Joints are complex structures located throughout many parts of your body, connecting bones and providing support and movement. But whether it’s through overuse, underuse, injury, or various medical conditions, joint discomfort can be a stressful and distracting issue affecting your everyday life.
Before you jump to conclusions or self-diagnose, there are many things you can do to address the causes of joint discomfort and improve your overall joint health.
Let’s learn about these possible causes and offer some treatment options that you can incorporate into your daily routine for better mobility, comfort, and quality of life.
What causes joint discomfort?
Getting to the root cause of joint discomfort requires some education and an understanding of how joints work. Let’s look into the common causes of joint discomfort before we delve into treatments and ways to soothe affected joints.
The primary cause of joint discomfort is overusing a particular joint or placing unnatural pressure or stress on a specific area of the body. Repetitive motions, whether through exercise, sports, or certain occupations, can strain joints over time and lead to discomfort in acute or chronic forms.
When joints are used too much in a short timeframe, the body responds with tension; it’s the body’s way of saying that there’s too much pressure and irritation in a certain area, and signals are sent to the brain that tell you something isn’t quite right.
For example, distance runners may experience joint discomfort in the hips, knees, or ankles, while tennis and pickleball players often get irritation in the elbow or shoulder joints. Even though more complex joints are mobile and lubricated by synovial fluid, there’s only so much these joints can take with prolonged and repetitive use.
Remember that there are several other supporting structures around major joints, including tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, that can also become tense or uncomfortable.
This is why it’s important to be mindful of your movement and use proven techniques to keep pressure off joints when irritation and discomfort become too much to handle.
We usually think of joint discomfort as a result of too much movement or unnatural usage, but not using joints enough is another possible source of discomfort. This is especially common among cartilaginous joints like the intervertebral discs of the spine, which can become compressed or strained by not getting the proper amount of movement.
If you’re seated at a desk for hours a day or operating a work vehicle, joints can cry out when they aren’t utilized properly. While joints are resilient, friction can build up over time and cause discomfort, especially if you neglect proper posture or use a non-ergonomic setup while working.
It’s crucial to find the sweet spot for joint usage and ensure you’re providing a sufficient range of motion, while also not pushing them beyond their natural limits.
Certain medical conditions
There’s a chance that joint discomfort is the result of underlying medical conditions that can’t be addressed with lifestyle changes. If you are doing everything you can to soothe your joints but aren’t finding relief, it’s possible you are experiencing a deeper issue.
If you suspect an underlying medical condition, consult your healthcare provider for medical advice. You might be dealing with a hidden injury that you ignored at first, but that has worsened slowly over time until the discomfort becomes too much to bear.
Of course, you want to look at all of your options and connect with a medical expert you know and trust. One of the best remedies is prevention, so if you expect your condition to worsen, make the necessary lifestyle changes now to get ahead of the problem.
What are typical remedies for joint discomfort?
The usual treatments for joint discomfort typically begin with medications or assistive devices. To find the cause of your discomfort, your doctor may perform X-rays, blood tests, and other evaluations. These tests can help identify injuries, like sprains, as well as any underlying illnesses.
Sometimes, healthcare providers may recommend joint injections administered directly into the joint to relieve discomfort.
Alternative treatments such as massage, acupuncture, or herbal supplements may be a helpful alternative to conventional methods, but these are not as common and could be costly.
Consider a broad range of treatment options, and prioritize preventive care and overall well-being to maximize your daily comfort and function.
How can I support my joint health in general?
If you’re experiencing minor but persistent joint discomfort, there are several things you can do at home before seeking medical intervention. As always, the sooner you incorporate proactive recovery methods, the better.
The body responds well to repetition and consistency, so continue with these tactics even if you’re beginning to feel better! It’s easy to neglect good habits when the discomfort is gone, but that’s exactly when you should continue to do what works.
With that in mind, let’s examine some proven ways to deal with joint discomfort that you can make part of your everyday life.
While you should always consult a professional physical therapist to get the best exercises for your unique situation and ability level, there are a few general points to follow when addressing joint pain through this treatment type.
Whether you’re experiencing discomfort and swelling from overuse or feelings of tension and stiffness from a lack of movement, you can use these clues to tailor a simple routine that you can perform safely in your own home.
The first category of PT includes range of motion exercises, meant to promote joint mobility by using slow, gentle motion of the affected joint. Your goal is to return to a maximum range of motion by taking things slow and allowing the body to regain familiarity with its natural abilities.
While you might need to work through some tension and discomfort at first, you’ll soon find that movement is the best medicine, especially when paired with other healthy habits and supplements we’ll outline here soon.
As you achieve a greater range of motion and flexibility, consider adding some strengthening exercises to your plan. Don’t jump straight into weighted squats, however; try knee bends or wall-sits to build your strength back slowly and restore some mobility in the surrounding muscles of the joint.
Before long, you’ll build up a repertoire of safe and effective movements, ranging from stretching and strengthening to low-impact aerobics, to build strength and flexibility in the target area.
Hot and cold therapy
As you explore various PT options for strength and flexibility in the target joints, add hot and cold therapy to your routine. However, before you reach for an ice pack or a heating pad, there are some guidelines to know so that you use the right treatment for the right situation.
Hot therapy is an ideal element of a warmup routine, providing a heating effect to the target area and relaxing muscles to promote increased blood flow. This is a great way to prepare for a physical therapy routine and get rid of the stiffness that might hold you back from a full range of motion.
Cold therapy is ideal when you feel increased heat or swelling in the area — the ice will alleviate some of this tension and provide soothing sensations. This is a great way to cool down after a physical training session or after you’ve completed a day of work.
A joint-healthy diet is often about taking things away rather than adding elements. Start by removing foods that could lead to joint discomfort, including fried foods, sugar-packed treats, and other processed items that cause a harsh reaction in the body.
Opt instead for natural foods like lean protein sources, plenty of fruits and veggies, and carbohydrates that digest slowly without spiking blood sugar. This will promote equilibrium in the body, avoid the buildup of acidity, and keep your mood stable while also supporting weight loss or fitness goals more generally.
CBD offers a great way to take a natural approach to joint health without reaching for over-the-counter medicines with possible side effects. From athletes to weekend warriors, there are plenty of ways to take CBD and support overall joint health.*
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally-occurring compound found in cannabis that can help reduce discomfort in joints and the surrounding muscle tissue.* Let’s check out the science of CBD and how it can help your joints and offer some tips to use it properly.
The science of CBD and joint discomfort
CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is an ancient, deeply embedded set of cells and transmitters throughout the body, supporting everything from muscle and joint health to psychological stability and even immune strength.*
With the right CBD protocol, you can make the most of your physical therapy efforts and enjoy many of the additional benefits CBD brings to the table for joints and other aspects of health.
How to use CBD for joint discomfort
The most targeted and direct way to take CBD for joints is with soothing and relieving skin creams like our award-winning full spectrum topical cream. The full spectrum hemp extract promotes the entourage effect of many cannabinoids at once while also providing the natural cooling effects of peppermint, MSM, shea butter, and more.*
Consider adding ingestible CBD products to your daily routine for general well-being and support for the ECS. You can kick off your day with our full spectrum anytime gummies, or wind down your day with a CBN rest tincture before your evening tea.*
The bottom line
Joint discomfort can get in the way of doing what you love in life, but there are ways to navigate the issue and support your overall wellness.
Sunmed is here to help you build a healthy, sustainable CBD regimen to relieve discomfort and enjoy the joint strength and flexibility you need to thrive through your day-to-day life.*
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."