Joint Pain (Joint Aches)

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Definition

What is joint pain?

Joint pain, also known as joint aches, refers to any discomfort, pain or inflammation arising from any part of a joint — including cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons or muscles. Most commonly, however, joint pain refers to arthritis or arthralgia, which is inflammation or pain from within the joint itself.

Joint pain can be mild, causing soreness only after certain activities, or it can be severe, making even limited movement, particularly bearing weight, extremely painful.

How common is joint pain?

Joint pain is extremely common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can joint pain usually be associated with?

Related signs and symptoms include:

  • Joint redness,
  • Joint swelling,
  • Joint tenderness,
  • Joint warmth,
  • Limping,
  • Locking of the joint,
  • Loss of range of motion of the joint,
  • Stiffness,
  • Weakness.

Causes

What causes joint pain?

One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis. The two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

According to the American College of Rheumatology, OA is most common in adults over the age of 40. It progresses slowly and tends to affect commonly used joints like the:

  • Wrists
  • Hands
  • Hips
  • Knees

Joint pain due to OA results from a breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints.

The second form of arthritis is RA. It more commonly affects women than men. It can deform and debilitate the joints over time. RA causes pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the joints as the body’s immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joints.

Joint pain can also be caused by:

  • Bursitis, or inflammation of the cushioning pads around joints
  • Lupus
  • Gout
  • Certain infectious diseases, such as mumps, influenza, and hepatitis
  • Chondromalacia of the patella, or a breakdown of the cartilage in the kneecap
  • An injury
  • Tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendon
  • An infection of the bone
  • Overuse of a joint
  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Rickets

The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of joint pain. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for joint pain?

There are many risk factors for joint pain, such as:

  • Excess weight can put pressure and stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees.
  • Smoking is harmful to the body and contributes to chronic pain including joint pain.
  • Old age. Your risk of developing arthritis increases with age. People under 40 years old rarely experience arthritis-related problems.
  • Injuries, due to work other than athletic activity, can put you at risk of joint pain.
  • Stress causes inflammation in the body, which causes pain and swelling in your joints.
  • Physical labor. Physical labor, especially involving repetitive action, can cause joint pain over time.

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you or your loved one experience joint pain accompanied by:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Tenderness and warmth around the joint

See a doctor immediately if your joint pain is caused by an injury and is accompanied by:

  • Joint deformity
  • Inability to use the joint
  • Intense pain
  • Sudden swelling

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage joint pain?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with joint pain:

  • It may help to use topical pain relievers or take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
  • Stay physically active and follow a fitness program focusing on moderate exercise.
  • Stretch before exercising to maintain a good range of motion in your joints.
  • Keep your body weight within a healthy range. This will lessen stress on the joints.
  • If your pain isn’t due to arthritis, you can try taking a nonprescription, anti-inflammatory drug, getting a massage, taking a warm bath, stretching frequently, and getting adequate rest.
  • Avoid using your joint in ways that cause or worsen pain.
  • Apply ice or a package of frozen peas to your painful joint for 15 to 20 minutes a few times each day.
  • Apply a heating pad, soak in a warm tub or take a warm shower to relax muscles and increase circulation.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: December 13, 2018 | Last Modified: December 13, 2018

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