Ranging from acute injuries on the basketball court to long-term chronic conditions, leg pain affects many people at different points in their lives. With a patient profile that is as wide as it is varied–from pro athletes to couch potatoes to elderly women–the treatments available for chronic leg pain have to be just as varied. It’s crucial to find a doctor who is willing to spend the time determining the underlying causes of your leg pain. After, he or she will be responsible for introducing a comprehensive treatment plan aimed at managing and relieving your leg pain.
If you suffer from leg pain, you can get started on your comprehensive treatment plan right now by learning as much as you can about your pain condition.
At Pain Doctor, we believe that patient education is key to a successful pain management plan. With the buy-in from both the patient and the healthcare team, treatments can be better tailored to a person’s lifestyle and specific pain condition. To that end, we’ve discussed a number of leg pain topics on the Inside Pain blog during the month of July.
It’s important to begin by better understanding your specific type of pain. If you suffer from hip pain, you may find it comforting in a way to know that another 116 million people in the U.S. also suffer from this condition. Causes for hip pain can originate with any of the following pain conditions:
- Inguinal hernias
- Herniated discs
- Sciatic nerve trauma
- Spinal stenosis
- Bone cancer
This month on Inside Pain, we also gave close attention to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a skeletal condition that develops with age due to the deterioration of old bone. As discussed in our blog post, “What Is Osteoporosis?“, there are many risk factors for developing this pain condition. These include:
- Health factors, such as smoking and drinking habits
- Eating disorders
- Other health issues, such as thyroid conditions and rheumatoid arthritis
If you suffer from osteoporosis, however, you may find hope in a new osteoporosis treatment option from the scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. While still in development, researchers were motivated to start work on this osteoporosis treatment because:
“We have been looking for new ways to stimulate bone formation. The tools we already have are very good at slowing the breakdown of bone, but we need better ways to stimulate new bone growth.”
By focusing on a key protein in the process of bone formation, scientists are hoping to isolate a new method for building bone that has been damaged due to osteoporosis. This new treatment idea differs from existing treatments that only focus on halting the progression of osteoporosis.
These recent areas of research and development are important because osteoporosis remains a serious condition for those who suffer from it. Over 55% of people in the U.S. over the age of 60 suffer from some form of osteoporosis, but many people do not know that they have the condition until they suffer a fracture from it. Unfortunately, fractures are a serious concern for those with osteoporosis.
As we reported earlier, endocrinologist and researcher Jackie Center notes that:
“[Osteoporosis] [f]ractures impose an enormous health burden, even with minimal hospitalization, and significantly impair the lives of patients and their families. The faster we act to reduce the risk of re-fracture, the better it will be for everyone.”
In addition to osteoporosis, we also discussed another bone condition that can lead to leg pain–osteoarthritis.
We took this topic to the dinner table by introducing pain-healthy meal options that can help reduce and prevent leg pain caused by inflammation due to osteoarthritis. Picnic or cookout options in particular provide fun options for anti-inflammatory summer favorites. You can also jazz up your standard milk options by blending it with fresh strawberries!
Another common hip pain condition–hip bursitis–can be avoided with a number of lifestyle changes. For those who don’t currently suffer from hip bursitis, we suggested these lifestyle changes:
- Taking it easy when beginning new exercise routines
- Using proper form and posture during the day
- Drinking lots of water
- Taking time off from activity if and when pain develops
By practicing these measures, you may be able to avoid some of the causes of hip bursitis, including trauma, injuries, or strains in the hips.
We also wrote about a 3-stage comprehensive treatment option for chronic knee pain as discussed by Arizona Pain Specialists’ Dr. Paul Lynch in a recent Pain Medicine News article. Above all, Dr. Lynch counsels patients to consider all options and go through appropriate diagnostic measures when treating chronic knee pain. He writes:
“There is a growing body of literature that supports the use of a variety of interventional procedures in the management of knee pain… Correlating the patient’s symptoms and physical exam findings with abnormal diagnostic test results can help to condense the differential diagnosis and aid in tailoring a treatment plan.”
Leg pain doesn’t stay isolated to the hips and knees–there are many leg pain conditions that cause pain in the feet.
- 1 in 10 people suffer from plantar fasciitis at some point in their life
- Hammer toe, a condition that can make walking painful, is most often caused by wearing improper footwear
- Simply warming up and stretching the feet before exercise can help prevent plantar fasciitis
- Persistent hammer toe pain may have to be treated with radiofrequency ablation or spinal cord stimulation
If you suffer from any of these or other forms of leg pain, you can always ask questions about your condition on any of our social media channels–from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest. Pain Doctor also hosts a variety of YouTube videos and more in-depth pain Condition and Treatment articles about specific pain topics for your furthering education.
Do you suffer from leg pain? What treatment options have you tried?
Image by John Loo via Flickr