Training & Nutrition - What type of doctor for joint pain?
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12-29-04, 04:47 PM
I'm on a long tour and have been having trouble with joint pain. I saw a couple of chiropractors, and although they were affordable and their advice made sense, I didn't notice any improvement when I followed their directions. So I went to an orthopedist, who took $600 worth of X-rays (which under Texas law are now his property, not mine) which showed no damage, but nevertheless he told me the best thing for my health would be to stop touring. By all accounts the pain I'm experiencing is in my tendons, but beyond that diagnosis these guys may as well be reading my palms.
Is there another kind of doctor I should be seeing for this? Osteopath? Patrician? Orthodontist? Psychopath? Or am I better off just flushing my money down a toilet? Any relevant advice would be appreciated. Thanks! --Ben
12-29-04, 05:49 PM
Specifically what kind of pain are you having, and where? An orthopedist is the traditional "right" choice for joint pain, possibly followed by a rheumatologist if it's determined to be related to arthritic conditions. But I'd also try to find a good bike fit guy, as tendon problems are likely to come from bad fit or simple overuse, and there may be simple changes you can make that will improve things significantly. I'd also seek out some arnica gel, available at good health-food stores, which should be rubbed into sore areas several times a day, and which helped me a *lot* when I was suffering from forearm tendonitis.
12-29-04, 08:09 PM
I second the arnica gel, and the rheumatologist if it is arthritis related. I was diagnosed with arthritis at age 25, and the rheumatologist did a bunch of range of motion tests to see how far the degeneration was and was able to give me some advice on how to help slow the process down. Maybe a physical therapist or a personal trainer would be able to give you some stretches for those tight tendons as well. Also, see the thread on joint supplements. Many people recommend flax oil or fish oil and also glucosamine and chondroiten. I personally take the flax seed oil twice a day and have noticed a marked improvement in my joint pain. Good luck!
12-29-04, 08:53 PM
have you thought about a sports doctor? depending on what the doctor diagnoses, they will probably send you in for pysical therapy.
An orthopedist is the right type of doctor. There are sports orthopedists who specialize in sports related injuries. You might try finding one near you. But I suspect you'll get the same answer.
From what I have read, tendonitis is generally treated with anit-inflamatories (ibuprofen, tylenol, etc), rest, followed by gradual resumption of activity. If you have a bad case, a shot of cortisone may be worthwhile. Other overuse injuries are treated similarly. Since you are on a tour, this is probably not what you want to hear.
Depending on the level of pain, which must be pretty severe to spend 600 buckazoids on x-rays, you may have a tough decision to make regarding the rest of your tour.
12-30-04, 10:15 AM
Thanks for the tips! The pain was not very severe; I had no idea I was spending $600 on X-rays until I got the bill... gotta love our health care system. The pain was only severe enough to make cycling no fun anymore, which was more severe than I wanted it given that cycling is currently my full-time occupation. But I've gotten a lot of rest the last 5 weeks, and the pain is now almost entirely gone.
Specifically, I was having dull but increasingly sharp pain at the top, inner corner of each kneecap (i.e. left on the right knee, right on the left knee) when I would pedal, and that spot on each knee was also sore to the touch. I saw a chiropractor in Richardson, TX who sold me clip pedals (I had gone over 2000 miles with regular pedals and shoes!) and showed me the "biodynamically optimal" adjustment for my recumbent seat. Unfortunately, though this may have improved my knee pain (hard to say), it created a strain on my achilles tendons and hips that hadn't been there before, and by the time I reached Austin I was having trouble walking, let alone riding. Although the achilles pain was most acute, I was most worried about the hips because the pain there felt like it was in the actual joints.
Hence the $600 in X-rays: ankles, knees, and hips. But they showed no damage to the bones or cartiledge, which is great news. The stretches the second chiropractor gave me to do (I was also doing no stretches for 2000 miles!) feel good, whether or not they help.
Some friends have recommended ibuprofen, which the orthopedist prescribed in the form of Motrin, but he cautioned that a painkiller could allow me to continue doing harmful activities that I would otherwise know to stop. I'll check into this arnica gel you recommend.
Meanwhile, rest seems to have been the best medicine. I've had almost no pain the last few days, so I should be able to leave Austin on schedule!
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