Joint Pain: What are Some of the Pain Relief Options?

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What are Some of the Pain Relief Options for Joint Pain?

Discomfort, inflammation, and pain from any joint part (tendons, bone, cartilage, and muscles) is generally referred to as joint pain.

In most cases however, joint pain refers to arthritis or arthralgia—a condition characterized by inflammation or pain within the joint itself.

Joint pain can also be attributed to other underlying medical conditions like osteoarthritis, gout, bursitis, sprains, strains, and other injuries.

While it has been known to affect any part of the body, the knee is considered the most common area affected, followed by the shoulder and the hips.

In most cases, joint pain becomes more prevalent as one ages.

Joint pain can range from irritating to debilitating.

It can also disappear in a few weeks (acute) or it can last for several weeks to several months (chronic).

However, it is unfortunate to note that even short-term pain and swelling can already significantly affect the patient’s quality of life.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, patients who are suffering from joint pain have plenty of treatment options that can ease joint inflammation and pain available at their disposal.

Some of these options are:

Topical agents

A substance called capsaicin (can also be found in chili peppers) have been known to effectively relieve joint pains.

The substance works by blocking substance P (transmits pain signals). It also triggers endorphin release, a chemical that helps block pain).

Topical creams with methyl salicylate (Ben Gay) can also provide relief for pain in the joint.


When joint pain is moderate to severe, prescription or OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen sodium (Aleve), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) are often prescribed.

For mild pain sans swelling, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often recommended.

For those suffering from severe joint pain, a strong opioid medication might be given.

Other medications know to alleviate joint pain include:

Antidepressants and antiepileptic drugs – works by interfering with pain signals.

Muscle relaxants – works by combating muscle spasms and often used with NSAIDs to provide maximum pain relief.


If the joint pain does not respond to topical or oral remedies, steroid medications will be recommended.

Every 3 to 4 months, the steroid medication will be injected directly into the joint to provide much needed relief.

This treatment alternative is often considered ideal for those who are suffering from joint diseases, arthritis, and tendinitis.

Alternative treatments

Certain studies indicate that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements will not only help alleviate joint pain but will also significantly improve function.

These supplements can come in the form of a capsule, liquid, powder, or tablet.

While not all who suffer from joint pain find relief from this alternative form of treatment, many are willing to give it a try as it has no known side effects.

Physical therapy

Physical therapists help patients suffering from joint pain by strengthening the muscles, enhancing the motion range, and stabilizing the joint.

Techniques used often include ultrasound, heat and cold therapy, and electrical nerve stimulation, among others.

Patients who are overweight will also be advised to lose the extra pounds as it can help take strain and stress off the joint.

While exercise would be an effective way to get rid of the excess weight, sticking to low-impact exercises is considered ideal. This is necessary so irritating the joint further is avoided.

Home remedies

Short-term joint pain will often respond to the following home care remedies:

  • Protecting the affected joint using a brace or a wrap.
  • Resting the joint and not doing activities that might trigger or cause pain.
  • Icing the affected area for at least 15 minutes, several times each day.
  • Compressing the joint using an elastic wrap.

While some cases of joint pain are harmless, others can be the result of some underlying condition. To play safe, visit right away.

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