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Joint pain is caused by many different conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, lupus, injury, tendinitis, many infectious diseases, and overuse. No matter what the cause, joint pain relief is readily sought, as joint issues can impair mobility and lessen the quality of life. Many of those who suffer from joint pain are elderly, and the combination of joint pain and other medical conditions can become a real nuisance late in life.
Joint pain relief should be approached from different angles, depending on the cause of the pain. Joint pain caused by arthritis is one of the most common and results in inflammation, swelling, stiffness, redness, and soreness at the joint and surrounding areas. Though there are hundreds of different types of arthritis, relief from joint pain for this variety of issue can be approached a few different ways. Some turn to prescribed medications, some opt for over the counter joint pain relief pills, and others prefer to stay away from medication and instead choose natural pain remedies.
Prescription drugs for joint pain relief are usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as the COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex®. These drugs work by reducing inflammation which in turn reduces pain and stiffness and greatly improves mobility. However, because these medications increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, they should only be taken in severe cases. Two COX-2 inhibitors, Vioxx® and Bextra®, were pulled by the FDA because of the risk of side effects. An alternative for those who do not wish to take such strong medications are over the counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen.
A more natural way to go is to take supplements like chondroitin, glucosamine, turmeric, SAM-e, and some fish oils. These supplements do not directly stop joint pain, but they have properties that positively affect the joints and improve conditions before inflammation and pain occur. For instance, glucosamine, an amino sugar, stimulates the production of proteins that aid in repairing connective tissues. Experimenting with different supplements is necessary to determine the specific supplements that will work for each individual.
For joint pain caused by injury, it is important to closely follow doctor's orders. Most injuries require a period of rest, and joint pain can be relieved with warm baths, massage, and stretching exercises. Physical therapy is often prescribed, with an increase in aggressive movement as time progresses. Injuries to the joints can lead to arthritis later in life and should always be treated with care.