Joints are vulnerable to several problems like soft-tissue damage, arthritis, fractures, sprains, strains, and infections. Fortunately, modern medicine offers several effective treatments to address joint pain, and we provide them all here at NEIL GHODADRA, M.D., in West Los Angeles and Thousand Oaks, California.
It’s essential to see Dr. Ghodadra for an evaluation and diagnosis before treating your joint. As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon renowned for his expertise in sports medicine and experience as a team physician to both the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls, Dr. Ghodadra has a reputation for unsurpassed musculoskeletal care.
Here’s a look at some of the joint pain treatments we recommend and offer.
1. Rest and activity modification
Although rest may not seem like an official treatment, it’s an essential part of the healing process, and for many people, it requires medical supervision. While rest is good in the early stages of healing, total and prolonged inactivity can trigger complications, such as decreased blood and oxygen flow and muscle atrophy.
Dr. Ghodadra assesses your injury or condition along with your post-recovery goals to develop the most appropriate treatment course. Professional athletes’ needs differ from elderly patients, and Dr. Ghodadra considers all relevant factors before prescribing rest.
Rather than thinking of rest as a time to be sedentary, think of it as activity modification. Dr. Ghodadra teaches you how to rest your affected joint while remaining active.
2. Splinting, casting, or bracing
When immobility is critical to healing, we may need to hold your joint steady with an orthotic device, such as a cast, splint, or brace. Depending on which joint we’re treating, you may also need a sling or crutches to support your orthotic and help you keep weight off the limb.
These devices are only a temporary part of your treatment. They play an important role during the initial healing stage and are later removed to allow for the next phases of your treatment.
3. Rest 2.0 (RICE treatment)
Rest alone is good, but rest plus ice, compression, and elevation are even better. When you suffer from joint pain, inflammation is nearly always part of the problem, so reducing it can ease your discomfort and restore a measure of mobility.
We use the acronym RICE to help you remember each component of this treatment. Rest gives your sore joint a break from the activities that aggravate it, ice numbs the pain and reduces swelling, compression helps support healthy circulation and aids in reducing inflammation, and elevating the joint also, you guessed it — helps reduce inflammation.
4. Over-the-counter pain relievers
Sometimes, the most effective treatment is simply an over-the-counter pain medication that provides relief and allows you to participate in your other treatment modalities without too much discomfort.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are especially effective for arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis. You have several NSAID options:
- Ibuprofen: brand names Advil and Motrin®
- Naproxen: brand names Aleve® and Naprosyn
Dr. Ghodadra advises you about which NSAID will work best for your joint pain and may recommend a prescription-strength NSAID for severe pain.
5. Physical therapy
After the initial period of rest, your joint will need supervised movement to promote healing. Although exercise helps, the correct form and execution of each movement are critical if you want to avoid reinjuring yourself or worsening your condition.
We work alongside you to ensure you master the movements that will increase your range of motion without causing further damage or pain. Physical therapy also helps by providing ultrasound, massage, and electrical stimulation therapies that alleviate stiffness and promote healing.
6. Platelet-rich plasma
Some soft-tissue injuries are notoriously slow to heal — torn cartilage, tendons, and ligaments are prime examples. Dr. Ghodadra has treated these injuries successfully with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a revolutionary form of regenerative medicine that taps into your body’s own healing capabilities.
He draws a sample of blood from your arm and spins it in a centrifuge to separate the individual components. He then extracts the layer containing only platelets, which are healing powerhouses.
He injects the concentrated serum of your own platelets into your joint, where it releases growth factors that accelerate healing. It takes a couple of weeks for the process to kick in, but once it does, you’ll experience pain relief, reduced inflammation, and faster healing.
7. Bone marrow aspirate concentrate injections
Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) injection therapy is another regenerative medicine solution Dr. Ghodadra offers. BMAC contains stem cells harvested from your bone marrow.
These cells start out as blank slates and have the unique ability to replicate themselves and morph into various tissue types. BMAC injections are known to aid the healing of fractures, slow the progression of arthritis, accelerate wound healing, and improve cartilage function.
If your painful joints are slowing you down, we encourage you to talk with Dr. Ghodadra, so you can enjoy pain-free movement once again. Give us a call us at 310-929-4787 to schedule a consultation today.