Also known as “arthralgia”, joint pain is not uncommon and can afflict one or more joints in the body. There are several possible causes of joint pain and the most common occurrences tend to be a result of injury or infection. Although less common, underlying conditions can also be the source. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tumors are just a few examples and can cause sufferers tremendous pain while also interfering with their daily activity.
Symptoms of Joint Pain
Different causes of joint pain lead to different symptoms and the acuteness of those symptoms can vary from case to case. If joint pain is caused by inflammatory disorders, like arthritis or an injury, clear symptoms may be present. One may notice redness or a swelling of the joint. A fever may also occur as well as stiffness after long periods of inactivity or sleep. If joint pain is a result of non-inflammatory disorders, one may experience only mild stiffness, increased pain during exercise, and reduced pain after resting.
Causes of Joint Pain
Simply getting older does not result in the development of joint pain. Most people who suffer from joint pain do so because of injury or overuse. It can also occur as a result of more serious conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. While rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, osteoarthritis involves the development of bone spurs as well as the degeneration of cartilage in a joint and is most prevalent in adults over the age of 45. Less common causes of joint pain are gout, bone diseases, tumors, and metabolic disorders.
Diagnosing Joint Pain
Correctly diagnosing joint pain is not easy because many of the symptoms can be a sign of this, or many other underlying conditions. In order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis, a thorough analysis of a patient’s medical history, a complete physical examination, and possibly an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be necessary. These scans are often most effective in correctly evaluating a joint. Another more invasive way to diagnose joint pain is through arthroscopy. With this method, the physician is able to examine the joint up close using a small tube that is flexible enough to be inserted directly into the joint.
Treating Joint Pain
There are a variety of ways to successfully treat joint pain:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Adequate rest
- Warm Baths
- Stretching Exercises
- Dietary Supplements
- Exercises to gain muscle tone and improve joint mobility
- Surgical Procedures
- A rehabilitation program combining massage with strengthening and stretching exercises
Self Help Tips for Joint Pain
Methods often recommended for alleviating joint pain on your own include resting the joint, starting a regimen of gentle stretching exercises, and applying ice and heat to the joint. Of course, if the joint pain worsens or does not show signs of improvement, one should consult with a doctor to begin a more in depth evaluation.Read more: