Whether from an injury or age, joint pain is common, even among young athletes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, joint pain is the No. 1 cause of disability in adults in the United States.
Chronic joint pain may keep you from doing the things you enjoy, so you may wonder what you can do to reduce your discomfort and improve your quality of life. Here at No Mercy Sports Medicine, Moisés Irizarry-Román, MD, specializes in identifying and treating the root cause of joint pain so you can get the relief you seek.
What’s causing my joint pain?
In order to get the most effective treatment for your joint pain, you need to know what’s causing it. You may be experiencing joint pain from a strain or sprain you sustained during an intense workout or because you’ve lost the cushion between your joints.
Common causes of joint pain include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Strains and sprains
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of chronic joint pain and is often referred to as the wear-and-tear arthritis because it’s the form of arthritis that develops from the wearing away of the cartilage in between your bones. While osteoarthritis is often considered a disease that comes with age, you may predispose yourself to the joint disease if you’ve suffered a previous sports-related joint injury.
Home care for joint pain
Taking good care of yourself is one of the most important things you can to gain control of your chronic joint pain. When at home, rest and ice your joint to reduce pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories may also be helpful.
When you’re out and about, or attempting your daily run, use a brace to give your joint a little extra support for pain control. We can provide recommendations for the best type of brace support for your joint depending on the underlying cause of your joint pain and your activity.
Obesity, even in athletes, is a common cause of joint pain. If you’re carrying around too much body weight, it adds stress to your joints and increases pain. Losing weight can make a significant difference in joint health and pain.
Exercise your joint
When pressure and movement increases your joint pain, you may think the best thing for you to do is just rest. But that may make your chronic joint pain worse. Immobility of your joint leads to stiffness, a decrease in range of motion, and more pain.
We recommend exercises for your joint to strengthen the supporting muscles and improve range of motion. This not only helps your pain, but also gets you back to doing the things you enjoy. If you need help with an exercise program, we may refer you to a physical therapist, who can design a program geared for your very specific needs and goals.
Your exercise program may also help you with your weight-loss efforts.
At No Mercy Sports Medicine, we offer a number of alternative therapies to help your body heal and to relieve pain. Depending on the underlying cause of your chronic joint pain, we may recommend:
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
Many professional athletes have turned to PRP as a treatment to heal injuries faster without the need for more invasive treatments, such as surgery. PRP is a blood product created from a sample of your own blood that’s rich in the specialized growth factors that promote healing. We may use PRP to heal:
- Chronic tendinitis
- Torn ligaments
When injected directly into your injured tissue, the growth factors speed up your body’s natural healing process so you can get back to your favorite activities faster.
Stem cell therapy
Stem cells are specialized cells found in your own body that have the ability to transform themselves into any type of cell you may need, from blood vessels to bone. Like PRP, we can inject stem cells directly into your injured joint to accelerate your body’s healing process and assist in the regeneration of new tissue.
Medical-grade dietary supplements
Dietary supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, may also support joint health and reduce your chronic pain. Both of these substances are naturally found in your cartilage, and supplementing your diet may restore the important joint cushion to reduce your pain.
Don’t let chronic joint pain keep you from doing what you love. Let us help you get control over your joint pain. Call No Mercy Sports Medicine today or request an appointment online.