To start with, joint pain can be defined as the discomfort that develops from any of your joints. While this is very common among older adults, there are several different causes for it. Although most causes are harmless and can settle by itself without much issue, some forms of joint pain would require long-term treatment and can lead to long-term joint issues. In this article, let’s learn everything about joint pain along with its causes, symptoms, and treatment here. So, keep reading…
What causes joint pain?
As mentioned above, there are several different causes of joint pain. One of the major factors involved is your age. As such, the probable reasons for joint pain in small children will be different from that of joint pain in adults. Sometimes, the cause of joint pain can be obvious, for instance, an injury. At other times, it would require some investigations and a specialist’s help to diagnose the cause.
In general, the joint pain would be the result of an issue with one of the following structures:
- The lining of the joint
- Surrounding bone
- Muscles around the joint
Apart from these issues, joint pain can also result from the pain that is felt along the course of your nerves, which is called “referred pain”.
Following is the list of most common causes:
- General body infection
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Reactive arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Joint dislocation
- Bone fracture
- Soft tissue injury
- Knee Pain
- Housemaid’s Knee
- Knee Cartilage Injuries
- Knee Ligament Injuries
- Student’s Elbow
- Tennis Elbow
- Rotator Cuff Disorders
- Frozen Shoulder
- Ankle Injuries
- Septic Arthritis
- Lyme Disease
- Primary Bone Cancer
- Paget’s Disease of Bone
In Teenagers and Children:
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Henoch-Schönlein purpura
- Growing pains
- Hip pain
- Septic arthritis
- Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip
- Perthes’ Disease
- Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
- Sinding-Larsen Johansson disease
What are the signs and symptoms associated with joint pain?
The signs and symptoms associated with joint pain are as follows:
- Loss of range of movement
When to see a doctor?
You are advised to see a doctor if you are experiencing joint pain along with the symptoms like swelling, redness, tenderness, and warmth surrounding your joint. We would suggest you see a doctor immediately if your experiencing joint that is resulting from an injury and is co-occurring with the other symptoms like joint deformity, inability to move your joint, severe pain, and sudden swelling. You must also see a doctor if you are having pain that persists for over two weeks and is not resolved with simple medicines like Speedex Gel, especially if you feel unwell.
Will you need any tests or investigations?
Generally, joint pain will resolve without requiring any test or investigation. However, your doctor may help diagnose the underlying cause of your pain. This will usually involve putting up questions about the symptoms and physical examination of your affected parts. He/she will also discuss what activities (if any) that you were performing when the pain started. It’s also important to discuss the conditions that aggravate or relieve the degree of your joint pain.
After such examinations, your doctor may order some additional tests. This could include blood tests, X-ray, and other imaging tests. Rarely, an MRI scan may also be required if your problem needs further insights.
What are the treatment options for joint pain?
As mentioned early, several causes of joint pain are not dangerous and settle down without requiring treatment or simply with medicines to help manage the pain until it settles down. Let’s see how you can take care of your joint pain by yourself here:
You can use a muscle and joint pain reliever gel, such as Speedex Gel to decrease the pain and inflammation. This non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug is a counter-irritant and a cooling substance which will help provide quicker analgesic relief. In addition to this topical gel, you can also try taking over-the-counter medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen to help relieve your joint pain.
Besides taking medications, you would also have to avoid using your painful joint in the ways that it could worsen the pain. As such, you should avoid activities like sports, driving, long walks, and so on, until your pain is resolved. By this, we do not mean to say that you shouldn’t be physically active. It’s always important for you to stay active to keep your muscles around your joints in a good shape. It’s also a good idea to apply ice packs for up to twenty minutes to your painful joint. Try doing this a few times a day until the problem is resolved.
Any further treatment for joint pain will be directed toward the underlying cause. For instance, if the cause is an injury, the treatment will often include rest, cold application, and medications. In addition, rehabilitation physical therapy might also be needed. On the other hand, if the cause is any form of arthritis, anti-inflammatory medications will be needed. If the cause is found to be a disease of the bones, ligaments, or cartilage, a surgical procedure will be required.
After the initial examination and treatment, it’s highly important that you have a follow-up monitoring by your doctor. As such, during these visits, the results of your tests will be reviewed and outcomes of treatments will be monitored. Based on this, your doctor may order for further testing at the time of your follow-up visits.
How can you prevent joint pain?
Whether or not your joint pain can be prevented will strongly depend upon whether it’s resulting from an injury or disease. We can say that the injuries can be prevented by following appropriate sports gear or through continuous training. On the other hand, joint pain due to diseases can be considered non-avoidable. However, through medical treatment, we can prevent it from re-occurring again and again.
So, if you have joint pain for more than two weeks, consult a doctor immediately to avoid further complications.