Is it difficult to twist, turn or bend at the knees, hips or shoulders? Do you have swelling, warmth and redness in your joints or in the soft tissues around your joint every time you run, jump or exercise? Does the pain seem to linger for weeks? If so, then it’s time to see a physician.These symptoms could indicate an underlying condition, says Dr. Jason Lowry, an independently practicing orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.Millions of Americans suffer varying degrees of pain and loss of mobility due to joint pain and chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout. More than half of those affected are under the age of 65.“The most common joint conditions are muscle strains, which can be caused by weak muscles and pulled tendons,” Lowry explains. “Overuse and repetitive motion using the same joints can also cause injury, which is a more serious situation that can lead to chronic pain and disability.”A variety of treatment options can help lessen joint pain and reduce recovery time.If your joint or soft tissue starts to swell, refrain from the activity for a few days. Lowry recommends, “Give the joint a rest, and when you start up again use braces to help support the joint and relieve some of the pressure.”Lowry also encourages people to reduce their risk of developing joint pain by strengthening their muscles with low-impact movement, including walking, aquatic exercises, riding a bike and physical therapy.Joint pain may be caused by something as simple as weight gain.“Adopting a healthy lifestyle and losing a few pounds with good nutrition can help to keep your joints healthy,” he says.When you need relief, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate the symptoms with few side effects, including easing the pain associated with osteoarthritis in the knee.These conditions can improve with treatment, and an orthopedic surgeon can diagnose and treat the cause of your pain. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can feel better.“We use a total approach to patient care, starting with medicines, physical therapy, and other treatments to help strained muscles and tendons heal, treat abnormalities in the limbs and extremities, and repair fractures and dislocations,” Lowry explains.If early treatments aren’t effective, surgery may be an option.“When it’s necessary, we can replace worn, painful knee or hip joints with an artificial joint that can help patients move freely again,” he says.When joint problems limit your mobility and hinder your activities, contact a physician who can help restore your active lifestyle. Visit MethodistHealthSystem.org/or call 866-584-8104today.After scheduling hip or knee replacement surgery with an independently practicing orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield, attend the Methodist Mansfield Joint Academy. The Joint Academy offers a comfortable learning environment with a handful of fellow patients. The three hour program includes:A nurse to greet and guide you to your classroomExpress registration to eliminate delays the day of surgeryEngaging classroom instruction about what to expect from pre-op, joint replacement surgery, and recovery taught by Methodist Joint Academy clinical specialistsA tour of the orthopedic floor, designed specifically for the needs and comfort of joint replacement surgery patientsDiscussion with a small group of fellow joint replacement patients to build camaraderie and provide motivation and support after hip or knee surgeryA brightly colored t-shirt and sports bag with the Methodist Joint Academy logo - Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.