What is joint pain?
Joint pain is discomfort and pain experienced in the joints. It is usually felt in the hands, knees, feet, spine, or hips. The pain may be constant or come and go based on the patient’s condition. Sometimes, the joint may feel achy, stiff, or sore.
Every person feels joint pain differently, and thus doctor finds the severity of the pain to provide the necessary treatment. People often complain of a grating, throbbing, or burning sensation. Additionally, they feel joint stiffness in the morning but feel better in the evening.
In many cases, too much activity will make the joint pain worse. In general, joint pain affects joint function and limits a person’s ability to do regular tasks. Severe joint pain may impact the person’s quality of life. It is the major reason to take the right treatment at the right time.
Joints are the vital parts of the body helping limbs move. When a person confronts joint pain, it affects their ability to participate in daily activities and makes them uncomfortable. Plenty of factors and conditions can cause a person to experience joint pain.
Joint pain is usually the result of illness, inflammation, injury, or injection. Here is a detailed explanation of the major causes of joint pain.
Injury is the major cause of joint pain that often results from the excessive use of the joints. Joint pain triggers because of the fracture, strain, or sprain in the joints. Even if you have undergone a surgery for injury, it triggers the joint pain.
- Viral infection
Certain injections may also result in joint pain. For instance, the hepatitis C virus can even cause complications that result in joint pain.
Arthritis and arthralgia may look similar but have certain differences. Although both describe joint pain, arthralgia occurs with no distinct inflammation in the joint. People diagnosed with arthritis often report persistent joint pain. Different types of arthritis affect people. Some of them are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, and gout. The cause of arthritis differs among various types.
Certain diseases also cause joint pain. For example, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that includes joint and muscle pain as the common symptoms. Tendinitis is the inflammation of the tendons. It is often witnessed in the shoulder, heel, and elbow. Due to the overuse of joints, this inflammation triggers and provides discomfort.
You can talk to your doctor to find the potential causes of joint pain because causes may differ from person to person.
The symptoms of joint pain may range from mild to disabling. Here are the major symptoms to look for to reach the doctor and get the necessary treatments.
- Loss of motion
- Painful movement
- Enlarged joint
- Noisy joints
- Snapping, grinding, and clicking sounds while moving the joints
- Hot and swollen joint
- Difficulty in straightening and bending the joint
Even though there may not be a permanent cure for joint pain, it is manageable and gets instant relief. Making some changes in diet and physical activities will provide the best solution for joint pain. The following section explains the major treatment for joint pain.
- At-home treatments
If your joint pain is mild and needs immediate relief, you can perform at-home treatments such as applying ice or a heating pad on the affected area. Doing this procedure for a short time, many times a day, is recommended. You can even soak in the warm bathtub to get quick relief.
Indulging in physical activities such as exercises is important to regain the function and strength you lose. However, it does not mean you must reach the gym and do heavy workouts. As you already have pain in the joints, you can perform low-impact exercises such as walking, aerobics, and swimming. Gentle stretching exercises will help your joint pain greatly. Before starting or continuing an exercise program, you can check with your doctor.
- Topical treatments
You can use ointments or gels on the affected joint area to ease the pain. Take a small amount of gel and rub it into the skin. It gives a comfortable feeling and helps you perform your tasks effectively. Ask your doctor to prescribe over-the-counter topical creams and gels.
- Dietary supplements
Being obese is another major cause of joint pain. So, it is often recommended to lose weight once you start to experience joint pain. Maintaining a healthy weight will prevent strains on joints, and thus you do not experience any pain. Regular exercise and a proper diet are enough to lose excess weight. If it is not enough in your condition, you can go for dietary supplements according to the doctor’s advice.
If these treatments do not ease the pain and worsen over time, it is time to switch to medication treatment.
The medical field has evolved a lot; thus, you will have the best solution for all diseases. But, the major trouble is finding the right treatment suitable for your condition. So, look around and engage with a well-experienced doctor. After analyzing your condition, the doctor may prescribe the following:
- When you approach a doctor to get medication treatment for joint pain, the doctor prescribes painkilling drugs. Mostly, this drug works and gives relief to people suffering from joint pain.
- Supportive aids such as orthotic devices in the shoe support your joints for ease of movement. When your age increases, your joint pain will become intense and make you feel hard to move. In such conditions, supportive aids will help and make you feel good. Different types of supportive aids are available in the market. The doctor or therapist will help choose the right one.
- The doctor recommends occupational or physical therapy along with a balanced fitness program. It helps ease pain gradually and enhances joint flexibility. Therefore, the patient will feel better when they move.
- In some cases, the doctor will recommend steroids that are often rendered by injection to provide short-term relief of swelling and pain. But, consuming too many steroids is not good for health.
If none of these medications and over-the-counter works, the doctor will suggest surgery. There is no one-fit-for-all solution for joint pain. Therefore, the doctor will prescribe different treatments and medications before going in-depth with medical treatment. The following surgical options are available for people diagnosed with joint pain.
- Joint replacement
Speak with your doctor to get a detailed understanding of these procedures. It helps you to go with the right one and says goodbye to joint pain and discomfort. The doctor will examine the affected joint to see the signs of injury or others. The doctor may order blood tests and X-rays to rule out the cause of the joint pain.
- When should I see my doctor?
When pain disturbs your normal life activities or is accompanied by a fever, it is a sign to reach the hospital immediately. The doctor will diagnose the cause of the pain and start the treatment to relieve the pain.
- What is the common joint problem?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint problem in the hips, hands, and knees. It gets worse over time without proper treatment.
- Which vitamin should I take for joint pain?
Vitamin D helps treat joint pain effectively because it contains excellent anti-inflammatory properties. It also assists in managing autoimmune conditions affecting the joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- How does joint pain affect my life?
Joint pain affects basic movements such as sitting in a low chair and climbing the stairs. It restricts you from participating in your favorite activities and hobbies. So, you will feel low and discouraged.
- Is it possible to relieve joint pain naturally?
Yes! You can relieve joint pain naturally through meditation, weight loss, exercise, acupuncture, and massage.
- Is joint pain spread to other parts of the body?
Usually, the pain and swelling experienced at the joints outside spreads to other areas of the body and leads to discomfort.
- Who is more prone to joint pain?
Joint pain often affects people who have had previous joint surgery, repeated muscle use, and are overweight. People who suffer from chronic medical conditions or stress, depression, and anxiety also experience joint pain. Age is also a factor for painful joints.