There are many causes of joint pain. Once the pain becomes chronic, the patient may become worn down, fatigued, and frustrated due to the duration of the condition. They take over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, Tylenol, and more. Some even get steroid injections, which may break down joint cartilage and worsen the condition over time. Although it may give initial relief, it is detrimental to the joint. Relieving the pain and healing the joint are the main goals.
Different types of chronic joint pain may require different treatments. I will discuss both causes and treatments of a few causes.
Arthritis is inflammation of the joint. There are many causes of this inflammatory process, and most treatments include reducing the inflammation with medications or steroid injections. A recent cause of arthritis that has been turning into a chronic condition, is joint pain as a result of having COVID-19.
This is called reactive arthritis. It usually occurs after a GI infection or other viral infections. Now, COVID-19 has been added to the list. Steroids have been injected for relief, but like I mentioned above, this is not the best option to further resolve the condition. Yes, it decreases the inflammation, but does not promote healing from that point forward. This may result in the inflammation returning, and the patient finds themselves returning for further steroid injections. There are also other medical conditions that cause arthritis. Psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases may also cause arthritis. An autoimmune disease involves the body to recognize the affected area to be foreign to the body. This causes the body to destroy the foreign object. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, for example, the body destroys the cartilage in the joints. Steroids are used frequently to treat severe cases of autoimmune diseases, however, rarely is the actual cause addressed.
Overuse and misuse of a joint may also cause chronic pain associated with arthritis. Sports injuries, falls, and joint injuries may also cause this pain. Patients generally take anti-inflammatories, and work or pay through the pain. This causes more wear on the joint, often then resulting in surgery being the only option.
I’ve already mentioned the damage that steroid injections may cause. I’ve written articles on prescription bracing, and how patients may avoid surgery with this option. For knee joints, we custom fit the brace to the joint, and relieve the inflammatory pressure. I’ve yet to have a patient who didn’t say this was the best relief they’ve had without damaging steroidal treatments.
For those seeking a quick relief of the pain, other injections are available. Hyaluronic acid injections work like a lubricant in the joint. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body, and helps to support collagen, the main infrastructure of the cartilage in our joints.
These give almost immediate relief and are covered on most insurances including Medicare. They do not, however, help to rejuvenate the cartilage, and repair the joint. They do, however, allow the joint to move more freely. Ozone injections work a little slower, but they do assist in the healing process. The oxygen in the ozone helps to heal much quicker, than having the oxygen in the blood do it on its own. PRP, or platelet rich plasma is used to help regenerate the joint damage. It’s best with patients in their younger years, and up to maybe their 40s. This is because our growth cells diminish as we age. The patient’s blood is drawn, spun down in a special tube in a centrifuge, and the plasma is then injected into the joint to help regrow the cartilage.
A prescription brace (for knees) is then recommended. This allows the joint space to remain open to allow the cartilage to grow appropriately. The most effective regenerative therapies, (at the time this article was written) like exosomes and Wharton’s jelly from human umbilical sources work to regrow the cartilage in the joint. How it’s sourced, is that a mother will donate her baby’s umbilical cord tissue after giving birth. Infants have many more growth cells than we do as we age.
This way, the older patient is able to benefit from the large number of growth cells we have as babies. The mother authorizes the doctor to donate the tissue to a lab that processes the cells so that they can be used for other older patients who have degenerative conditions like arthritis and others.
This allows the older patient to get back to the activities much more quickly and effectively. Without the pain and long rehab of surgery.
This should help to clarify what causes chronic joint pain, and what you can do more naturally without the side effects of invasive procedures.
Should you or anyone you know suffer from chronic joint pain, I will offer a complimentary consultation to see if you qualify for any of these pain relieving injections.
For any questions regarding my articles, please email me at:
Leisa-Marie Grgula, D.C.
Accurate Care Medical Wellness Center
18261 N Pima Rd. Suite 115
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
NEW NUMBER 480-584-3955
Old number will still ring through, but please take note and use this new number.