When to Seek Treatment for Lasting Joint Pain

misc image

When to Seek Treatment for Lasting Joint Pain

Sometimes, your body gives you obvious signs that it’s time to see the doctor, especially if you fall or get sick with the flu. Other times, a trip to the doctor can seem more like a guessing game, such as with aching joints. After all, isn’t it normal to have more joint pain when you age?

The short answer is that pain is your body’s way of telling you a problem, so it could be a sign you should see the doctor. However, it’s often more nuanced, especially when it comes to joint pain.

Instead of making assumptions about your joint pain, Dr. Adepero Okulaja at The Doctor’s House in Edina, Minnesota, recommends asking yourself the following questions. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment.

When did it start to hurt?

The confusing thing about pain is that you can hurt anywhere in your body, from your head to your toes. You can also hurt in all kinds of tissue, from muscles, tendons, and ligaments to bones and joints. To further complicate matters, you can have both acute or chronic pain.

Generally speaking, acute pain typically starts quickly and goes away when you heal. Chronic pain usually lasts longer than six months, even when you can’t see signs of damage.

Joint pain often causes chronic problems that can grow progressively worse without proper treatment, and it becomes increasingly common with age. So, if you’ve had lasting joint pain, it’s worth talking to Dr. Okulaja about next steps and exploring her anti-aging care services.

What’s the pain like?

If you’ve had joint pain, you may have noticed other symptoms as well, like stiffness, burning, or throbbing sensations in the area. In many cases, it’s common for these issues to be worse when you wake up but to improve with movement and activity. That said, too much activity can exacerbate your symptoms.

However, if you have pain that doesn’t improve with rest or if it affects your daily life, don’t wait to see Dr. Okulaja to find treatment options. Other symptoms you should never ignore include:

  • Joint deformity
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Joints that grind or make noise during movement
  • Difficulty straightening or bending the joint
  • Loss of motion
  • Intense pain
  • Pain with a fever
  • Unexplained weight loss

You should also seek care as soon as possible if you have heat or redness in the affected joint.

Does your pain respond to treatment?

You can’t cure all forms of joint pain, especially conditions like arthritis. But that doesn’t mean you should live in constant pain.

When you have persistent joint pain, think about the methods you’ve used to manage it, such as:

  • Ice or heating pads
  • Gentle exercise and stretching
  • Weight loss
  • Anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • Topical ointments or gels
  • Dietary supplements
  • Supportive devices, like canes, orthotic shoe inserts, or braces
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription medications

If these strategies aren’t providing effective relief, it’s time to see Dr. Okulaja for an evaluation, even if you’ve had treatment in the past.

Care for your joint pain

If you’re asking yourself whether you should go to the doctor, it’s likely time to schedule that appointment. Dr. Okulaja specializes in internal medicine and uses a total wellness approach to help people in her care feel their best, especially when managing chronic conditions like joint pain. 

If you have lasting joint pain, she can help you find solutions that restore function — and protect your quality of life. Contact The Doctor’s House to schedule a consultation by calling 612-333-4834 or requesting a visit online today.