Decreased activity may lead to increased pain.
Many people who have joint pain are are using pain management techniques such as medication, cold packs, heating pads, and “medicated” lotions. But it can be helpful to pursue an evaluation from an Occupational or Physical Therapist, especially if your activity is limited by your pain. It is all too easy to stop moving when there is pain, and that can actually lead to decreased strength, decreased mobility, and other health issues. Many studies have been performed regarding the importance of exercise and movement for pain control, rather than just “pills”. (Cochrane, 2014)
Strengthening muscles often leads to improved function and decreased pain.
It is well documented that strengthening hips and knees (JOSPT 2017) may help with decreasing certain types of knee pain. Studies have shown that quad strengthening, hip abduction strengthening, aerobic exercise, and mobilization have together made a positive impact on pain relief and function with arthritis in the knee and hip. Having a thorough evaluation from a health professional can provide targeted exercise and stretches for your particular problems.
An evaluation by a home therapist can give you targeted exercises, and provide pain reduction through education and individualized care.
However, a consensus of health care professionals would recommend looking at many other things to decrease pain- such as walker or cane height, shoe type/ fit, furniture set up, etc.-as well, to reduce pain. Your Occupational or Physical Therapist can provide evidence based recommendations regarding those things as well. Clinicians, if you would like to read more, check out this insightful article from JOSPT, 2019.
A home care therapist has a great opportunity to see someone in their own space with all their own equipment at hand. That personalized input can have a huge impact on helping seniors continue to be active, reduce their pain, and optimize their health.
If your loved one or patient is limited by pain, consider an evaluation by one of these professionals to help!
Have you made changes which led to decreased joint pain?