Joint Pain? Learn How Physical Therapy Can Help

joint pain

While you don’t think much of them until they start to hurt, the joints in our bodies help us move around and keep our coordination. When you begin to experience joint pain, it can be felt throughout the whole body and greatly affects your movement, interrupting your everyday tasks.

Joint pain can be mild to severe, and treatment varies from at-home care to more intense surgery. There is no cure for joint pain, but there are different ways to manage it. This article will discuss some of the causes of joint pain and explain how physical therapy can help.

Common Causes of Joint Pain

Joints are where two or more of your bones connect. Many people feel joint pain in their hands, feet, hips, knees, or spine. This pain can be consistent or comes and goes in waves.

Joint pain feels stiff or sore and sometimes even described as burning or pulsating. Typically, joints will ache first thing in the morning but then start to warm up as more movement occurs throughout the day. Warming joints up by moving them can bring some relief, but too much activity can make your pain even worse. 

Joint pain can be a symptom of many different health conditions. One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis, but there are other common causes.

  • Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis that occurs when cartilage starts wearing away. It occurs slowly, causing stiff and painful joints, and typically occurs after the age of 45.
  • Gout is a condition in which acidic crystals made in the body start to gather around the joints. This causes severe pain and swelling, typically in the big toe.
  • Bursitis occurs when joints are overworked and overused. It usually affects the hip, knee, shoulder, or elbow.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease and causes swelling and pain, especially in the fingers and wrists. It often causes joint deformity.
  • Tendinitis is when the tendons are painful and inflamed. Overuse and overworking these bands causes inflammation and usually affects the elbow, heel, or shoulder.

How Can You Treat Joint Pain?

There are no complete cures for joint pain, but there are ways to manage it and find some relief. For some, taking over-the-counter medications or performing exercises daily can help their joint pain go away. However, for others, joint pain can indicate a larger problem that needs to be addressed with prescribed medication or surgery.

Some successful joint pain treatments include:

  • Home remedies include heating pads or ice for short periods of time throughout the day or soaking in a warm bath.
  • Medications like Acetaminophen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs available over the counter can help with minor pain. A doctor will need to give you a prescription for any more substantial doses.
  • Exercise can build strength around the joints and help with overall function. Low-impact exercises like walking or swimming can help, along with gentle stretching. More active, strenuous workouts should be dialed back until proper strength and balance are restored.
  • Some people find relief from topical treatments that can be applied to the skin on top of the joint area. Many of these types of ointments or gels are available to purchase over the counter.
  • Losing weight can help lessen stress on your joints.

Benefits of Physical Therapy For Joint Pain

While some at-home remedies can help relieve joint pain, physical therapy is one of the best and highly recommended treatments for joint pain. It can help with more long-term relief because a physical therapist can fully customize a program that fits your needs based on your individual condition.

It is natural to want to avoid using our joints when feeling pain. But by using your joints with gentle and supportive movements, you can help your body heal naturally and recover over time. Physical therapy has plenty of benefits, which is why it is usually recommended by doctors and physical therapists alike.

Reduces Pain

Typically, one of the first goals set in a physical therapy plan is pain management. By performing gentle movements that encourage blood flow, your circulatory system aids in reducing inflammation and prevents fluid buildup that prevents healing.

Aids in Optimal Healing

Even if moving joints while in pain feels counterintuitive, good blood flow will help your body repair faster. Reduced inflammation and increased circulation are crucial for getting nutrients to your muscle tissue to heal.

Extended Range of Motion

Stretching and gentle exercises can improve mobility. Extending the range of motion avoids muscle atrophy, which can happen when joints are not moved frequently enough. Restricted joint flexibility makes it much harder to recover joint function down the road.

Builds Muscle Mass

Pressure on the joint is typically what causes joint pain. By building muscle and tendon strength around the joint, you can avoid any overcompensation that overloads the joint, offering relief and more stability. 

Posture Improvement

Poor posture can put too much pressure on certain joints, causing discomfort over time. There are ways you can improve your posture daily, and a physical therapist will be able to instruct you on certain movements and exercises to aid in better posture.

Pinpoint the Cause of Joint Pain

Joint pain is usually caused by a combination of issues, like weak muscles, poor posture, and lack of using specific muscles and tendons in conjunction with others. When you go through physical therapy, a physical therapist can help you improve posture, strengthen muscles, and correct any issues that can negatively affect your body. 

Physical Therapy in Fort Collins

In Fort Collins, Colorado, UpSlope Physical Therapy & Performance is here to create a personalized program attuned to your individual needs. We help you find a natural way to reduce pain, promote blood flow, build muscle, and improve joint mobility. Regardless of where your pain stems from, we will get to the root of it and provide you with relief from joint pain and how to keep it at bay.

Contact us today and take the first step towards a healthier, stronger you.

As an active individual, staying healthy and injury-free is important to you. You make time for your workouts and training because it helps you focus, spend time with yourself, and work toward your goals.

Brady Hoffmann DPT, ATC

Owner and Founder of UpSlope PT

We Help Athletes and Active Adults Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active And Get Back To What They Love To Do.