Wellness

Joint pain: 15 most common causes

Joints are the parts of your body where your bones meet. Joints allow the bones of your skeleton to move. Joints include:

– shoulders
– hips
– elbows
– knees

Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches and pains in any joint in the body. Joint pain is common. It usually does not require a hospital visit. Sometimes joint pain is the result of disease or injury. Arthritis is also a common cause of joint pain. However, they can also be due to other conditions or factors.

What are the main causes of joint pain?

Arthritis

One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis. The two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Osteoarthritis is more common in adults over the age of 40. It progresses slowly and tends to affect the most used joints, such as:

– the wrists
– hands
– hips
– knees

Joint pain due to osteoarthritis 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 affects women more often than men. It can deform and weaken the joints over time. RA causes pain, inflammation and fluid buildup in the joints because the body’s immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joints.

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Other main causes

Joint pain can be caused by

– bursitis, or inflammation of the cushioning pads around the joints
– lupus
– drop
– certain infectious diseases, such as mumps, influenza and hepatitis
– chondromalacia of the patella, or a rupture of the cartilage of the patella
– a wound
– tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendon
– an infection of the bone or joint
– overuse of a joint
– cancer
– fibromyalgia
– osteoporosis
– sarcoidosis
– rickets

What are the symptoms of joint pain?

In some cases, your joint pain will require you to see a doctor. You should make an appointment if you do not know the cause of your joint pain and if you experience other unexplained symptoms.

You should also see a doctor if:

– the area around the joint is swollen, red, tender, or warm to the touch
– pain persists for three or more days
– you have a fever but no other signs of flu.

Go to the emergency room if any of the following occur:

– You have suffered a serious injury.
– The joint seems deformed.
– Joint swelling occurs suddenly.
– The joint is completely immobile.
– You have severe joint pain.

How is joint pain diagnosed?

Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam. He will also ask you a series of questions about your joint pain. This can help narrow down potential causes. A joint x-ray may be needed to identify arthritis-related joint damage.

If your doctor thinks there is another cause, they may order a blood test to screen for certain autoimmune disorders. He may also request a sedimentation rate test to measure the level of inflammation in the body or a complete blood count.

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How is joint pain treated?

Home treatment

Doctors consider osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis to be chronic diseases. There is currently no treatment that can completely eliminate joint pain associated with arthritis or prevent it from recurring. However, there are ways to manage the 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 focused 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 reduce the stress on the joints.
– If your pain is not due to arthritis, you can try taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, getting a massage, taking a warm bath, stretching frequently, and getting enough rest.

Medical treatment

Your treatment options will depend on the cause of the pain. In some cases, your doctor will need to aspirate fluid that has accumulated in the joint area to check for infection, gout, or other causes of joint pain. He may also recommend surgery to replace the joint. Other non-surgical treatment methods may include lifestyle changes or medications that can potentially lead to remission of RA. In the case of RA, your doctor will treat the inflammation first. Once RA is in remission, your medical treatment will include monitoring your condition closely to prevent flare-ups.

What is the outlook for people with joint pain?

Joint pain is often the result of damage caused by normal wear and tear. However, it can also be a sign of a potentially debilitating infection or RA. You should see your doctor if you have unexplained joint pain, especially if it doesn’t go away on its own after a few days. Early detection and diagnosis can effectively treat the underlying cause of your discomfort.

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* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice. [HighProtein-Foods.com]

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