What are the Best Sources of Muscle and Joint Pain Relief?

Madeleine A.

The best sources of muscle and joint pain relief are pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. In cases of severe pain, some patients may need prescription pain relievers or physical therapy to treat muscle and joint pain. Some patients with pain caused by some forms of arthritis may need surgery.

A man with joint pain.
A man with joint pain.

Both of ibuprofen and acetaminophen are effective, though they work in different ways. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen work by inhibiting a pain-producing chemical called prostaglandin. Acetaminophen, on the other hand, does not inhibit this chemical and works solely on pain receptors. Ibuprofen also suppresses inflammation, while acetaminophen does not.

The human muscular system.
The human muscular system.

Sometimes, muscle and joint pain relief requires prescription pain relievers. These types of medications are typically narcotics, and although they are effective in providing muscle and joint pain relief, they can cause serious side effects. Common side effects of prescription narcotic pain relievers include extreme drowsiness, dizziness, and mental confusion. Individuals should never take these drugs when driving or operating machinery. They also can cause dependence and people can built up a tolerance to them.

High doses of ibuprofen help relieve the inflammation caused by joint and muscle pain.
High doses of ibuprofen help relieve the inflammation caused by joint and muscle pain.

Simple home remedies can sometimes bring muscle and joint pain relief. Application of hot or cold packs can relieve inflammation and soothe sore muscles. The physician might also recommend the use of a cream for joint pain, as these can sometimes offer relief. Joint pain in children could signify juvenile arthritis, and when children experience this type of pain, they need to see a physician to determine the cause.

Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.
Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.

Typically, muscle and joint pain relief involves conservative methods, but in severe cases of arthritis or severe injury, relief might only come from more invasive measures such as surgery. When arthritis has damaged joints such as the knee or hip joints, they are no longer able to effectively bear weight. In these cases, conservative treatments are not helpful because this condition will usually only worsen.

Joint replacement can alleviate the most severe cases of joint pain.
Joint replacement can alleviate the most severe cases of joint pain.

Surgical procedures for muscle and joint pain relief include joint replacement surgery. When joints become worn and damaged, muscles and surrounding ligaments can also be affected. Only when the offending joint is replaced will the individual be able to improve the strength of these surrounding structures, reducing pain. Muscle strength can be improved through a comprehensive physical therapy program in which the person will perform a series of repetitive exercises tailored to his specific problem.

An ice pack can give temporary relief for muscle pain.
An ice pack can give temporary relief for muscle pain.

A comprehensive physical or occupational therapy program can offer substantial muscle and joint pain relief. Physical therapy typically focuses on lower body mobility and occupational therapy generally targets upper body strength and mobility. Occupational therapy helps provide pain relief for the hands, shoulders, arms, and neck, while physical therapy targets the knees, legs, hips and feet.

Occupational therapy may help relieve neck pain.
Occupational therapy may help relieve neck pain.

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