We often have a love-hate relationship with our joints. When they’re healthy, we enjoy all the things they let us do. Running and playing basketball on the weekends would be more difficult if you didn’t have solid knees, shoulders, and hips.
However, when we begin to feel joint discomfort, our relationship with our joints fails. Just when we thought our joints could do no wrong, they unexpectedly became a cause of pain and agony.
If you’re already having joint pain in any of your joints, you’re probably wondering why you’re feeling it in the first place. You may think it came out of nowhere, sneaking up on you without warning. Or, perhaps you’ve been experiencing slight discomfort and morning stiffness for a while now. And until recently, it’s been rather simple to overlook.
Whatever the situation may be, you’ve reached a point when you want answers. The good news is that reading this article will give you a better idea of what could be causing your pain.
What is Joint Pain?
The term “joint pain” refers to the discomfort felt in any joint. Joint pain is known as arthralgia by medical professionals. However, don’t confuse the term with “arthritis,” which indicates inflammation of a joint and is accompanied by pain. A joint might be inflamed without being in pain. Sometimes, it can be inflamed and in pain at the same time.
Many people suffer from joint pain, primarily in the hands, feet, hips, and knees. The discomfort may be permanent or intermittent. Moreover, people who suffer from joint pain may find it difficult to carry out even the most basic chores. Severe joint pain may have a negative impact on one’s quality of life.
Who is more prone to suffer from joint pain?
Experiencing some degree of joint pain is normal as you get older. However, this may not be the case if you begin making healthy lifestyle choices early.
Pain manifesting as people age is a common occurrence. Over half of individuals over the age of 65 experience some degree of joint pain. Additionally, joint pain is more prevalent in persons who:
- Have experienced prior joint injuries
- Repetitive and/or excessive use of a muscle
- Have arthritis or other chronic health problem
- Experience depression, anxiety, and/or stress
- Are overweight
- Suffer from severe health conditions
What Are The Common Causes of Joint Pain?
A variety of factors may cause joint pain. The probable reasons will vary in part according to your age. Joint pain in children might have various reasons that are distinct from those in adults.
Joint pain might have an evident cause, like a sports injury. In other instances, the diagnosis may require additional testing and consultation with a professional.
The following is a list of the most prevalent reasons people experience joint pain.
Osteoarthritis is among the most prevalent reasons for joint pain. Most people aged 55 and over report having this pain in their joints. Other than that, there are many joints in the body that might be affected by osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis may be caused by a multitude of reasons, such as overuse, sports-related accidents, and joint abnormalities. Furthermore, postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of getting osteoarthritis, particularly in their knees. Obese, diabetic, or hypercholesterolemic individuals are also at an elevated risk.
Since osteoarthritis is more than just “wear and tear” arthritis, the best way to avoid it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that allows you to take charge of your controllable risk factors, such as inactivity and poor diet.
Bursitis is a condition in which the bursa, a tiny, fluid-filled sac situated around your joints, swells and becomes inflamed, causing pain. In contrast to osteoarthritis, bursitis is mostly induced by joint overuse. People who suffer from bursitis often have a profession or activity that puts a lot of strain on their joints.
Given that your body has over 150 bursae (bursae are little sacs that cushion the joints), joint discomfort caused by bursitis may occur practically everywhere in the body. This pain is commonly felt in the shoulders, elbows, knees, feet, hips, and buttocks.
This kind of joint pain might come on abruptly or gradually over a long period. Preventing bursitis may be as simple as getting enough rest after a long period of repetitive motion.
Not all cases of bursitis are preventable. However, by adopting a few simple changes in your lifestyle, you may significantly lower your chance of developing bursitis and avoid severe flare-ups. These changes include:
- Weight control to prevent placing additional strain on your joints
- Working out to build up the muscles that support your joints
- Taking regular breaks while completing repetitious activities
- Warming up before beginning intense activity
- Maintaining proper posture when seated or standing
- Halting an activity if you feel any discomfort
Gout is categorized as an inflammatory condition that affects the joints. You may be shocked to find that gout is a kind of arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid in the body. Uric acid causes crystals to develop in the joints.
Other factors, such as being overweight, heart problems, diabetes, family medical history, hypertension, and renal disease, might also contribute to the condition. Moreover, gout is more likely to develop in those who use diuretics (water pills) or eat a lot of animal protein in their diet.
If you have gout, you will most likely have swelling and discomfort in your foot’s joints, especially your big toe. Gout episodes, or sudden and severe pain, may cause your feet to feel like it’s on fire.
Acute gout symptoms manifest rapidly due to the development of uric acid crystals in the joint. It may also persist between three and ten days.
The following are some lifestyle modifications that have been demonstrated to be the most effective in preventing gout:
- Consuming enough water
- Maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise
- Consume fewer purines, which include alcohol, shellfish, high-fructose foods and beverages, and animal proteins
Gout, if left untreated, may become chronic. A condition known as tophi may develop over time in your joints, as well as in the skin and soft tissue that surrounds them. Your joints may become permanently damaged as a result of these buildups.
Tendinitis is a medical term for the inflammation or irritation of tendons. Tendons are fibrous strands that connect muscles to bones. It induces severe pain and sensitivity, making the movement of the afflicted joint difficult. Tendinitis may affect any tendon. However, it is most common in the shoulders, knees, elbows, feet, and wrist.
Tendons enable you to repeatedly perform a certain movement. So, if you exercise or play sports and do the same action repeatedly, you run the risk of developing tendinitis.
Tendinitis is characterized by a dull soreness that radiates from the afflicted joint or region. When you move the affected region, it becomes worse. You’ll experience a sharp spike in agony whenever anyone touches the region. You may also feel a sense of constraint, making it difficult to move that part of your body.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease that may result in joint discomfort and inflammation. Joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis often occurs on both sides of the body. Thus, if one of your arms is afflicted, the corresponding joint in the other arm is likely to be affected as well. This effect differentiates rheumatoid arthritis from other types of arthritis, like osteoarthritis.
Treatments are most effective when rheumatoid arthritis is detected early, which is why it is important to understand its symptoms. Inflammation and discomfort in the joints are common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. During flares, these symptoms become more pronounced. When symptoms go away entirely, they are characterized as periods of remission.
Other Causes of Joint Pain
Here are other potential reasons for joint pain. Read them, but don’t jump to the conclusion that the more severe options mentioned are to blame for your joint discomfort.
- Certain infectious diseases, such as mumps, influenza, and hepatitis
- Chondromalacia of the patella, or a breakdown of the cartilage in the kneecap
- An infection of the bone or joint
- Overuse of a joint
How To Relieve Joint Pain?
While the pain can’t be cured totally, it may be controlled to provide relief. Occasionally, taking over-the-counter medicine or doing easy daily exercises might alleviate the discomfort. Sometimes, pain may be a symptom of a more serious issue that may only be resolved with prescription medicine or surgery.
Here are some ways to reduce joint pain:
- Putting a heating pad or ice on the afflicted region for brief durations several times a day may help reduce pain. Additionally, soaking in a warm bath may be beneficial.
- Exercise may aid in the regaining of strength and function. A low-impact aerobic activity, such as walking, swimming, or jogging, is the ideal option. Those who regularly engage in physically demanding activities, such as weight lifting or athletics, may choose to reduce their intensity or switch to a low-impact alternative.
- In certain cases, weight reduction may also be recommended to reduce joint stress.
- Taking acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory medications may help alleviate your discomfort. Both of these medications may be purchased without a prescription, although higher dosages may need a trip to your healthcare provider. Before taking these medicines, make sure to speak with your doctor if you have a history of stomach ulcers, renal, or liver illness.
- Topical remedies like ointments or gels that may be massaged into the skin over the afflicted joint region may help alleviate discomfort.
- Supplements, such as glucosamine, may also help alleviate pain. However, consult your physician before using any over-the-counter supplements.
Please be aware that even over-the-counter medications have varying effects on different individuals. What benefits one individual may not benefit another. Always follow your doctor’s instructions while taking any medication, and notify them if you have any adverse reactions.
Surgical intervention may be possible if the joint discomfort persists after treatment with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and exercise. A doctor should be consulted to ensure that surgery is warranted.
When To Call A Doctor?
If pain is messing with your everyday routine, it’s necessary to see a medical professional. A proper diagnosis and treatment plan are essential to alleviating pain and ensuring that joints continue to function properly.
See a doctor if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Fever accompanies the pain.
- There is a loss of weight that is unexplainable (10 pounds or more)
- You are unable to walk properly due to pain.
If you have any questions or concerns about joint pain or any of these common symptoms, call EG Healthcare to book an appointment to explore diagnosis and treatment options.