Living with chronic joint pain

When you are living with chronic pain, life can often seem unbearable. There have been a number of studies carried out recently, looking at the impact the recent lockdowns have had on chronic pain patients. One study, carried out by the University of Liverpool, revealed those living with chronic pain during lockdown have experience increased pain, anxiety, and loneliness.

Currently, pain medications are one of the few treatment’s patients turn to for relief from joint pain. However, new guidelines have been released from NICE, advising against the use of pain medications for chronic pain patients. This includes common pain medications such as painkillers and ibuprofen. Instead, increasing exercise and undergoing CBT are being recommended.

Here, you’ll discover what treatment options are available to patients experiencing debilitating symptoms from chronic joint pain.

Why should pain medications be avoided?

The main reason doctors are being advised not to prescribe pain medication to patients with chronic pain, is due to the side effects they can cause. Opioids in particular are known to lead to severe side effects, including a high risk of addiction.

While pain medications are frequently used to treat chronic pain, there is actually very little evidence to suggest that they work. No studies have shown that pain relief medication helps to improve quality of life or pain in chronic pain conditions.

Exercise and antidepressants could be ideal alternative

According to NICE, exercise and antidepressants could be much more effective treatments for chronic pain patients. While exercising is probably the last thing you feel like doing, it is known to have a positive effect on pain reduction.

When you exercise regularly, it helps to keep the joints moving and the muscles strong. Daily exercise is also known to be extremely important to our mental health. It can aid in weight management, which will also reduce the pressure on the joints.

In terms of what type of exercise you should do, your doctor will be able to advise you of the best exercises to focus on. You could also see a physiotherapist who will be able to create a fitness plan based upon your chronic illness symptoms.

What treatment options are available?

The treatments available for chronic pain, largely depend upon the type you are suffering with. If you have chronic pain caused by Osteoarthritis in the knee or hip, a replacement surgery could help. Hip and knee replacements are a common procedure that are shown to provide significant improvements in quality of life and pain relief.

Booking a consultation with a hip or knee replacement specialist will help you determine whether surgery would be an ideal option for you. It is important to consider the risks and complications, alongside the benefits, before deciding if it is right for you. Call 020 8947 9524 to book a consultation with Mr Simon Bridle.