Joint pain might be acute, causing sudden pain due to an injury, or it could be a chronic problem like arthritis, developing over time, and refusing to go away. If you have joint pain, triple board-certified physiatrist Stanley Mathew, MD, of American Rehabilitation Medicine in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Dubuque, Iowa, can help. Dr. Mathew uses a variety of nonsurgical therapies to treat chronic joint pain without relying on strong medication. If you’d like to find out more about safe and effective joint pain relief, call American Rehabilitation Medicine today to schedule an appointment or use the online booking form.
What causes joint pain?
Joint pain arises when there’s tissue damage or disease present in the bone, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, tendons, or nerves that make up your joints.
There are specific conditions that can cause pain, such as:
- Articular cartilage injuries
- Ligament sprains
- Tendon strains
These conditions all require expert treatment when they first occur to prevent problems arising in the future.
Arthritis is the foremost cause of chronic joint pain.
How does arthritis cause joint pain?
Arthritis is a broad term that covers multiple different conditions, all of which cause joint pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common form, affecting millions of Americans every year.
It’s incurable and typically worsens over time, causing inflammation in the joints that leads to pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of movement.
Wear and tear causes osteoarthritis. Throughout your life, your joints have to work incredibly hard. Over time, the protective coating of cartilage on the ends of your bones erodes, leaving the bones exposed. They then start to rub against each other, causing friction.
The friction causes chronic inflammation that leads to osteoarthritis.
How is joint pain treated?
Before starting your treatment at American Rehabilitation Medicine for joint pain, Dr. Mathew needs to find out what’s causing it.
He can use various diagnostic techniques, combined with his expertise and experience, to isolate the reason for your joint pain. These tests include musculoskeletal ultrasound, bone scans, blood tests, X-rays, and electromyogram (EMG).
Once the cause of your joint pain becomes known, Dr. Mathew can create a suitable treatment plan for you. Your plan could include:
- Physical therapy
- Heat treatments
- Ice or cold therapies
- Ultrasound therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Trigger point therapy
- Peripheral nerve block injections
- Steroid injections
One of the most helpful treatments for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis is Hyalgan®. This product contains hyaluronate, a substance found in your joints that provides natural lubrication. If you lose this fluid, it makes the joints stiff and causes arthritis to worsen.
Replacing the hyaluronate with Hyalgan can be a good option for people who aren’t experiencing much relief from physical therapies or mild painkillers. Dr. Mathew injects Hyalgan directly into your knee to restore lubrication.
You need to have between three and five injections of Hyalgan at weekly intervals. The treatment can last for up to six months.