When your joints are stiff and in pain, it can be hard to go about your daily life. Joint pain often becomes worse as we grow older and stiffness and soreness can be so intense that your range of motion is seriously hampered.

Treatment and pain relief options for joint pain will vary depending on the cause of your symptoms. The most common cause of joint pain and stiffness is arthritis. Arthritis isn’t just one disease but is a term that encompasses over 100 types of joint conditions. It causes swelling, tenderness, and pain in one or more joints in the body.

Arthritis is most common among older women, but people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds are at risk of developing one or more forms of the condition. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe, with some people experiencing mild, manageable flare-ups and others ending up with a permanent disability. 

Since arthritis is a chronic condition, there is no cure and the symptoms will generally become worse over time. With an early diagnosis and the right treatment, many people can manage their arthritic condition.

Permanent joint changes and damage can also occur. There may be visible changes like deformed finger joints, but in most cases, the damage can only be seen with imaging like x-rays or CT scans. Once diagnosed, your GP or specialist will discuss the types of treatment available to manage your form of arthritis.

Common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Osteoarthritis

Cartilage is a hard, flexible connective tissue that protects your joints and bones by acting as a shock absorber and preventing your bones from rubbing against each other. When you have osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to break down. It can affect any joint, but most commonly affects the hips, knees, hands, and spine.

Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be managed, although the damage to joints can't be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and receiving certain treatments might slow the progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis usually develop slowly and grow worse over time.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

●     Pain

●     Stiffness

●     Tenderness

●     Bone spurs

●     Swelling

●     Limited range of motion

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect multiple joints as well as the skin, eyes, heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Unlike the wear-and-tear that causes arthritis, RA is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks the healthy tissues lining your joints. This results in painful swelling that can lead to joint deformity and bone erosion.

The inflammation can spread to other parts of the body and may even lead to permanent disability.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

●     Fatigue

●     Loss of appetite

●     Fever

●     Stiffness that’s usually worse when you wake up

●     Tender, swollen joints that are warm to the touch

Gout

Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis. It’s an inflammatory condition that usually affects one joint at a time, often the big toe. The pain is intense and comes on very quickly with episodes occurring more frequently at night.

Attacks of gout can last for days or weeks and can leave behind lingering symptoms long after the attack has cleared. These flares are often followed by long periods of remission before symptoms happen again.

Gout Symptoms:

●     Intense, sudden pain

●     Swelling

●     Redness

●     Skin that feels hot to the touch

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that can end up making the spine less flexible over time because the bones in the spine (vertebrae) fuse together. This fusing can even extend to the lungs, making it hard to breathe or affecting the eyes.

The condition is more common in men, but women can experience it as well. Symptoms usually begin in adulthood and will become worse as the disease progresses. The most affected areas tend to be the joint between the base of the spine and pelvis, the vertebrae in the lower back, the cartilage between the breastbone and the ribs, shoulder joints, and the area where tendons and ligaments attach to bone.

Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis:

●     Pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips, especially in the mornings

●     Neck pain and fatigue

Treating Arthritis

Since arthritis is a chronic condition, there are no cures and symptoms will likely become worse over time. Treatment for arthritis usually involves a combination of methods that aim to reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and prevent the disease from progressing. You might have to try a few before finding the one that works for you.

●     Hot and Cold Therapy: Heat can boost circulation and soothe stiff joints and painful muscles. Methods of heat therapy include warm baths/showers, heat packs and pads, and hot water bottles. Cold therapy restricts blood vessels, numbs pain, and reduces swelling but you should limit cold therapy to 15-20 minutes at a time. You can use a cold or ice pack or wrap a bag of ice in a towel.

●     Physical Therapy: In physical therapy, you’ll be shown exercises and stretches that will improve your range of motion, strengthen your joints and muscles, and help ease the pain. It’s important to keep up with the exercises after your sessions end so that your symptoms don’t return.

●     Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness is a meditation method of keeping you present in the moment. The goal is to be aware of your feelings, thoughts, and physical surroundings without judgement. Once you practice it enough, you’ll feel more relaxed and better able to cope with life- including your arthritic symptoms.

●     Medications: Anti Inflammatory medications are very effective as pain relief for joint pain. These medications include NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. For gout, Colchicine tablets can be used for pain relief and flare-up prevention.

Joint pain relief treatment is available from Pharmacy Planet. Visit our website to buy Colchicine Tablets online in the UK and Naproxen for gout online in the UK.