Joint Pain Information

Joint Pain Information

Joint pain is an occurrence that many associate with old age and arthritis. However, joint pain may affect people of any age, race, and sex and has many causative factors.

 

 

Joint Pain



Anatomy As It Relates to Joint Pain

Joints are also called articulations. Since bones can’t bend without damage occurring, they depend upon the joints placed between them to allow for movement. Every bone in the human body, with the exception of the hyoid bone that anchors the tongue, articulates (connects) with at least one other bone at a joint. The shoulder joint, for example, articulates the clavicle, scapula, and humerus bones. The knee joint is another example. It’s the largest joint in the human body and has two separate articulations - one between the femur and tibia bones and one between the femur and patella bones.

The joints serve two anatomical purposes. First, they hold the bones together. Second, they allow skeletal flexibility and movement.

Medically, joints are usually classified into three classes based on the movement that they allow:

1. Synarthrosis - bone contact is separated by a very thin layer of fibrous connective tissue. These joints are immobile. An example would be the suture joints in the skull.
2. Amphiarthrosis - the bones articulating at these joints are connected by fibrocartilage. These joints are slightly moveable. An example would be where the ribs connect to the sternum.
3. Diarthrosis - this group of joints, also called synovial joints, account for most of the joints in the body. These are freely moving joints. An example would be the knee joint. This joint has a capsule surrounding the surface of the joint that lubricates the joint surfaces with slippery synovial fluid. There are six different types of freely movable joints: ball-and-socket joints, such as the shoulder; condyloid joints, such as in the fingers; the saddle joint of the thumbs; pivot joints in the neck; hinge joints, such as in the elbow; and gliding joints, such as the ankle tarsals.

Joint Pain Classification And Causes

Joint pain isn’t a diagnosis, but rather a symptom. It should be considered a warning flag that something else is going on in the body. The causative factor may be from one of two broad categories - inflammatory/ arthritic joint pain or arthralgia. Arthralgia literally translates to “joint pain.” It should only be used to describe joint pain that isn’t inflammatory. Inflammatory joint pain is described as one or more of the various forms of arthritis.

There are innumerable conditions, diseases, disorders, infections, medications, and injuries that can cause either arthralgia or inflammatory joint pain:

* Epsoriatic arthritis - a form of joint inflammation that occurs in some people who have psoriasis of the nails or skin.
* Reiter syndrome or reactive arthritis - a form of joint and tendon inflammation that’s most often related to either a genitourinary or gastrointestinal tract infection or a sexually transmitted disease.
* Ankylosing sodalities - inflammation of the sacroiliac and hip joints, synovial joints in the spine, and the adjacent soft tissues.
* Rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis - the autoimmune form of arthritis.
* Osteoarthritis - the degenerative form of arthritis.
* Gouty arthritis - a metabolic disorder where excess uric acid is produced and deposited in the joints.
* Infectious diseases - Epstein-Barr viral syndrome, hepatitis, Lyme disease, mumps, measles, German measles, rheumatic fever, influenza, chickenpox, and such.
* Diseases of the bones- bone cancer or other type of cancer that has spread into the bones, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, rickets, Paget‘s disease, and such.
* Fibromyalgia syndrome - chronic pain in the joints, bones, and/or muscles.
* Bursitis - inflammation of the small fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that provide a cushion between bones, tendons, and muscles surrounding or inside a joint.
* Tendonitis or tendinosis - inflammation or degenerative deterioration of the tendons.
* Injuries - fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, whiplash, contusions, and such.
* Sarcoidosis - abnormal collections of granulomas (inflammatory cells) form as nodules in the organs.
* Kawasaki disease - an autoimmune disease affecting the skin, blood vessels, lymph nodes, and mucus membranes of the body.
* Allergic reactions or side effects to a long list of various medications.

Joint Pain Presentation

The above causes can produce joint pain that is mildly uncomfortable, but doesn’t interfere with activities of daily living, or pain that is severe and limits joint mobility. The causative factor will also determine whether joint pain occurs with a rapid onset or more gradually. Joint pain may affect one joint or multiple joints. Joint pain may accompany other symptoms of joint damage or disease - localized swelling, redness, heat, stiffness, and loss of or impaired joint function.

 

Exercises

1. In relation to a degenerative arthritic condition, the goal of any exercise is to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint and maintain range of motion to prevent joint degeneration from progressing. Of course, this must be done without overly stressing the anatomical structures. The Stretching and Strengthening exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility, while not further inflaming or irritating the joint.


Massage Treatment

1. The arthritic joints should be frequently massaged.

2. One at a time, you should gently take hold of and release each muscle group surrounding the joint.

3. Depress and propel your fingers in a circular pattern around the soft tissues of the joint, paying special attention to the crevices near joints and between bones.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the affected joint because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the affected joint, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the affected joint as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the affected joint, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the affected joint, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the joint can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your affected joint to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the affected joint. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your affected joint with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in the affected joint that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your affected joint may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your affected joint you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the affected joint, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your affected joint with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. Sinew Injury Poultice and/or the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.

2. Apply the Sinew Injury Poultice on your affected joint to relieve residual pain and stiffness, significantly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and further promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Injury Poultice is particularly useful if your affected joint is more painful in cold and damp weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment and/or the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.

3. Soak your affected joint with the Sinew Warming Soak to ease joint pain, increase range of motion, and strongly increase local circulation to drive coldness and dampness out of damaged tissues. The Sinew Warming Soak is particularly useful if your affected joint is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. The soak can be used by saturating a towel in the liquid and applying it to your affected joint. Chronic Sinew Liniment and/or the Sinew Injury Poultice can be used in-between applications.

4. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.