5 Practical Methods for Managing Chronic or Acute Joint and Muscle Pain
When your muscles ache, whether because it is the day after a tough workout or because you experience some chronic orthopedic pain, it can be difficult to accomplish your daily tasks. When all you can focus on is the desire for pain relief, finding a method for managing that pain that works for you is critical. While some muscle and joint ailments may eventually require the aid of an orthopedic surgeon, there are also some other methods you may wish to consider first. Depending on the type of pain you are experiencing, one of these approaches could work for you.
- Heat therapy. According to Healthline, the use of heat is one of the most efficient ways to combat chronic muscle pain. Warmth encourages the dilation of your blood vessels; better blood flow to the affected tissues can bring the relaxation and relief for which you are looking. Consider over-the-counter products like heat wraps, which contain materials that warm your skin upon exposure to the air. For more regular heat therapy, try soaking in hot baths or using a steam sauna.
- Topical pain relieving ointments and NSAIDs. There’s no reason to ignore the benefits of modern science in the pursuit of your pain relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken orally, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, are very efficient at providing short-term relief of acute pain. You can reduce the painful effects of inflammation while getting the relief you need. Additionally, topical ointments with pain relieving active ingredients are also available at most pharmacies, allowing you to fight muscle pain right at the source. An orthopedic doctor may suggest treatment with these products as a temporary method for managing your pain.
- Massage therapy. When your pain is centered largely in your back, legs, or shoulders, one of the more effective treatments is the use of massage. In fact, it is so useful for treating muscle pain that some insurers will cover the cost of massage therapy when it is something you require. How does it work? Much like how NSAIDs reduce inflammation chemically, massage does something similar naturally. Massage encourages your muscles to begin healing themselves through the production of beneficial natural compounds. Be sure to ask your orthopedic doctor about the benefits a regular massage may bring you. This is an excellent option for those with both acute and chronic pain.
- Lifestyle changes and a positive mental attitude. If your pain is chronic, your mental disposition towards it will have a big effect on how you feel. Living with chronic pain, accepting its reality, and working to get over the hurdles it puts in front of you will go a long way towards improving your quality of life. Whether you are focusing on ways to distract yourself from the pain or seeking assistance from an orthopedic specialist, keeping a good attitude about the situation will prevent you from feeling worse. Don’t let your pain take control of your life; instead, take control of your pain and get your life back.
- Orthopedic surgery. In extreme cases of chronic pain or real damage to your tissues and joints, you may need the assistance of qualified orthopedic surgeons. These professionals understand the complexities of the musculoskeletal system and will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will hopefully leave you pain-free or with a more manageable level of discomfort. Whether seeking the assistance of an orthopedic surgeon because of a consistent problem with your knee or due to back pain that lasts for months on end after a work-related injury, these professionals will work hard to help you feel better.