What causes joint pain?

What causes joint pain?

What is joint pain?

Joint pain is a discomfort that affects joints in the body. A joint is the ends of two or more of your bones that come together. 

Joint discomfort is common and usually felt in your hands, feet, hips, knees, or spine. Pain in your joints may be regular or occasional. Sometimes, your joints can feel stiff, achy, or sore. Some would complain of a burning, throbbing, or grating sensation. 

Your joints may feel stiff in the morning and loosen up with movement and activity. However, too much actions could make your pain worse.

Joint pain may affect the function of your joints and can limit your ability to do basic tasks. Severe, painful joints can interfere with your quality of life.


What causes joint pain?

Some common causes of joint pain include:

  • OsteoarthritisA common type of arthritis, where the cartilage — the protective cushion between your bones — wears away. Your joints become painful and stiff. Osteoarthritis usually develops/occurs after age 45.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): A chronic disease that causes swelling and pain in your joints. Your joints often deform around your fingers and wrists.

  • Gout: A painful condition where acidic crystals from your body collect in your joint, causing severe pain and swelling. 

Viral infectionsrash, fever or injuries like broken bone or sprains may also cause joint pain when moving around.  

What are the risk factors for joint pain?

Joint pain tends to affect people who have:

  • Arthritis or other long-term (chronic) medical conditions.
  • Previous joint related injuries .
  • Repeated used and / or overused a muscle.
  • Depressionanxiety and/or stress.
  • Overweight (having a BMI, or body mass index, greater than 25) or obesity (having a BMI greater than 30).

Age is also a factor in stiff and painful joints, usually these problems may arise after age 45 due to wear and tear of the joints.


What is the treatment for joint pain?

There may not be a cure for joint pain but there are ways to manage it. The pain may go away by taking over-the-counter (OTC) medication or by performing simple daily exercises. Other times, the pain might be signalling problems that can only be corrected with prescription medication or surgery.

Joint pain treatment includes:

  • Simple at-home remedies: Applying a heating pad or ice onto the affected area. Soaking in a warm bathtub may also relief pain.

  • Exercise: Walking, swimming, low-impact aerobic exercise or gentle stretching helps strengthen and regain joint functions. People who participate in strenuous workouts or sports activities would be recommended to reduce these activities or conduct low intensity workouts instead. 

  • Weight loss: Your healthcare professional may suggest losing weight, to lessen the strain / pressure on your joints.

  • Medication: Over the counter medication or prescription may help ease your pain. Please check with your local healthcare professional to see what kind of mediation suits you.

  • Topical treatments: Ointments or gels can also help to ease joint pain. You may find some of these over the counter, or your healthcare professional may recommend you certain products.

  • Dietary supplements: Dietary supplements like glucosamine may help relieve pain. 

If those medications or treatments don’t ease your pain, your healthcare provider may prescribe:

  • Supportive aids — such as a brace, a cane or an orthotic device in your shoe — to help support your joint and allow ease of movement.

  • Physical or occupational therapy, along with a balanced fitness program, to gradually help ease pain and improve flexibility.

  • Antidepressants to help improve sleep.

  • Steroids to provide short-term relief of pain and swelling.

  • Pain relievers to help ease pain.

It’s important to remember that medicine, even those available over the counter, affects people differently. What helps one person may not work for another. Be sure to follow your healthcare professional’s directions carefully when taking any medicine and tell them if you have any side effects.

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