Do you have some degree of joint pain? You’re not alone. A survey cited on the web site WebMD noted that about one third of adults reported having joint pain within the last 30 days. The most common joint pains involve knees, shoulders, hips and ankles, but you can potentially get pain anywhere that two bones come together.
Your hot tub can offer a great, relaxing way to relieve mild joint pain, and there are many other things you can try.
If your pain is severe, start with your doctor. There are dozens of potential causes. Some are severe and some are just a natural result of aging. It’s best to find what’s actually causing the pain before you attempt to treat it. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy, prescription medications, injections and other supplements. He or she may also suggest therapies such as ultrasound or electrical nerve stimulation.
We’re not suggesting treatment for any serious condition. That’s between you and your doctor. But we’ve found that there are ways to deal with mild joint discomfort that you might try.
How Can My Hot Tub Help?
One of the most pleasant and effective ways to deal with joint pain is by soaking in your Caldera hot tub every day for 20 minutes. There are many benefits to taking that rejuvenating soak every day, but let’s talk about your joints.
In an earlier blog, we discussed joint pain as one of the benefits of warm water immersion. As you soak in hot water, the buoyancy of the water reduces the pressure on your joints, relieving the weight and compression on the joint itself, which is often the cause of the pain.
The warm water also raises your body temperature and increases circulation, which can make movement easier and less painful.
It makes joints feel looser,” said Dr. Bruce E. Becker, director of the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute at Washington State University in an Arthritis Foundation article. “It reduces pain and it seems to have a somewhat prolonged effect that goes beyond the period of immersion.”
What Other Ways Can I Deal With Joint Pain?
Not counting the many therapies and medications that your doctor can suggest or prescribe, there are several common-sense techniques for potentially reducing your joint pain.
The best solution might be the most difficult. Maintaining a healthy weight or reducing weight if necessary can have a dramatic effect on joint pain. According to a 2005 study in Arthritis & Rheumatism cited by the Arthritis Foundation, losing one pound of weight resulted in four pounds of pressure removed from the knees. As a result, losing even a little weight can have a dramatic effect. Lose 10 pounds and reduce 40 pounds of pressure on your knees.
The irony is that many types of exercise can put additional stress on the joints. People with mild joint pain should stick to low-impact exercises such as walking, cycling and swimming.
Starting with your doctor’s approval, of course, exercise can provide relief for aching joints. While it might seem counterintuitive, there are many reasons that exercise can benefit your joints. Lack of exercise can make joints more painful and stiff because you begin to lose the support of muscles and connecting tissue around the joint.
According to the Mayo Clinic Web site, exercise can strengthen supporting muscles, help you maintain bone strength, increase your energy, improve sleep and help you maintain a healthy weight. Just make sure you’re doing the right exercises and doing them properly. We suggest starting with a conversation with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Lotions or creams containing capsaicin, a substance found in chili peppers, have been found to relieve joint pain in some instances. The capsaicin blocks a substance that helps transmit pain signals in the body, and also triggers the release of endorphins which also block pain. The warmth generated can also help increase circulation in the area around the joint. However, these lotions can sometimes cause a burning or stinging sensation where they’re applied.
What about Short-Term Injuries?
If you’re experiencing temporary joint pain from a mild injury or overuse, just remember the acronym PRICE.
P. Protect the joint with a brace or wrap.
R. Rest the joint, eliminating any activities that cause pain.
I. Ice the joint for about 15 minutes several times a day to reduce swelling.
C. Compress the joint using an elastic bandage or wrap.
E. Elevate the joint above the level of your heart.
If your pain is severe or continuous, see your doctor to discover the cause. Determining the source of the problem is the first step to getting the appropriate treatment.