Joint Pain


 

Joints are the parts of your body where your bones meet. Joints allow the bones of your skeleton to move. Joints include:

  • shoulders
  • hips
  • elbows
  • knees

Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body’s joints. Joint pain is a common complaint. It doesn’t typically require a hospital visit.

Sometimes, joint pain is the result of an illness or injury. Arthritis is also a common cause of joint pain. However, it can also be due to other conditions or factors.

 

What causes joint pain?

Arthritis

One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis. The two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). According to the American College of Rheumatology, OA is most common in adults over age 40. It progresses slowly and tends to affect commonly used joints like the:

  • wrists
  • hands
  • hips
  • knees

Joint pain due to OA results from a breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints. The second form of arthritis is RA. According to the Arthritis Foundation, RA affects about 1.5 million Americans. It more commonly affects women than men. It can deform and debilitate the joints over time. RA causes pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the joints as the body’s immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joints.

Joint pain can also be caused by:


What are the symptoms of joint pain?

In some cases, your joint pain will require you to see a doctor. You should make an appointment if you don’t know the cause of your joint pain and are experiencing other unexplained symptoms.

You should also see a doctor if:

  • the area around the joint is swollen, red, tender, or warm to the touch
  • the pain persists for three days or more
  • you have a fever but no other signs of the flu

Go to the emergency room if any of the following occurs:

  • You’ve experienced a serious injury.
  • The joint appears deformed.
  • Swelling of the joint occurs suddenly.
  • The joint is completely immobile.
  • You have severe joint pain.


How is joint pain diagnosed?

Your doctor will probably perform a physical exam. They’ll also ask you a series of questions about your joint pain. This may help to narrow down the potential causes.

A joint X-ray may be necessary to identify arthritis-related joint damage.

If your doctor suspects there’s another cause, they may order a blood test to screen for certain autoimmune disorders. They may also request a sedimentation rate test to measure the level of inflammation in the body or a complete blood count.

How is joint pain treated?

Doctors consider both OA and RA to be chronic conditions. There’s no treatment currently available that will completely eliminate the joint pain associated with arthritis or keep it from returning. However, there are ways to manage the pain:

  • Topical pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
  • Joint injections
  • Staying physically active and following a fitness program focusing on moderate exercise.
  • Keeping your body weight within a healthy range. This will lessen stress on the joints.

If you are suffering from joint pain, Louisiana Pain Specialists can help you. Call or book an appointment online today.

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