When To See a Specialist About Joint Pain

When To See a Specialist About Joint Pain

Your body depends on your more than 350 joints for mobility and flexibility. You depend on healthy joints for activities at home, at work, and at play. That means that your joints come under unique strains and pressures.

If your joints don’t let you bend and move with ease, your quality of life can decrease quickly. And, left untreated, progressively more damaged or worn joints can be the cause of debilitating chronic joint pain.

Still, especially as you get older, it’s common to experience some joint-related aches and pains. That goes double if you commonly engage in physical motions that tend to result in joint wear-and-tear, such as certain sports or professions. So, when should joint pain alert you to check in with a medical specialist?

The orthopedic surgery and physical therapy experts at South Texas Spinal Clinic evaluate joints for full function. If you’re suffering from joint pain, let our team evaluate your condition. We offer professional treatment to improve joint function and reduce joint pain from multiple locations in San Antonio and South Texas.

Joint pain and dysfunction

The many joints in your body can become damaged in multiple ways.

Traumatic injury is one of the most common causes of joint damage. The ligaments and tendons that hold your joints together can tear, fray, or snap. Or, the cartilage that cushions joints and allows free movement can wear down as a result of overuse, causing pain and friction.

Joint pain can also be an indicator of an underlying degenerative condition, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions often worsen over time as your joints degenerate.

When should you see a specialist?

If your joint pain is injury-related, and you also observe joint deformity, or if you can’t use the joint, seek professional medical attention right away. Your affected joint may need adjustment or surgical treatment to preserve future function.

For short-term joint pain, at-home care may be sufficient to relieve your symptoms. You should avoid putting more stress on painful joints. Don’t continue and worsen overuse. You may be able to protect a hurting joint with a brace or wrap. Mild compression can be helpful in addressing joint pain.

Try over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen to get your joint pain under control. You could also benefit from icing your painful joint for 15-20 minutes a few times a day, or from using a heating pad to ease muscle stiffness around the painful joint.

You should have lingering joint pain checked by a specialist if you have accompanying symptoms like swelling, redness, tenderness, or warmth in the affected area. These signs may indicate an underlying condition that could benefit from medical evaluation and treatment.

Joint pain treatment options

The team at South Texas Spinal Clinic can examine your painful joints and discuss treatments and therapies that may be able to improve your condition. Our recommendations depend on the unique details of each individual case.

After your evaluation, we might conclude that your at-home care regimen is enough, and recommend that you keep going with rest, icing, or heat therapy. We might also recommend targeted physical therapy exercises or stretches to relieve your joint pain and strengthen your affected joint.

In cases of severe joint damage, when your joint strength and mobility are threatened, we offer a full range of joint replacement surgery services. With a plastic, ceramic, and metal replacement joint, you can keep moving smoothly for years to come. Hip, shoulder, and knee replacement procedures are all common, and typically highly successful.

If you’re concerned about a joint-related problem, or are suffering from persistent or severe joint pain accompanied by other concerning symptoms, get in touch with the team at South Texas Spinal Clinic today. Schedule your appointment over the phone, or book online.

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