Is it Arthritis or Just Joint Pain?

Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on print

Millions of Americans suffer with joint pain and most of them believe they have arthritis. But joint pain can be caused by numerous illnesses and conditions. Any type of chronic pain can take away from your quality of life and there are often no real cures. There are over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, essential oils and other treatments, but to date, no one has really discovered a cure.

Causes Of Joint Pain

The first thing to determine is the root cause of the pain. For that, you may need to see a specialist. It may require X-rays, MRIs or other tests. Once your doctor knows what’s causing the pain, he or she can prescribe a treatment regimen. Below are some of the main causes of joint pain:

Lupus

This illness affects about 1.5 million Americans. It’s an auto-immune disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, brain, lungs and other areas. The most common symptoms are joint pain, fatigue, fevers and a rash. Treatments range from steroids and anti-inflammatories to prescription drugs.

Fibromyalgia

For many years, various experts have argued about whether this illness should be considered a mental illness. Sufferers often experience anxiety and depression. They report widespread pain throughout their bodies.

Arthritis

54 million Americans suffer with some form of arthritis. There are no cures for this condition but quite a few treatment options that can help. For many, it’s a struggle just to get up in the morning and make coffee. Doctors can prescribe certain drugs such as Lyrica and pain medications, but often the individual must find their own pathway to relieve the pain or simply learn to live with it.

Determining Pain Levels

The term “severe” joint pain is often used by doctors as well as patients, but there’s quite a bit of ambiguous misunderstanding over what “severe” really means. Your doctor may ask you to describe your pain level on a scale of one to ten. Anything over a seven that has continued for at least three days during a week is considered “severe.” Try to write down how you’re feeling each day in a journal. Decide on a daily basis what your pain level is and be honest and specific. This can help your doctor decide on the right treatments and medications.

Remedies That Can Help

Regardless of the cause, there are a few general remedies that can help those suffering with joint pain, arthritis, lupus and other conditions. Try one or more of these to get relief as needed.

Warm Epsom Salts Bath

Draw a tub full of warm water, adding a cup of Epsom salts. There are many different fragrances now added to give you a luxurious bath experience. Be sure to get help in and out of the tub if necessary.

Essential Oils

Mix up your favorites into a small bowl and apply to your skin as needed. A few of the more well-known oils for joint pain are bergamot, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, orange, rosemary, peppermint and myrrh.

Massages

A great massage is the perfect solution for arthritis sufferers. A good massage therapist can work all that stiffness out of your joints. You may also take along your favorite essential oil blend and request that it be used during the massage.

Physical Therapy

This can be a great idea for many. A physical therapist will determine exactly where your pain is and lay out a good array of stretches and exercises to help strengthen your muscles. Some of these are easy to learn and you can do them at home on your own. Your muscles will often respond well to gentle stretching and movement.

Walking or Swimming

Get out as often as possible. Take a short walk and do some deep breathing exercises. This can help with the joint pain as well as depression. Swimming is considered a low-impact physical activity. You can often find swimming pools open year-round at the local YMCA.

Lifestyle Changes

Many of those suffering with arthritis and joint pain are also overweight. As your condition worsens, you may feel less inclined to exercise, take walks and such. For millions of sufferers, a few lifestyle changes will help. For instance, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Make sure to get lean proteins in your diet along with green leafy veggies, nuts and salmon. Avoid foods with a high fat and sugar content. Limit your alcohol intake and by all means, avoid smoking and other similar habits that can detract from your overall health.

Final Thoughts

Though your doctor and other specialists may be able to help, for many, it’s important to make the appropriate lifestyle changes. You can help yourself quite a bit by recognizing some of the issues that may cause your joint pain.

  • Perhaps you spend too much time alone and this is causing depression which can detract from your overall quality of life. Talk to your family, friends or doctor about these issues.
  • Try to get more involved in life.
  • Take up a fun hobby such as woodworking or art.
  • Volunteer at a local nursing home or children’s hospital.

Find your own individual pathway to better health.Don’t let joint pain stop you from living your life and enjoying the moments. Try to keep a positive mental attitude.