Living with joint pain can be frustrating. With enough time, it can decrease your activity, limit your social life, and in extreme cases, lead to depression. For many, the pain is more than simple discomfort, it is debilitating. Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer. Whether you’re experiencing knee pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, or another type of joint pain, there are many options for pain relief. At Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants, we can help you find the right pain management treatment plan to ease your symptoms. Here’s how we can help.
Where do most people experience joint pain?
Joint pain can be experienced in many places across the body. The most common locations include the:
However, any joint can be affected. Joint pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, symptoms only occur after certain activities. In others, even the most basic movement is extremely painful. Symptoms beyond the typical aches and pain can include swelling, tenderness, redness, and weakness.
What are the most common causes of joint pain?
Joint pain causes can vary greatly. For this reason, it’s important to consult with a pain specialist who can pinpoint the exact origin of your symptoms.
This will be the first of many important steps toward finding a successful pain management treatment plan. The following conditions can all lead to joint pain.
Osteoarthritis is most common. Osteoarthritis, caused by inflammation in the bones and joints, is largely associated with aging. It can lead to the deterioration of cartilage that protects and cushions your joints.
Unfortunately, when cartilage is lost, it can’t be directly repaired. This will usually result in the pain of bone rubbing on bone. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
- Repetitive use
- Joint instability
Rheumatoid arthritis is another condition that can lead to joint pain. This is a chronic autoimmune disease where your immune system effectively “attacks” your own joints. It is more common in women than men, and typically leads to painful swelling and joint deformities in the hands and feet.
Finally, gout is a form of arthritis that most commonly affects the knee and big toe. It occurs when excess uric acid forms crystals that affect movement in your joints.
2. Previous injuries
Traumatic events, such as car accidents and falls can lead to joint pain. Athletic injuries that you sustain in high-impact sports or intense exercise regimens can also lead to joint pain.
Sometimes patients feel this pain and discomfort immediately after an injury, but for others, the onset can be months or years down the road. Depending on the injury, the pain can become chronic, lasting for three months or more.
3. Overuse conditions
Joint overuse and injury can cause conditions like bursitis and tendinitis, which lead to pain and inflammation.
Most commonly seen in the hips, bursitis is the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac near a joint.
Tendinitis is inflammation caused by tendons that protect the joints from becoming overstretched or injured. The healing process is challenging, as tendons can take six months or more to repair.
4. Other causes
Many other diseases and conditions can lead to joint pain. Some of the most common include:
- Advanced cancers
- Lyme disease
- Psoriatic arthritis
If you believe you’re suffering from any of these conditions, there is help.
How can Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants help me?
If you’re suffering from pain in your joints, our team at Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants can guide you from getting an initial diagnosis to finding a comprehensive treatment approach.
Due to the wide range of potential causes of joint pain, we take the time to run a thorough evaluation for each patient. We will examine your medical records, family history, and symptoms, along with X-ray or MRI results. This ensures that we have a proper diagnosis before treating your pain.
Once it is time to develop a plan for treatment, we will work to create one that uses complementary care in combination with interventional pain management approaches.
Before turning to invasive methods of pain management, you and your doctor will explore simple lifestyle changes that could improve your condition.
The following methods of complementary care can often help those who are suffering from joint pain:
- Physical therapy: A routine composed of mobility stretches and exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joints can help stabilize your joints and improve range of motion
- Exercise: In some cases, losing weight through low-impact exercises or dietary changes can reduce excess pressure on your joints
- Home care: Elevating, rest, and compressing can help relieve short-term pain
- Acupuncture: The placement of very thin needles into specific pressure points may improve your joint pain symptoms
- Support garments: A brace for joints like the knee or wrist can offer stability, allow you to exercise, and even reduce pain
Interventional pain management
In many cases, lifestyle changes and complementary forms of treatment aren’t enough. When this occurs, we turn to interventional pain management procedures before attempting surgery.
Our goal is always to offer minimally invasive treatments that won’t require extensive recovery periods. Used in combination with treatments like physical therapy or exercise, these can help you address the root cause of your pain while reducing your symptoms in the short-term.
Some interventional treatments include:
- Epidural steroid injections: These injections contain a steroid medication and, at times, an anesthetic to reduce pain and inflammation in an affected joint
- Facet joint injections: A local anesthetic and steroid are injected into the facet joint area to provide immediate pain relief and long-lasting anti-inflammatory effects
- Stem cell injections: By injecting stem cells into damaged areas of the body, they may help the healing process and lead to reduced pain
The recovery time associated with these types of injections is minimal. In fact, most people can return to work or other activities the next day. While it depends on the type of procedure used, many can be performed multiple times per year.
Houston Spine & Joint Pain Consultants welcomes patients from communities all over the Houston area, including Midtown, Katy, Cypress, Spring, Sugarland, and more.
If you want to find a life with less pain, call us today. We’ll work with you to develop a comprehensive pain management approach that works for you and your lifestyle.