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What Causes Joint Pain And How To Treat It?

What Causes Joint Pain And How To Treat It?
Akanksha Nigam

About 15 million people in the United States complain of severe joint pain caused by arthritis. That’s one out of every four adults. This painful condition can be debilitating. Since joints are the connections between bones, they provide support for all body movements and any discomfort can make even easy tasks difficult.

Joints include:

  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Hips

What is Joint Pain?

Stiffness, a soreness, or pain in multiple joints is referred to as joint pain. Some people also complain about a burning or throbbing sensation, which makes them irritated and uncomfortable throughout the day. Additionally, the joint may feel stiff in the morning but may loosen up and feel better with some activity as the day passes. You may be more likely to have joint pain if you:

  • Have had previous injuries
  • Overuse a muscle
  • Suffer from arthritis or other serious medical condition
  • Suffer from anxiety, stress, or depression
  • Are overweight
  • Have poor health
  • Are over 40

Causes of Joint Pain

Symptoms of Joints Pain?

If you feel any of the below-mentioned symptoms, it is advisable to contact your healthcare provider:

  • Swelling, redness, or tenderness around the joint
  • Pain lasting 3 or more days
  • Fever
  • Joints become completely immobile
  • Injury to the joint

What causes Joints Pain?

As we grow older, knee pain becomes the most common problem, with shoulder and hip pain coming next. Some common reasons for joint pain include:

  • Arthritis: There are two types of arthritis – Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type. In this condition, the protective cartilage in between the bones wears away over time. This cartilage serves as a shock absorber for the joints. Osteoarthritis mainly affects the wrists, hands, hips, and knees. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the body's healthy cells, resulting in swelling and inflammation. This condition mainly affects the joints of the body.
  • Gout: This form of arthritis can affect anyone. Gout arthritis often occurs in the big toe causing severe pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness. It gets so hot and swollen that even the slightest pressure could cause major inconvenience. It can make one feel like the big toe is on fire. 
  • Bursitis: Common in the shoulders, elbows, knees, and feet, bursitis causes a painful swelling in small fluid-filled sacs called the bursae. These sacs protect the joints by cushioning them. Putting stress on these joints is the leading cause of bursitis.
  • Tendonitis: Tendons are the flexible bands that connect bone and muscle. Tendonitis usually occurs in the elbow, shoulder, or heel and causes inflammation in these joints.

Joints Pain Treatment

Joint pain may diminish in a few weeks or last for a long time, disrupting the daily activities of life. Medication, therapy, or other treatments might prove helpful such as:

  • At-home treatments: Applying a heating pad or ice pack to the affected area several times a day might help in the short run. You can also soak the joint in warm water.
  • Exercise: Mild exercises can help regain strength and function of the joint. Walking, swimming or other low-impact exercises are best. Gentle stretching of joints helps to keep the joints moving. It is not advised to engage in any sort of heavy exercise.
  • Weight loss: For those who are overweight or obese, the primary focus should be reducing weight by exercising or following a regulated diet for weight loss that does not affect the body adversely.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: These drugs help relieve pain, but if the pain persists, it is to consult a medical professional.
  • Topical treatments: Those who dislike taking medicines may use gels or ointments. These are directly applied to the affected area to help ease the pain.
  • Physical therapy: This option has helped many to ease the tension in joints.

Other ways to relieve joint pain

If the condition worsens over time and the above treatments do not help, surgery could be an option. Your doctor might suggest one of these procedures to help relieve your pain: 

  • Arthroscopy: In this procedure, the surgeon makes two or three small incisions over the joint area, repairs the cartilage, or removes any broken chips in or near the joint area.
  • Joint replacement (Equipment needed after hip replacement surgery): With this surgery, the surgeon removes the affected part of the bone and implants an artificial joint This is usually done for the hip, knee, and shoulder joints.

Above all, it is important to get to the cause of this pain and begin treatment. If it becomes unbearable and disrupts daily life, it is better to reach out to a medical professional. The doctor will ask questions to understand the intensity of the pain, any previous injuries, family history, etc. Early detection and treatment could help treat the underlying condition at the right time and bring comfort to your life.

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HPFY Akanksha Nigam

Akanksha Nigam

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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...

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