When to See Your Doctor for Joint Care

People often begin to experience joint pain after an injury or as they get older. However, what do you do if you experience pain without having received an injury to a joint, or you experience joint pain unexpectedly? You want to know whether to see your doctor for joint care or whether it is all right to treat your pain with a natural supplement or over-the-counter painkillers. Keep reading to learn how to tell the difference.
Obviously, you will want to pay attention when you begin experiencing any type of pain, whether in the joints or elsewhere. However, there is much you can do at home before deciding to call the doctor.
* You could try soaking the affected joint in warm water. This will reduce swelling and reduce pain.
* Gently massage the joint and the area surrounding the joint. This gentle stimulation may return flexibility to the joint and ease the pain somewhat.
* Avoid repetitive activities that may be causing the joint pain.
* Regularly and gently, stretch muscles and tendons to reduce painful joints.
* Take an over-the-counter pain reliever and see how quickly the pain returns.
* Keep a journal about the pain in your joints so you will have everything you need if you do go see your doctor.
Some joint pain is to be expected. There may have been an injury, illness affecting the joints or simple wear and tear. This can be normal; however, your joint pain may also be the sign of an infection or arthritis. Consider the following when deciding if it is time to see your doctor.
* If you experience pain in your joints that is unexplained and appears with no warning, it is best to seek an appointment with your doctor.
* The joint is swollen, warm to the touch, red and tender.
* Pain in the joint persists for three or more days without abating.
* You are experiencing joint pain and a fever but have not recently had the flu.
* You have lost weight without trying to do so and experience joint pain.
If any of the following occur, it is best to head directly to the emergency room:
* You have received a serious injury to the joint.
* The joint appears deformed or misshapen.
* Swelling occurs suddenly.
* You cannot move the joint at all.
* The pain in the joint is severe.
Once you have decided to go see your medical doctor, naturopathic doctor or go to the emergency room, be prepared to provide information about how and when you feel the pain, and whether the pain is on the surface, in one spot or all over.
Doctors will also want to know which joints are the most painful, if there are other symptoms associated with the pain like feeling as if the joint will give way, and how long you have had the pain. The doctor will also ask you how the pain affects your daily life and whether it keeps you from doing what you would normally do.
By: Dr. Sandra Miranda, ND

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