What causes joint pain? What problems does it cause? When should we take it seriously? When should you see a doctor? What is good for joint pain? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.

What is joint pain?

Joint pain is a feeling of discomfort or pain in a joint or joints of the body. Joints are areas where two or more bones meet, such as the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, and ankle. Joint pain may occur with or without movement and may be severe enough to limit movement. People may describe joint pain as discomfort, inflammation, increased warmth or burning sensation, severe pain, stiffness, or tingling. Joint pain may be short-lived or chronic joint pain defined as lasting more than three months.

Joints allow our bones to move. They are made up of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bursae (fluid-filled sacs that help soften the joint), and synovial membrane (the lining of the joint capsule that secretes synovial fluid to lubricate the joint). Any of the structures in a joint can become irritated or inflamed in response to various diseases, disorders, or conditions. The location of the joint pain may be a clue as to which of these structures may be involved.

The causes of joint pain are many. Sudden joint pain may be due to a mild muscle or ligament sprain, bursitis, or dislocation. Chronic joint pain can be a symptom of serious and even life-threatening conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis , osteoarthritis, leukemia, or bone cancer.

If you experience sudden joint pain with loss of movement, it is recommended that you contact your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize discomfort and reduce your risk of serious complications. If the pain persists for more than a few days or is accompanied by fever, unexplained weight loss, and other unusual symptoms, you should also contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Joint pains: Possible symptoms

Joint pain often occurs with other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder, or condition. Other joint pain symptoms may include joint swelling, redness, and fever. It is important that you tell your doctor about any additional symptoms you are experiencing. This information will help your doctor diagnose the cause of your pain.

Other joint symptoms that may occur with joint pain

Joint pain may occur with other joint-related symptoms, including:

  • Joint noise (like clicking and crackling)
  • Redness
  • Difficulty moving the joint (loss of flexibility)
  • Hardness
  • Swelling
  • Visible deformity of the affected joint
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Other symptoms that may occur along with joint pain

Joint pain may accompany symptoms unrelated to the joint, including:

  • Stomach ache
  • female pain
  • Butterfly rash on the bridge of the nose
  • dry mouth
  • skin dryness
  • Fever not associated with flu symptoms
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, and headache
  • increased urine output
  • skin rash
  • scaly skin patches
  • yellowing skin and eyes (jaundice)

Serious symptoms that may indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, joint pain may occur with other symptoms that may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition such as rheumatic fever and should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting.

Symptoms that may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition include:

  • Kanama
  • chest pain
  • severe pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • heart palpitations
  • High fever
  • muscle weakness
  • Pain in several joints with rash
  • Redness/redness
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • unexplained weight loss

Joint pains: Causes

Joint pain, whether acute or chronic, is often caused by inflammation. After any tissue injury, the healthy immune response releases chemicals into the brain that produce pain signals. Joint pain can result from fairly mild conditions such as an overuse injury or sprain that respond well to rest and self-care measures. Self-care measures will quickly relieve pain to heal inflammation.

Joint pain may also be due to traumatic injuries (dislocations), infections (septic arthritis or rheumatic fever), autoimmune diseases ( Sjogren’s syndrome ), chronic degenerative conditions (arthritis), or malignancy ( cancer ). Some of these diseases, conditions, or conditions are serious and potentially life-threatening, especially if they are not treated promptly.

Injury-related causes of joint pain

Joint pain can result from traumatic injuries, including:

  • Contusions (traumatic events that press and crush the soft tissues under the skin without causing damage to the skin)
  • joint dislocation
  • joint separation
  • ligament sprains
  • Loose pieces of bone or cartilage
  • overuse injury
  • repetitive motion
  • Incorrect grip and lift
  • sports injuries
  • Torn ligament or cartilage

Degenerative, inflammatory and autoimmune related causes of joint pain

Joint pain can also be caused by deterioration of joint structure, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases, such as:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis (joint inflammation between the vertebrae of the spine)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac that cushions the joint)
  • Fibromyalgia (chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness, and tenderness)
  • Good (artrit tipi)
  • Calcification
  • Psoriasis
  • rheumatic fever
  • rheumatic joint inflammation
  • Sjögren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disease that affects the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes and mouth, initially causing dry eyes and mouth)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own normal cells)
  • Tendinitis (tendon inflammation)

Other causes of joint pain

Other causes of joint pain include:

  • bone cancer
  • Hemophilia
  • Hyperparathyroidism ( thyroid disease )
  • Paget’s disease (abnormal bone formation and turnover)

Joint pains: Doctor’s check

Minor joint pain often responds to self-care treatments you can do at home. But there are times when it’s best to see a doctor about joint pain. If the pain persists, worsens, or occurs even at rest despite home treatment, you should see your doctor.

It is recommended to see a doctor in the following situations:

  • If joint pain is moderate and lasted more than 2 to 3 days with self-care
  • If you have increased swelling or bruising around the joint
  • If joint pain is caused by bending the joint
  • If you have limited joint movement
  • If you have unexplained weight loss
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In the following cases, it is recommended to seek immediate medical attention:

  • If the joint pain is severe and intense, or if there is sudden swelling around the joint
  • If the joint is deformed or a bone is visible
  • The joint is red, swollen and hot, or if you have a fever with joint pain
  • If you are unable to weight or use the affected limb
  • If there is numbness in the affected area
  • If you have experienced an injury or trauma

Which doctor should I go to for joint pain?

If your joint pain is not severe and has just started, you can report your situation to your family doctor and be examined. If the family doctor deems it necessary, he will direct you to a doctor from a different field. If your pain is severe and does not go away, then you should see an orthopedic doctor.

Joint pains: Diagnosis

To diagnose the underlying cause of joint pain, your doctor will learn your medical history and then perform an examination.

Questions your doctor might ask about joint pain

To diagnose the underlying cause of joint pain, your doctor will ask you a few questions about your pain, including:

  1. In which joint do you feel pain? Does both sides of the joint hurt?
  2. On a scale of 1 to 10, if 10 were the worst pain ever, how would you rate your pain?
  3. Can you describe the pain? Is it sharp or dull, throbbing or aching, constant or occasional?
  4. When did the pain start?
  5. Are there days when the pain is worse or better?
  6. Have you ever had joint pain like this before?
  7. Do you do any activity that causes joint pain?
  8. If anything, what is it that improves or worsens the pain?
  9. Do you experience other symptoms such as numbness, tingling and “pins and needles”?
  10. Do you have pain in other joints?
  11. Have you had a recent injury, rash or fever?
  12. What medical conditions do you have?

Physical examination for joint pain

Your doctor will also do a physical exam, focusing on the joints and limbs. On the exam, he will check for signs of injury or abnormality, such as swelling, warmth, or tenderness. Your doctor may move the joint or ask you to move it to see if the movement is limited or too loose. Your doctor will also look for signs of movement, such as pain, clicking, or squeaking sounds.

Tests to diagnose joint pain

Depending on the results of the exam, your doctor may recommend tests that include:

  • Blood tests to check for signs of inflammation, infection, or autoimmune disease
  • Imaging procedures such as computed tomography scans or MRI
  • Joint aspiration to examine the inside of the joint

It is not always possible to diagnose an underlying cause or condition. If the problem persists and your doctor can’t identify a cause, getting a second opinion may give you more information and answers.

Joint pains: Treatment

Joint pains are a symptom, so treatment will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the pain. Treatment goals include relieving joint pain and correcting any physical cause of the pain. Doctors usually start with minor treatments such as:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Supporters to immobilize and support the joint
  • Crutches to relieve the weight of the affected joint
  • Medicines to relieve pain and swelling, including ibuprofen , naproxen, and corticosteroid joint injections
  • Rest, ice, and elevation of the affected joint to relieve pain and reduce swelling from minor injuries
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Physical therapy is often part of the treatment plan for joint pain. It can help relieve pain, heal injuries, and restore joint strength, stability, and flexibility. If all these conservative treatments do not improve the pain, doctors may recommend a surgical treatment such as arthroscopy or joint replacement.

Things that are good for joint pain

Home treatments are usually sufficient to manage minor joint pain. Things that are good for joint pain include:

  • Rest: Stop activities that worsen joint pain or cause injury. Give yourself enough time to recover before returning to these activities. See your doctor if the pain recurs when you resume an activity.
  • Ice: Apply an ice pack to the insert for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat this several times a day for the first 24 to 48 hours.
  • Height: Take care to keep the affected limb elevated to help reduce swelling.
  • Heat: After the first 24 hours, you can apply heat several times a day if it feels better than ice.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: Consult your pharmacist and get an over-the-counter medicine to relieve pain and swelling from minor injuries.
  • Protection: Obtain appropriate tools from a health store to protect the joint from impacts and other injuries.
  • Stretching: Tight muscles are more vulnerable to injury. Keep the supporting muscles strong and flexible so they can support the joint. Stretch the muscles regularly, especially after exercise.

Alternative treatments for joint pain

Alternative therapies aim to complement traditional medicine. A popular option for joint pain due to osteoarthritis is a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement. However, studies on this supplement have not yielded clear results. While it showed a positive effect on joint pain in some, it did not show any effect in others. However, it appears to be safe for most people, so it may be a reasonable option for additional treatment. Acupuncture is another popular complementary treatment for joint pain. Research suggests it may be effective for some types of joint pain.

You should tell your doctor if you are using or considering alternative treatments. Supplements and other alternative treatments can have side effects and interact with medical treatment.

Joint pains: Possible complications

Any complications associated with joint pain may be progressive and complications may vary depending on the underlying cause. Since joint pain can be due to serious diseases, not being treated can lead to complications. It is important to contact your doctor if you experience any persistent joint pain or other unusual symptoms. Once the underlying cause has been diagnosed, it’s important to follow the treatment plan outlined by your doctor to reduce your risk of possible complications related to joint pain.

Possible complications of untreated joint pain include:

  • joint deformity
  • loss of mobility
  • Paralysis
  • permanent joint damage
  • Permanent joint immobility
  • Persistent joint instability
  • Permanent loss of sensation
  • physical disability
  • poor quality of life
  • Spread of infection

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