What can patients with pain in their joint or pain in knee or shoulder or hip or any other musculoskeletal pain do to decrease their pain as well as improve their quality of life during these circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic?

Patients who have pain in any part of their body that may be in the shoulder or an elbow or wrist or a hip or a knee or ankle should treat themselves by using usual initial measures which include rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

They can use anti-inflammatory medications including ibuprofen or naproxen with or without Tylenol.  In patients who have had pain for a longer period of time, heat in itself or a combination of heat and ice may help decrease the pain and swelling. If such usual measures do not help, the patient may contact the physician for advice with regards to further management.  

They can do home physical therapy in the form of stretching and strengthening the muscles.  Exercises can be found on online platforms in the form of dedicated exercises, yoga, Pilates, cardio exercises, which can help keep their joints supple and active. Exercises can make the patient sore but they should avoid doing exercises that cause the onset of pain.

Who needs to consult a physician under these circumstances?

Patients who have worsening pain and who are not able to do their activities of daily living because of pain or swelling or inflammation should get a consult with their physician. The physician can help in management or give advice, which can help them improve their symptoms as well as the quality of life. 

If outpatient physical therapy is not possible, the patient should try to do exercises by themselves at home.  Considering that all elective surgeries and procedures have been put on hold, we are trying to treat our patients using nonoperative means so as to help them tide through this period.  Patients who do not get better by any form of treatment management can consult their physician.

What are we doing to help such patients?

We do understand that in this tough time of COVID-19 pandemic, patients do not want to be out to avoid any social contact and avoid getting infected by COVID-19.  We also stand by the same norms of social distancing and are trying to treat our patients in their homes themselves. 

We at Complete Orthopedics, are open for new and follow-up patients. We provide online consultations via phone or other apps, so as to help these patients using nonsurgical approaches or modalities.  We are trying to have the patients cope during these uncertain times of COVID-19 pandemic and hope to improve their symptoms and quality of life.  

We also guide them through medications as well as physical therapy at home or outpatient as per their preference. Patients can be seen in the office if needed after the phone consult. We are performing surgeries that are urgent and emergent in nature.

What are the red flags for patients with joint/musculoskeletal pain?

The patients who have joint/musculoskeletal pain with any of these following conditions should seek medical attention as soon as possible:

  • Immunocompromised comorbidities like on chemo or radiotherapy or having a disease like HIV or AIDs or being on prolonged corticosteroid therapy.
  • IV drug users.
  • Fever of more than 100 degrees centigrade.
  • Significant trauma from a fall or accident.

I am Vedant Vaksha, Fellowship trained Spine, Sports and Arthroscopic Surgeon at Complete Orthopedics. I take care of patients with ailments of the neck, back, shoulder, knee, elbow and ankle. I personally approve this content and have written most of it myself.