fever
  • Joint stiffness and/or swelling
  • Redness
  • Stiffness in the joint following a long period of rest
  • Stiffness in the joint in the morning

If your joint pain is caused by a non-inflammatory disorder, then your symptoms might include:

  • Relief from pain following rest
  • Exacerbation of the pain following exercise
  • Limited stiffness in the joint in the morning

How is your joint pain diagnosed at your IPSA clinic?

Diagnosing your joint pain can be a difficult procedure as some of the symptoms are the same for various underlying health issues. However, it is well worth booking an appointment at your IPSA clinic to see your IPSA specialist if do you have concerns about your joint pain because in many cases, for example with RA, an early diagnosis helps to prevent the disease progressing further.

When should I see my IPSA physician?

You should arrange to visit your IPSA physician if your joint pain is associated with a fever, or if the pain has lasted for longer than three days, has moved to other joints or has worsened, or if you are experiencing progressive weight loss.

Treatments for joint pain at your IPSA clinic

The joint pain options for treatment vary in line with the cause for your particular joint pain. Often, anti-inflammatory medications alongside adequate rest, massage, warm baths and stretching exercises might provide relief from the symptoms and help you to be able to perform routine activities with only minor discomfort.
Currently there is no known cure for health issues such as OA and RA. Medical treatment for these arthritic conditions aims at reducing joint pain, improving quality of life and joint mobility, and restricting functional impairment, whilst limiting the toxic side effects of the therapy.

What drugs are used to treat OA and RA?

The common drugs that are used to treat OA and RA are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), COX 2 inhibitors and steroids.
The supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate have been shown to work by easing the symptoms in clients experiencing moderate to severe pain in their joints. Some studies have shown these substances help to restore cartilage. In contrast to NSAIDs, these supplements are not associated with side effects.
Diagnosis involves your IPSA physician carrying out a detailed analysis of your medical history and giving you a thorough physical examination. Your IPSA clinician might also refer you for further tests.

What can I do to ease my joint pain?

There are things that you can do to help ease your joint pain.

Apply heat
By applying heat for around 20 minutes for up to three times per day, you can gain relief from your joint pain. This is because the heat increases your local blood flow to the area and thus improves flexibility. Hot packs, warm towels and heating pads can be used. Heat applications must only be used when you are experiencing chronic pain, which is when your pain is still present beyond the expected healing period.

Cold therapy
Using cold packs or over-the-counter cooling sprays alleviate your joint pain by numbing the nerves around your joint. Cold therapy should only be used when your pain is acute pain, which is when your pain does not last longer than the expected healing period.

What supplements can help with joint pain?

Several different supplements have been shown to help in alleviating joint pain and supporting healthy joints such as glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, niacinamide (you should always discuss this with your IPSA practitioner before taking this supplement) and s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe).

How can you help yourself to alleviate your joint pain?

There are some practical steps that you can take to help with your joint pain:

    Massage your joint area
    Rest your joint
    Raise your joint to avoid more swelling
    Wrap a heating pad around your painful joint for around 15 to 20 minutes
    Exercise within what is normal for your body and do not over-stretch
    Take pain medication as pain relief

Visit your IPSA clinic if your joint pain shows no improvement in three days or if it worsens.