Common causes of muscle and joint pain

Could these problems be causing your discomfort?

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S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
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28 May 2019

Sprains and strains

A sprain is damage done to a ligament. As you can see from the diagram below, a ligament is a fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones. A strain, on the other hand, occurs when the muscle is stretched or torn. 

Sprains and strains commonly occur during exercise, particularly if you haven’t warmed up or are exercising on muscles that are already tired. Sports enthusiasts often sustain these injuries and then worsen the damage by refusing to rest. Taking a small amount of time out will speed up the healing process. 

It isn't just sporting activities that can cause sprains and strains, though, as activities such as gardening can also cause these kind of injuries.

Both sprains and strains cause inflammation, as well as symptoms such as bruising, pain, weakness and cramps. These issues usually occur around the ankle, knee, wrist, back, leg and foot.

Inflammation should be addressed quickly as it can rapidly become destructive to the tissues it attacks. Topical remedies such as Atrogel Arnica Gel can help here. This should be applied externally and works right at the start of the inflammatory process. It brings quick relief from discomfort as it works within 5-10 minutes. 

Internal remedies such as Atrosan Devil’s Claw Tablets also work well, though, depending on the size of the area affected. This product is a licensed herbal remedy for the relief of general aches and pains in the muscles and joints, as well as backache and rheumatic or muscular pain.

Other than this, it can help to apply ice and keep the area elevated.

Tendonitis (tennis elbow)

Tendonitis is damage done to a tendon (this is fibrous tissue that connects bone to muscle). It causes swelling and weakness in the affected area. 

Tendonitis is usually associated with repetitive or stressful movements such as typing frequently, playing racquet sports or doing heavy work such as bricklaying and painting. It may also occur after banging or knocking your elbow.

The movement that has caused the problem should be avoided but general exercises to strengthen the area can be useful. Atrogel Arnica Gel may also be applied topically to reduce pain.

On top of this, it is thought that taking glucosamine sulphate long-term can help to strengthen connective tissue, especially if you exercise regularly or have a job involving repetitive movements. 

Arthritic pain

There are two main types of arthritic pain: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis affects the weight-bearing joints and is often caused by wear and tear on these joints. The cartilage that separates the ends of the bones wears away, causing the bones rub together painfully. This can also lead to inflammation.

Glucosamine sulphate can, when taken long-term, help to repair damage done to cartilage by osteoarthritis. It needs to be taken in sufficient quantities, though, (about 1,500mg daily), and may take 2-4 months to show its effect.1  

Omega 3 supplements can also be helpful long-term to counter inflammatory tendencies, especially if oily fish are not present in the diet regularly. 

In addition, Atrogel Arnica Gel can be of benefit as this provides almost immediate relief from pain and stiffness. Again, Devil’s Claw can be taken internally to reduce inflammatory pain throughout the body. This does not lose effectiveness if used long-term, which may be necessary with a condition like osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system starts to attack the body’s own cells. This results in a great deal of inflammation and deterioration in the joints and tissues that are being attacked. 

Here, Atrogel can be applied to localised areas of pain. Devil’s Claw is also a suitable alternative to NSAIDs which are often associated with side effects and are not suitable for everyone. NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen.

Sufferers may also find that a magnesium supplement helps to control the pain, whilst nettle tincture is another helpful addition as it reduces the acidity found in rheumatoid arthritis.


This is a condition usually experienced long-term. It causes pain all over the body via muscles and fibrous tissue. There is often initial muscle tension or postural problems that initiate wider-spread muscle sensitivity, so manipulative treatments such as physiotherapy or craniosacral therapy can be helpful.

The pain is frequently connected with digestive problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as well as fatigue - it is often the result of poor sleep due to pain. 

A magnesium supplement may help to reduce muscle tension, whilst Atrogel Arnica Gel can bring further relief. Atrosan is licensed for pain, as well as inflammation, and so can help fibromyalgia symptoms and other aches and pains that often exist in the background and contribute further to discomfort.

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Atrosan Devil's Claw tablets can help to releive muscle and joint pain, rheumatic pain and backache. 

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General advice for dealing with muscle and joint pain

Tracking down the source of the pain is vital, so that steps can be taken to rectify it or encourage healing. The treatments you use will depend on the underlying problem. Therefore, check with your doctor, or consider consulting a physiotherapist, an osteopath, or a craniofacial therapist to pin-point the cause. Pain quickly affects other areas of life, such as sleep quality and mood, so be aware that other problems may resolve once the pain abates.

Different types of pain respond to heat or cold so it will be beneficial to find out which works for you. Warm baths with Dead Sea salts or with anti-inflammatory oils such as thyme or eucalyptus are both relaxing and pain-easing.

The most painful areas will also benefit from rest, the exception being sprained ligaments which can be moved gently if not too painful.

Arthritic tendencies can be countered with diet. Oily fish, for example, are anti-inflammatory. Leafy green vegetables, oats, dried fruit, seeds and beans are rich in calcium, as well as magnesium. Coffee and breakfast tea intake should be minimised, as should highly processed foods, as both of these contribute to inflammatory processes.



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