Know the basics

What is joint pain?

Joint pain is a medical term revealing your status of having discomfort, pain or inflammation arising from any part of a joint. In other words,  joint pain indicates arthritis or arthralgia, which is inflammation or pain from within the joint itself. Joints keeps an important role in the body, they are the parts of your body where your bones meet, allowing the bones of your skeleton to move. When you have join pain, you can have pain in cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons or muscles.

How common is joint pain?

Joint pain is common. It commonly affects more females than males, as female have weaker bone structure than smen. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of joint pain?

The common signs and symptoms of joint pain are:

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

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • You don’t know the cause of your joint pain;
  • You are experiencing other unexplained symptoms;
  • You see that the area around the joint is swollen, red, tender, or warm to the touch.
  • Your pain lasts for three days or more;
  • You have a fever but no other signs of the flu;
  • You’ve experienced a serious injury;
  • The joint appears deformed;
  • The joint is completely immobile;
  • You have severe joint pain.

Know the causes

What causes joint pain?

Arthritis is considered as the most popular reason for your joint pain, consisting of two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Osteoarthritis usually occurs in adults over the age of 40, progressing slowly and tending to affect commonly used joints like the wrists, hands, hips and knees. A breakdown of the cartilage that has the roles as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints can also lead to osteoarthritis. While rheumatoid arthritis more commonly affects women than men. It causes pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the joints as the body’s immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joints.

Other causes of joint pain can be from medical conditions that affect the joint. Some common conditions that cause joint pain are:

Conditions that affect the tendon

Conditions that affect the bone

  • 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.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for joint pain?

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

  • The more you get older, the higher risk of joint pain you have;
  • Family history. If one of your family members are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, you are more likely to also develop this disease.
  • Arthritic conditions tend to affect female than male.
  • Injuries to the joints;
  • Medical history. If you have any of the mentioned joint pains, you may experience joint pain;
  • It is the fact that additional body weight force your joint to bear more pressure, leading to joint pain.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is joint pain diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a series of physical exam to know if you are having joint pain. Your doctor can ask questions about your joint pain so that they can get the potential causes. If needed, you can experience a joint X-ray to determine arthritis-related joint damage. If your doctor suspects there’s another cause, they may perform a blood test to screen for certain autoimmune disorders. A sedimentation rate test can be ordered so that your doctor can measure the level of inflammation in the body or a complete blood count.

How is joint pain treated?

Your joint pain can be treated with medications. An over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can be used for moderate or severe joint pain with swelling. If you have milder pain without any swelling, acetaminophen can be effective. But you need to make sure that you are not using high doses, which may cause liver damage.

If such medicines can’t help, a stronger opioid medication can be chose for you. Because opioid drugs can cause drowsiness, you should only use them under a doctor’s care. They also can cause constipation, which you can relieve by taking laxatives.

Other drugs that may help relieve pain include muscle relaxants to treat muscle spasms and some antidepressants and antiepileptic drugs.

In case medications don’t work for you, you can be injected with a steroid medication directly into the joint every three months to four months, especially if you are living with arthritis, joint disease, or tendinitis. Although it is effective against your, it can be just temporary. Other injection options include removing fluid from the joint, injections of hyaluronan, a synthetic version of the natural joint fluid.

Physical therapy is good choice if you wish to strengthen the muscles around the joint, stabilize the joint, and improve your range of motion. The techniques are ultrasound, heat or cold therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, and manipulation.

As mentioned above, overweight increases your risk of joint pain, so losing weight can help you manage your painful joints. Exercise is one effective way to lose weight in combination with diet.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

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

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

  • Try an over-the-counter pain reliever;
  • Prevent your joint from 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;
  • Protect the joint with a brace or wrap.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

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

Sources

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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