Joint pain is one of the most common pain complaints that we see in our clinic. Inflammation is one of the main causes of joint pain. Inflammation is a condition where our bodies send white blood cells and increased circulation to an area to ward off bacteria or virus that can cause infection. In some cases, like in arthritis the immune system will send increased circulation when no bacteria or virus is present as an auto immune response leading to joint inflammation and pain. When this increased circulation goes to the joints it can cause the joints to appear red, increase in temperature and get stiff all at the same time. It is common for a person that is suffering from this inflammatory response to decrease their mobility by limiting their functional mobility secondary to the pain. This is the beginning of an endless cycle that we refer to as the pain cycle. Inflammation leads to pain, which leads to decreased mobility, which leads to decreased strength with leads to limited functional activity which leads to increased inflammation then to pain and so on.
It is important to stop this pain cycle as soon as possible to ward off weakening of muscles that in turn can cause disabilities down the road. Interventions such as physical therapy can be the answer to shut down this cycle. Physical therapy practices use a wide variety of modalities or different treatment techniques and protocols to limited or reduce inflammation, increase strength and functional mobility and works on preventative education to avoid a re-occurrence of pain.
Let’s talk about some of the different modalities that can help to decrease joint pain and inflammation.
Therapeutic exercise, is a modality used in physical therapy to improve circulation throughout the body and increase the range of motion and flexibility of all the joints. Therapeutic exercise also addresses strength deficits to give the joint the proper stability to work in the right alignment alleviating stress on the joints that can cause increased inflammation to occur.
Myofascial Release is a hands-on modality that works on decreasing restrictions in the connective tissues throughout the body to restore proper posturing and limit muscle imbalances for occurring that produce pain and inflammation.
Ultrasound is a machine type of modality that uses sound waves to produce a friction to occur between the cells that are stagnant in inflamed joints to increase circulation to carry out toxins and produce a healing environment.
Electrical Stimulation also is a type of machine modality that can be used in many different frequencies and forms to decrease pain, aide in muscle re-education, improve circulation patterns and interrupt the pain cycle.
Hot and cold therapy is also beneficial in the treatment of joint pain and can be the go to modality for relief of joint pain in the clinic or at home.
There are a lot of treatment options for joint pain and inflammation. It is important to address this pain as soon as possible for the best prognosis of getting pain under control.