Joint pain is the pain sensation associated with the connections between bones in the body. Joints are responsible for support and enable movement. Any injury or damage to these joints can result in restricted movement and pain. The injury or the damage might be affecting the bursae, ligaments or the tendons surrounding the joint. In some cases, the injury affects the ligament cartilage and the bone inside the joint.
Joint pain will also be referred to as arthritis or arthralgia by some medical experts. This pain can be mild, resulting in soreness with movement, or it can be severe making it difficult or impossible for the patient to move that particular joint. Most cases of joint pain are not emergencies and the mild types can be managed successfully at home.
Signs and Symptoms of Joint Pain
An individual with joint pain might experience the following symptoms; there might be redness around the joint, swelling, tenderness, warmth, locking of the involved joint, loss of motion range in the joint, weakness, stiffness and because of the pain and discomfort, some patients with joint pain involving the legs will start limping.
Causes of Joint Pain
Surveys have indicated that a large number of people have experienced at least one type of joint pain within a period of 30 days preceding the survey. The most common pain is knee pain followed by shoulder pain, hip pain then the rest. It is important to note that joint pains can occur in any part of the body as long as there is a joint. This includes the elbow, hands and ankles.
There are many causes of joint pain and some of them are tenditis, sprains and strains, septic arthritis, sarcoidosis, rickets, rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, pseudogout, Paget’s disease of bone, osteomyelitis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis, Lyme disease, lupus, leukemia, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism/thyroid disorder, hemochromatosis, gout, fibromyalgia, dislocation, complex regional pain syndrome, bursitis, broken bones, bone cancer, avascular necrosis, ankylosing spondylitis and adult’s still disease. Sports injuries are also possible causes.
Joint Pain Diagnosis
The diagnosis of joint pain involves the doctor or health practitioner asking the patient about their symptoms and performing a physical examination. The cause is identified through the interview as it contains questions narrowing the number of possible causes. Answers from the interview will assist in guiding the healthcare practitioner in choosing a treatment direction.
Joint Pain Treatment
The treatment method chosen for a specific joint pain will entirely depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, for the joint pain to be properly addressed, the treatment will first focus on the underlying causes. Treatment can include a replacement of the joint if there is severe damage. If it is an immune system dysfunction, immunosuppressants will be used. If it is an infection, antibiotics will be administered and the treatment will be stopped if the joint pain is as a result of allergic reactions.
Though the treatment will first involve the root cause or underlying condition, there will be pain management treatments administered. The treatment involved in the management of the pain will depend on the extent or the severity of the pain. This treatment may involve the use of over the counter medication, prescription pain killers, exercise and stretching, and other methods of treatment that will alleviate the pain according to the symptoms.
Capsaicin, a substance in chili pepper has been found to relieve joint pain from different conditions such as arthritis. This substance will block the transmission of pain signals and trigger the release of the pain blocking chemicals known as endorphins. The side effects might include a stinging or burning sensation in the area of application. An arthritis cream, with methyl salicylate as an ingredient, can also be used in alleviating the joint pain.
Any joint pain should be treated seriously and the individual experiencing the pain should see a medical practitioner for a better diagnosis especially because it can be a sign or a more serious condition.