by John Cunningham, RN
Does standing up, walking or carrying something make your knee, hip or shoulder scream with pain? You’re not alone. Joint pain is extremely common – about one-third of adults have reported some form of joint pain in the last 30 days. While knee, shoulder and hip pain are the most common, joint pain can affect any part of the body and can range from mildly irritating to debilitating.
Joint pain can be caused by injury, excess weight or most commonly, arthritis. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 22 percent of adults claim to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis and by the year 2040, an estimated 78 million adults will have arthritis.
The impact is significant. About 43 percent of individuals with arthritis report limitations on daily activities – walking, gardening, playing with grandkids, and at times even getting out of bed. Everyone is at risk for arthritis – nearly one in two people will develop arthritis in the knee by the age of 85 and two in three people who are obese may develop it in their lifetime. One in four may develop painful hip arthritis by age 85.
Among adults with arthritis, nearly half (47 percent) have at least one other disease or condition such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or suffer from obesity. Regular physical activity is an important strategy for relieving pain and maintaining or improving function. Engaging in moderate physical activity at least three times per week can reduce the risk of arthritis-related disability by 47 percent. Yet, people with arthritis are less likely to be physically active than those without arthritis – often times because of the pain associated with moving.
Joint pain is not something people have to endure. Exercising and losing weight can be the most effective ways to reduce joint pain. Over-the-counter or prescription medications can help with swelling and pain. Physical therapy can be beneficial in strengthening the muscles around a joint or improving range of motion. Using a cane or avoiding activities that cause pain may also help.
However, when joint pain is severe enough that short walks, putting on shoes, dressing or other normal daily activities cause pain, joint replacement surgery may be the best option. Joint replacement surgeries are very successful and many people return to an active, pain-free lifestyle.
The Center for Joint Replacement at St. Mary Mercy Livonia features a comprehensive team approach to care. Expert orthopedic surgeons provide the latest technologies with high patient satisfaction. From pre-surgical education to individualized one-on-one care, early requirements for movement post-surgery and better pain management techniques, joint replacement at St. Mary Mercy ensures a quicker, more successful recovery. For more information, call 734-655-2400 or learn more about free monthly educational seminars.
John Cunningham, RN is the Program Coordinator for St. Mary Mercy Livonia’s Center for Joint Replacement. As the program coordinator, John provides a hands-on, patient navigation approach for every patient – from free, monthly educational seminars through pre-surgical classes, hospital admission and post-operative rehabilitation.