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How to make chronic joint pain a thing of the past

| Healthy You | Chronic Conditions

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Five reasons to explore your options for better joint health.

When is joint pain considered chronic? Three months or more, according to doctors. But just because your pain has lasted this long doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.

“When you feel joint pain every day for several weeks, you might think you just have to live with it,” says Jeffrey M. Krusniak DO, an orthopedic surgeon at PeaceHealth in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. 

“You don’t have to accept chronic joint pain as a part of your life. There are many different options you can try to manage the pain.”

Here are five reasons to be proactive about your joint health:

1. Review various effective treatments: A variety of treatments are available to help manage chronic joint pain. Depending on the severity of your condition, treatments may include:

  • Medication
  • Injections in the painful joint
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise 
  • Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or watching your diet
  • Healthy thinking
  • Surgery, if or when other options stop working

Work with your healthcare provider to identify the best treatment plan for you. You can help lessen your joint pain and improve your overall health and well-being.

2. Get treatment to prevent further damage: Your healthcare provider can help you understand what’s causing your joint pain. Is it due to a new or old injury? Could it be due to conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis?

By treating your joint pain, you can help prevent further damage and pain. This also helps you reduce the risk of developing more serious conditions in the future.

3. Take action to improve your mobility and function: When you’re hurting, you’re less likely to be active. That doesn’t usually make things better. In fact, it can make you feel stiff and sore. That can make everyday tasks more difficult.

If you take steps to keep your joints from stiffening up, you can improve your ability to do what you need to do. And that helps you enjoy and maintain your independence.

4. Work toward less joint pain to enhance your quality of life: Living with chronic joint pain can take a toll on your mental health. It can be discouraging and cause you to stop doing things you used to enjoy.

By trying different treatments, you can find something that works and get back to more activities that make you feel fulfilled.

5. Believe you can do something about your pain: You don't have to stay silent about your chronic joint pain. Seek treatment. Work with your healthcare provider to find relief for your symptoms.

“It can be easy to get discouraged about chronic joint pain,” says Dr. Krusniak. “There’s no doubt that it’s challenging. I’ve seen many patients who found relief. It’s worth exploring your options.”

If you're suffering from chronic joint pain or a concern about your bones or muscles, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or a PeaceHealth orthopedic specialist.

portrait of Jeffrey M. Krusniak DO

Jeffrey M. Krusniak DO

Dr. Krusniak came to PeaceHealth from Cadillac Orthopaedics in Michigan where he practiced for the past 12 years. Dr. Krusniak began his professional career as a mechanical engineer for General Motors. His need to work more closely with people prompted him to pursue a career in medicine. Dr. Krusniak believes the problem-solving aspect of medicine is similar to engineering and his combined background complements the mechanical aspects of orthopedic surgery. He is board-certified in orthopedic surgery with clinical interests in arthroscopy of the shoulder and knee, hand surgery, joint replacement of the hip and knee, as well as fracture care. In addition to medicine, Dr. Krusniak has a special interest in personal nutrition and fitness. He is an avid mountain and road biker. When not practicing medicine or biking, Dr. Krusniak enjoys kiteboarding, waterskiing and snowboarding with his wife and two sons.