There’s no denying that our joints change over the years. Joint stiffness can develop due to an existing medical condition or the natural aging process. In honor of Pain Awareness Month, we’re delving into what it is, potential causes, treatments and how Presidio Home Care can help you or your loved one adopt healthy habits and prevent injury.
What Causes Achy and Stiff Joints?
From overuse to previous injuries, to age, the discomfort caused by joint pain and stiffness may not only affect the function of the joint, but also limit a person’s ability to do basic tasks and affect their overall quality of life. Here are a few factors that could contribute to aching and stiff joints:
Osteoarthritis (aka OA). A common type of arthritis, OA happens over time when the cartilage (the protective cushion in between the bones) wears down. This condition develops slowly over time, causing joints to become painful and stiff.
Gout. A form of inflammatory arthritis that causes pain and swelling in your joints. Urate crystals can form when there are high levels of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in your body as well as certain foods, including red meat and organ meats, such as liver.
Past injuries. Previous trauma like broken bones or sprains can make joints feel stiff and sore.
Rheumatoid arthritis (aka RA). A chronic condition that causes swelling and pain in the joints, and deformed joints in the fingers and wrists.
Bursitis. Bursitis develops when tiny, fluid-filled sacs in the joints called bursae become inflamed. The inflammation causes pain and stiffness. It usually affects large joints, such as the shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and elbows.
Lupus. This autoimmune disease causes a person’s immune system to attack healthy tissue (muscles and joints), resulting in swelling, stiffness and pain.
Treating Joint Pain
Depending on the severity, joint pain and stiffness can be treated with a number of prescriptions, over-the-counter medication, home remedies and lifestyle changes that include:
Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. Anti-inflammatory drugs could help ease the discomfort. For stronger doses, it’s best to talk to your care team.
Topical treatments. Ointments or gels that can be rubbed into the skin over the affected joint area, may also help ease pain.
Maintaining a healthy weight. For every 10 pounds of extra weight you have, the force on your knee increases by 30 to 60 pounds with each step you take. As a result, the cartilage inside your weight-bearing joints breaks down more quickly, accelerating osteoarthritis.
Hot/cold compresses. A classic home remedy that applies a heating pad or ice pack to the affected area to relieve soreness.
How Presidio Home Care Can Help
Living with consistent pain can be a very isolating experience. But with the help of our
highly trained and compassionate Home Care Aides, you and your loved one will never
have to face it alone. Contact our office today to learn more.