Musculoskeletal pain is a complex, chronic pain disorder that affects different parts of your body, such as joints, bones, neck, hips, knees, legs, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. This condition is among the leading causes of disability and is characterized by joint pain and stiffness, muscle spasms and weakness, and restricted range of motion.
With such adverse effects, it’s crucial to find treatment for this chronic pain disorder as soon as possible to ease your pain levels. But, this isn’t a walk in the park because the treatment of musculoskeletal pain is often challenging, with limited efficacy and high recurrence rates. If you wish to learn more how you can relieve musculoskeletal pain, read on and get to know some viable treatment options to consider.
What Causes Musculoskeletal Pain?
Before you can even start searching for ways to relieve musculoskeletal pain, medical experts recommend you first find out what causes it. This will help you know what not to do, which might further worsen the severity of this health condition.
Some of the main causes include:
- Overuse injuries
- Poor posture
- Joint dislocation
- Bone fractures
- Prolonged immobilization
- Inflammatory conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve compression, for instance, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic health conditions, such as fibromyalgia
It’s only after knowing what causes musculoskeletal pain that you can know the best measures to take to remedy this pain disorder from getting any worse.
What Are The Different Ways To Relieve Musculoskeletal Pain?
You’ll be glad to know that there are numerous ways you can relieve musculoskeletal pain, and it’s up to you to see what best works for you. The options available to you are:
- Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy is a type of treatment that can help you recover from injury, illness, or surgery. If you have musculoskeletal pain, the occupational therapist can also help you on your road to recovery and, in time, get to safely perform activities at home and work. This treatment can help decrease pain, increase strength, and improve balance.
During your occupational therapy treatment, the therapist will also teach you about energy conservation techniques and body mechanics to help you reduce stress on painful joints. These techniques will help prevent future injuries. In addition, they’ll assess your job’s physical demands and determine if modifications need to be made so that you can return to work safely and comfortably.
- Physical Exercises
Another way you can find relief from your musculoskeletal pain is through physical exercises. You should ease yourself into them by starting with muscle strengthening exercises and progressing to stretching exercises. When doing strengthening exercises, you may use a resistance band or weights. In contrast, stretching exercises are quite specific and designed to help regain the range of movement in the joints.
For physical exercise to be effective, you should do it at least three times a week, and if possible, every day. Your physiotherapist will show you how to complete the program. If you maintain this consistency and observe the recommended guidelines, you’ll manage to better deal with pain. You’ll also be able to improve function and increase your self-efficacy despite suffering from musculoskeletal pain.
With the availability of various forms of exercise that can be tailored to individual needs, exercise may be the best treatment option for musculoskeletal pain.
- Acupuncture Or Acupressure
Acupuncture and acupressure are two traditional Chinese medicine techniques that aid in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. In acupuncture, thin needles are inserted through the skin and left in place for several minutes or up to half an hour. On the other hand, acupressure involves applying pressure with the hands, fingers, or elbows to specific points on the body’s surface. These techniques stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, which help reduce pain.
The advantage of acupuncture and acupressure is that they may help you reduce or eliminate pain without needing medications. It may also help you recover faster and return to work or sports more quickly. This differs from cortisone shots that’ll only offer you temporary relief and risk causing injury to joint cartilage. And, with each treatment taking between 15 minutes to an hour, there’s no reason not to consider this to remedy musculoskeletal pain.
There’s quite a variety of medications that can help with chronic pain. These medications include over-the-counter drugs, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, as well as prescription drugs, like steroids and opioids. However, medication isn’t a long-term solution because drugs such as opioids and steroids are only prescribed for the short term. This is done because using them for a prolonged period or in high doses can negatively affect your health.
- Herbal, Vitamin, Mineral Supplements
Many people use herbal, vitamin, and mineral supplements to treat the musculoskeletal pain that they experience due to signs related to old age, sports injuries, or overexertion. These supplements may be effective because they’re believed to help decrease inflammation, restore balance among the body’s systems, and effectively treat pain. Using these supplements can do a great job of relieving pain, which will help increase your mobility.
There are many supplements you can use to help you get relief from musculoskeletal pain, and they don’t have any side effects. These include:
- Devil’s claw has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for many conditions. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, devil’s claw can immediately ease muscle spasms, pain, and swelling in joints due to arthritis or injury. You should take it with vitamin C to boost its effectiveness.
- Arnica montana has, for centuries, been used as a treatment for injuries and sore muscles. It helps with inflammation and speeds up your body’s ability to heal itself.
- Ginger contains gingerol and shogaol, which have anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease joint inflammation and pain. Chew fresh ginger or take powdered ginger in capsule form.
- Astragalus is another herb commonly used for musculoskeletal problems. Astragalus contains polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system, thereby reducing inflammation. It also contains antioxidants that help prevent tissue damage and phytochemicals that promote healing. It may also strengthen your heart muscle, improve your blood flow, and balance out blood sugar levels.
- Turmeric is known to reduce swelling and increase the flexibility of joints and muscles. Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder with a cup of water or milk. Drink twice daily after meals or before going to bed.
- Fish oil supplement helps improve joint health by reducing inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids prevent cell damage that can lead to inflammation.
- Boswellia has an anti-inflammatory effect. If you find it difficult to swallow capsules or tablets, try Ayurvedic ghee (clarified butter). Add two teaspoons of Boswellia extract to a teaspoon of ghee, and heat this mixture for three minutes until the Boswellia melts completely into the ghee. Take it twice daily after meals or before going to bed.
- Therapeutic Massage
Therapeutic massage can also effectively combat musculoskeletal pain affecting your bones, joints, or muscles. Massage therapy works by improving the circulation in a given area, and breaking up adhesions and scar tissue. Another reason massage therapy is good for pain is that it has a calming effect on the nervous system, which can help reduce excess stress levels that can lead to poor circulation. The release of endorphins during and after the massage will also make you feel better.
You need to find a properly trained and certified therapist to get the most benefit from a therapeutic massage. This way, you’ll prevent injuries and improve the effectiveness of your treatment. You also want to make sure that the therapist you choose has extensive experience to ensure that you’ll really get the results you’re after.
Although surgery should be used as a last resort, certain surgical procedures can help treat your musculoskeletal pain affecting joints, bones, or muscles. And, with the advancements in technology and surgical techniques, doctors have now found various ways to treat musculoskeletal pain. The types of surgeries may vary from one to another, the common goal is to relieve the pain or deformity. There are a few surgeries that are done to help treat joint pain, cartilage problems, and muscle pains.
Some of the different surgeries that can alleviate musculoskeletal pain include basic procedures, like joint replacement surgery. Spinal fusion surgery is also another option and can be completed to correct structural problems causing your pain to occur.
Another surgical procedure that helps alleviate musculoskeletal pain is laminotomy, which entails removing a portion of the vertebrae placing pressure on the nerves. This can relieve pressure on spinal nerves and reduce pain by increasing mobility in the spine. In addition, soft tissue and cartilage surgery, which involves treating damaged cartilage and ligaments in your joints, can also help ease musculoskeletal pain, so you can move smoothly.
Musculoskeletal disorders are common health concerns. Thankfully, there have been advancements in medicine, so there are different ways to treat musculoskeletal pain, as detailed in this article. But, if you do experience musculoskeletal pain, remember to always consult with a doctor to find the best method for treating your health concerns.