Healthy Life

Joint Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Overview

The place where our bones meet in the body is termed as Joints. It allows our skeleton to move and function accordingly. Joints include the following body parts:

  • hips
  • knees
  • elbows
  • shoulders

Joint pain occurs when there is soreness or discomfort in any of the joints of your body. Joint pain is a common complaint that generally doesn’t require a hospital visit. Sometimes, joint pain may occur due to illness or an injury. Arthritis is one of the common causes of joint pain and it can also occur due to other conditions or factors as well.

What Causes Joint Pain?

Arthritis- One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis and it has two main forms that are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

According to the American College of Rheumatology, adults who are above the age of 40 years are suffering from OA. Though it progresses very slowly and it tends to affect joints like-

  • hips
  • wrists
  • hands
  • knees

The joint pain by OA i.e. Osteoarthritis usually occurs due to the breakdown of the cartilage which is a shock absorber or termed as a cushion for joints.

The second form of arthritis is RA i.e. Rheumatoid Arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, RA is currently affecting about 1.5 million Americans. It is very common in women as compared to that of men. Over time it might deform and debilitate the joints. RA also causes pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the joints. It happens when the body’s immune system attacks the membrane which lines the joints.

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Other Causes of Joint Pain

Joint pain can be caused by:

  • lupus
  • gout
  • cancer
  • injury
  • rickets
  • osteoporosis
  • sarcoidosis
  • fibromyalgia
  • overuse of joint
  • infection of the bone or joint
  • bursitis, or inflammation around joints
  • tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendon
  • infectious diseases, like mumps, influenza, and hepatitis
  • chondromalacia of the patella, or a breakdown of the cartilage

What are the Symptoms of Joint Pain?

In most of cases, you need to contact a doctor. You can get an appointment to know about the cause of your joint pain and other unexplained symptoms.

See a doctor if you have:

  • swollen, red, joint
  • joint pain for three days or more
  • fever but no signs of flu

Go to the emergency if any of the following occurs:

  • During serious injury.
  • Deformed joints.
  • Joint swelling.
  • The Joint is completely immobile.
  • Severe joint pain.

How to Diagnose Joint Pain?

In order to diagnose joint pain, your doctor will perform a physical exam. He will also ask you a series of questions to understand more about the joint pain. An X-ray will also be required to identify arthritis-related joint issues or damage. In case if your doctor suspects any other cause, then he may ask you to provide a blood test report to screen certain autoimmune disorders. You might also have to undergo a sedimentation rate test in order to measure the level of inflammation in the body.

How to Treat Joint Pain?

Since there is no treatment available for OA and RA hence, doctors consider them to be chronic conditions. But, there are ways by which you can manage your joint pain.

  • Maintain a good range of motion in your joints
  • Use topical pain relievers to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
  • Maintain your body weight as per your height to lessen the stress on your joints.
  • If your pain isn’t due to arthritis, then take a non-prescription or anti-inflammatory drug.
  • Take a warm bath, get stretching, massage, and take proper rest.
  • You need to stay physically active and should follow a fitness program by focusing on moderate exercises.
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Get Proper Medical Treatment for Joint Pain

The treatment options mainly depend upon the cause of the pain. In some of the cases, your doctor might have to draw out accumulated fluid in the joint area and to test for the infection or gout, or any other causes of the joint pain. He can also possibly recommend you to go through surgery for the replacement of the joint. Other non-surgical treatment methods include lifestyle changes or medications that can cause remission of RA.

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