05.31.12

What Helps Chronic Joint Pain?

Posted in Cold Laser, Pain Management at 1:51 PM by Dr. Greathouse

Chronic Joint Pain

Chronic joint pain can be complicated. Sometimes there are complex neurological as well as psychological reasons why joint pain remains recurrent. But, these are actually low on the totem pole for causes. More commonly the problem is the misconception of two little suffixes, itis vs. osis.  Itis means inflammation and osis means abnormal tissue. Joints that repeatedly cause pain every time you use them develop abnormal tissue. For example, an inflamed tendon is called tendonitis. Once healed and repeatedly worn, the tissue develops abnormally and the condition becomes pain even with normal use.  In other words, tendonitis has become a condition called tendonosis. Many doctors fail to recognize this and continue to treat for inflammation. Given that there’s really no inflammation, anti-inflammatories usually don’t have much effect.

Aside from the fact that there’s little to no inflammation with a bout of tendonosis, the main consideration is that these conditions are simply no longer repairing or healing, as if in a dormant state, so it persists and wreaks havoc on the sufferer.

Another issue is reduced blood flow. Inflamed areas are rich in blood flow, which is necessary for healing; chronic problems typically have poor blood flow to the region. This has been demonstrated with very sensitive diagnostic ultrasound studies, more sensitive than MRI.

Common name problems associated with chronic pain include rotator cuff (shoulder) pain, patellar tendonosis (runners knee pain), Achilles heal (tendonosis), medial epicondyle elbow pain (golfers elbow) and of course tennis elbow as well on the lateral aspect, commonly called lateral epicondylitis and should be called epiconylosis. Any joint problem that has become chronic may fall into this category of pain production. In the spine it’s called spondylosis.

Because it’s a problem that commonly results from repeated wear, over time, it’s more commonly an adult problem.

Innovative treatment techniques have arisen over the years to help with osis’s but many times can only be found at specialized orthopedic or sports centers.

Treatment is typically designed to jump start healing and blood flow to the area. Techniques such as shockwave therapy and prolotherapy needling, act as wakeup calls to the painful region. Other techniques include nitroglycerin patches and platelet injection.

Physical therapy techniques that break down scar tissue in the involved regions basically do the same thing on a simpler scale. This might include different forms of joint and soft tissue mobilization and manipulation. Repetitive end range or mid-range therapeutic movement exercises literally remodel dysfunctional tissue, improving the tissue qualities over time. Cold laser has a jump start effect too, as it promotes increased circulation to the region and wakes up dormant cells, activating the natural repair process. It also has a natural analgesic (pain reducing) effect as well.

We provide the physical therapy techniques in combination with cold laser, both of which we’ve had good success with. So, if you have chronic joint pain, give it go. If that fails, then you can opt for the more expensive and invasive techniques out there.

Give us a call at 321 725-6314

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