What are the Different Types of Joint Pain Treatment?

Dan Cavallari

Joint pain treatment depends entirely on the cause of the joint pain. Arthritis can be a cause of joint pain, as can bursitis, tendinitis, muscle injuries, cartilage injuries, and simple overuse. The process of joint pain treatment often begins with a trip to the doctor who will determine what the cause of the pain is and discuss potential options for treatment to alleviate the pain and correct the underlying cause of the pain. Joint pain treatment options run the gamut from simple rest to joint replacement surgery, though most problems can be treated with simple procedures or processes.

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

Arthritis is a common cause of joint pain, and unfortunately has no cure. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage and ligaments in the joint begin to wear out, allowing the joint to move excessively and inflammation to occur. Arthritis sufferers often focus on pain management as part of their joint pain treatment, since no cure is available. Anti-inflammatory medication can be taken, as can painkillers, and ice and heat can be applied to the joint to alleviate pain. Regular stretching and exercise is also recommended for some people, though overdoing exercise can actually exacerbate the condition rather than help it.

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

Tendinitis and bursitis are other common causes of pain in the joints, and the joint pain treatment for these conditions often includes the RICE treatment: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Tendinitis occurs when the tendons that connect muscles to bone become inflamed due to overuse or unnatural movement, and bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed; bursae are sacs that contain synovial fluid, and they are meant to act as a cushion between moving parts in a joint. Anti-inflammatory medications can be used to help treat both conditions, and if the bursitis is particularly bad, a doctor may choose to cut out part of the sac to alleviate pressure.

Anti-inflammatory medication is often prescribed to alleviate joint pain.
Anti-inflammatory medication is often prescribed to alleviate joint pain.

Muscles that surround the joint can also lead to joint pain, especially when those muscles tighten and affect how the joint moves. Joint pain treatment in this case may involve the RICE treatment, and it will also likely involve conditioning exercises and regular stretching exercises to strengthen the muscles and prevent them from tightening up so easily. Weaker muscles tend to tighten easily, since muscles tighten when they are tired. Tight muscles can pull on tendons, which can in turn stress the bones in the joint, leading to unnatural or excessive movements.

Some arthritis patients have found acupuncture to be an effective treatment option.
Some arthritis patients have found acupuncture to be an effective treatment option.

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