This week's question -
I get a lot of pain in my joints, which can vary in intensity, How do I know when something happens I need to seek care for, vs a "normal" fluctuation in this pain?
My answer -
I will start with my usual disclaimer of saying that you know your body better than anyone, and if you feel like you need to go to a doctor or hospital please sign off your email and head straight there! However, there are some factors that can help make this decision.
1. Did you have an accident or injury that preceded this new pain? If you have new, sharp pain after an accident or injury, it is probably best to get medical care
2. Is this new pain severe and is it lasting? Do my normal management strategies help it? - If you have new severe pain that is lasting a few hours its probably time to get checked out. If you normally manage pain with heat/ice/stretching/exercising, give those things a try. If they are helping reduce the severity of the pain, and that decrease is lasting, you may be able to stick with those strategies before moving forward.
3. Do any of my joints feel stuck or like I cannot move them through a range of motion despite pain? If any joint feels stuck/blocked etc and can not be moved, it is likely time to seek medical care. Depending on your history and condition, this could be a PT/chiro/massage therapist rather than an MD.
There are a lot of factors that go into deciding what to do when new pain comes up, but hopefully these are a start!