Relieving joint pain and inflammation

Posted on: 13 February 2019 by 50connect editorial

What causes muscle and joint pain? We start to creak as we age but that doesn't mean we have to accept the discomfort.

joint and muscle pain

Our joints and muscles are involved in every movement we make. They are designed to absorb shocks and stresses and allow free and comfortable movement of our bodies. Most of the time they work well, but sometimes our joints are affected by injury, disease or wear and tear. This can cause pain and make movement difficult or uncomfortable.

There are several types of pain affecting joints and muscles:

  • Back pain, especially in the lower back, affects thousands of people in the UK and becomes more common as we get older. There are many causes, including a slipped disc, a trapped nerve, bad posture, incorrect lifting technique, twisting or bending.
  • Rheumatic pain is caused by an inflammation of joints, ligaments or muscles. Movement of the affected joint is restricted and degeneration of the muscle or joint can occur over time, making the pain worse.
  • Muscular pain can result from muscles being overstretched during physical exercise or sports. Insufficient warm-up, high-speed activity or impact during the game can cause injury to the muscle, causing tearing at the point where they join the tendons. Muscles can also stiffen up after intense physical exercise, restricting movement and making them sore and tender.

What are sprains and strains?

Sprains and strains are the most common types of injury:

  • Sprains occur when ligaments, which join one bone to another, are torn or overstretched. Sprains are often caused by a twisting injury, and often affect ankles, wrists and knees. They can occur during physical activity, or even just by stumbling while walking or going down stairs.
  • Strains are when muscles are damaged through over-use or over-exertion, such as heavy lifting or sudden movement. They are often referred to as “pulled” muscles and commonly affect the hamstring (at the back of the thigh) or the muscles of the back.

How can I treat the pain?

Anti-inflammatory drugs can be very effective when people have joint or muscle pain or sports injuries – they help limit the inflammation reaction at the injury site and speed up the healing and recovery process.

Anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken orally as tablets or capsules, but a more direct route for muscular aches and pains can be topical gels and creams. These are rubbed onto the skin at the site of the pain, and are absorbed directly into the muscle.

Do not ignore persistent symptoms. If rest and topical gels do not remedy the issue after a week or so, make an appointment to see your doctor. 

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