Arthritis Joint and Muscle Pain

Joint and muscle pain are some of the most frequent complaints we encounter.  Most easily defined as aching and stiffness in the joints, bones and muscles of the body.  Even the spine can be affected. Arthritis has many forms and causes.  Some of these are a natural course of getting older and others are caused by unusual ‘wear and tear’ caused on the job, or even normal routines of every-day living.  Other causes are genetic, including childhood diseases, certain types of imbalances in our body chemistry such as gout or sickle cell anemia.

There are many ways to make the diagnosis. Most importantly is a thorough history and physical examination.  This will confirm arthritis as a specific diagnosis without much further studying in most cases.  If there are any specific tests to be performed your doctor can discuss these with you.  Most commonly diagnostic imaging is used.  These are indicated based upon the history of the illness, type, location and severity of pain.  Such studies include:

1.  Ultrasound
2.  CT (CAT Scans)
3.  MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Each type of imaging is specific for what the cause of the arthritis is expected to be.  That includes trauma or injuries to the joints, inflammation or infection, and

Because there are so many causes, there is no single, simple way to treat.  Most commonly, however arthritis can be treated by common medications that can be purchased without a prescription.  The most common medications are called Non-Steroidal-Anti-Inflammatory, or NSAID’s.  These include:

  1. Motrin known as Ibuprofen or Advil

  2. Naproxen or Naprosyn known as Aleve

In the non-prescription strength, these medications are equally effective and equally tolerated.  The dosing is based upon the severity of pain but should never exceed that as labeled on the package.  For Motrin or the dosing should start at the lowest effective dose not exceed 2,000-2,400 mg for an adult daily and should always be taken with a meal to minimize the effect on stomach lining.  Always consult your health care provider about any other medications that may interact with this medication, in particular blood thinners and blood pressure and heart medicines.

Naprosyn should be started at the lowest effective dose and increased only as needed for increased pain.  Dosing can range from 500 mg to 1000 mg daily depending on the severity of the pain.  Always start with the lowest effective dose and in consultation with your health care provider, increase the dose depending on the severity of your pain.

For pediatrics or children, the dosing is based upon their weight.  The link attached will guide you.

Arthritis can be also be treated without taking medications by mouth.  This includes:

1.  Physical therapy
2.  Ultrasound therapy

Sometimes certain arthritic conditions require surgery.  An orthopedic surgeon should be seen in these instances.  The surgical procedures depend on the location and severity of pain or other symptoms.

1.  Steroid injection
2.  Arthroscopic joint surgery for extremities
3.  Spinal surgery