While the lockdown was recently lifted in Texas, people have been gradually getting back out working and socializing, but not without precautions. Over the past few weeks, there have been major fluctuations in COVID-19 cases leading most to believe that we’re not out of the woods just yet.
This uncertainty has compelled people to continue to remain indoors limiting outdoor activity. This, in turn, has further exacerbated joint pain for people with preexisting joint conditions like osteoarthritis, bursitis, or rheumatoid arthritis, among others. Not surprisingly, a lot of young adults have also developed mild joint pain because of their lack of activity.
If you’ve been struggling to keep sharp joint aches and/or swelling at bay, it may be time to take action.
Here’s how you can relieve joint pain in light of the lockdown cessation in Texas.
1. Consult an Orthopedic Doctor
While taking remedial action at home is a great way to temporarily alleviate your symptoms, it’s not a long-term fix. It’s always better to consult an orthopedic specialist to understand the cause of your condition. In some cases, joint pain can be easily managed through an individualized exercise plan, medication, or lifestyle changes.
While reading up on joint pain can help you take some of these measures yourself, a specialist can assess your symptoms and offer a treatment plan that addresses your particular joint deformities or damage. In some cases, you may do the wrong exercises or take the wrong medication that does nothing at best or worsens the pain at worse.
2. Lose Weight and Create (and Stick to) an Exercise Plan
Obesity is one of the most common causes of joint pain. According to the American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation, taking measures to control your weight is one of the most effective ways to relieve joint pain as well as other health issues.
Excess weight increases the pressure on your joints and the surrounding delicate structures. As you manage your weight, you’ll notice an improvement in joint stiffness, soreness, pain, and swelling.
Create (and stick to) an exercise plan that will help alleviate joint pain. Depending on which joints are affected, your exercise plan may vary. Target specific locations to undo the damage and restore optimal and pain-free mobility and flexibility. Consult a physical therapist for an exercise plan that’s right for you.
3. Try Hot and Cold Therapy
Alternating between hot and cold therapies is a great way to relieve joint pain. Experiment with different heat and cold treatments to find a balance that works well for you.
Try hot therapies like electric blankets, warm showers and heating pads followed by wrapped cold compresses or gel ice packs. You’ll notice a reduction in inflammation, irritation, and pain around the affected joints.
4. Quit Smoking
According to research, smoking aggravates joint pain by expediting cartilage loss and increasing pain sensitivity and perception. You may develop serious joint conditions like arthritis in the long run. If you already have a preexisting joint condition, you could potentially experience mobility loss.
If you quit smoking, over time your joint pain will begin to subside. It’s important to note that pain relief may not be as immediate or concrete if your condition has worsened because years of smoking has eroded and further damaged your cartilage. In this case, you may require additional treatments to relieve your sore joints.
5. Consider Opting for Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is easily one of the most effective ways to gain relief from mild to severe joint pain. As the lockdown comes to a close, you can visit your local hospital and consult expert physical therapists to correct your condition.
At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we offer a wide range of treatment plans for joint pain including expert physical therapy services. If you suffer from joint pain, vist our Joints Solutions Center for more information. Or you can find a physician specialist on our website where you may also make an appointment with their office directly.