The best place to start looking for joint pain help is a primary care physician. He or she can order tests that will reveal possible causes of the pain and recommend a specialist if necessary. If a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis is indicated, an appointment with a rheumatologist may be in order. Pain caused by injury or by wear and tear may require the services of an orthopedic surgeon. Physical therapists can help patients recover from surgery and provide joint pain help to arthritis sufferers or people who have been injured.
If serious joint disease or injury is not an issue, the primary care physician may be able to provide adequate joint pain help without referring the patient to a joint pain specialist. He or she can prescribe a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that will help reduce inflammation and pain. Injections of cortisone or hyaluronic acid given directly into the painful joint are another option to bring relief, and they can be used in conjunction with oral medications.
A rheumatologist can provide joint pain help if the pain is caused by an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a number of other autoimmune diseases, can cause chronic inflammation and joint pain. Following a physical examination, the rheumatologist will order tests that show the level of inflammation and how it may be affecting other parts of the body. After careful evaluation of the blood work, the doctor will decide which medications will be most beneficial and whether or not physical therapy is needed.
Car wrecks, sports injuries and everyday wear and tear take their toll on joints and can result in severe pain. The kind of joint pain help required to treat these problems often must come from an orthopedic surgeon. Others who need joint pain help from orthopedic surgeons are the elderly whose joints have ceased to function due to osteoarthritis, which damages the cartilage in joints. Knee and hip replacements are common in this age group as well.
Physical therapists use exercise, massage and hydrotherapy to provide joint pain help for those recovering from injury, prolonged illness or arthritis. Injury or extended illness can inhibit movement and can lead to poor muscle tone and stiff, painful joints. Those who suffer from arthritis may have exquisitely sensitive joints that are inflamed and swollen by the disease. Physical therapists teach patients how to compensate for joint pain, how to move with less pain and how to increase their strength and range of motion for long-term pain reduction.