Joint Pain Causes

Joint pain can be caused by a host of things, namely injury or disease of the joint or the tissues surrounding the joints. Your joints are the areas where two bone ends meet –  for example, your elbows, knees, ankles, hips, fingers and toes. There are a number of structures around joints, including cartilage which acts as a cushioning pad, ligaments that attach bones together, bursae to provide a gliding surface for tendons and tendons which attach muscles to the bones around the joint. Any accidents, injuries or illnesses in any of the structures mentioned above will lead to pain within the joints. The most common cause of joint pain is arthritis, a disease which causes inflammation in the joints.

Injury is also a common cause of joint pain, and this injury can be caused by over-exertion on any of the joints or just normal wear and tear. Having a fall can cause injury on the joints, and getting older can cause more joint injury as you’ve had more wear and tear, although painful joints are not necessarily a given of being older. More serious causes of joint pain include conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes stiffness and pain within the joints, and osteoarthritis, which involves growth of bone spurs as well as degeneration of cartilage in the joints, causing pain and a grinding feeling in the joints.

Gout is a medical condition that can also cause pain within the joints. Gout is an inflammatory disease caused by high levels of uric acid within the blood, and this high level of uric acid causes spiky crystal deposits in the joints, causing pain. Metabolic disorders, bone diseases, bone infection and tumors can all also cause joint pain, although these causes are very rare.

The first step towards treating joint pain is to determine what is causing the pain. Is it a simple injury that will get better with healing time? If so, treatment will consist of painkillers to control the pain until the injury has healed. If injury is not found to be the cause of joint pain, other things such as disease may be responsible, and so some diagnostic tests may need to be performed such as lab tests like X-rays, MRI scans or CT scans to evaluate the joints and to see whether any infection or inflammation is occurring. These tests could give a diagnosis of arthritis, gout, bone disease, a tumor or osteoarthritis, or the tests could give you a clear bill of health. A thorough medical history from you will also enable your doctor to give you an accurate diagnosis, as will a thorough physical examination.

Once the cause of your joint pain has been determined, you can begin to start a treatment program. Usually, anti-inflammatory medication is recommended to ease the inflammation within the joints, along with a regime of rest, relaxation, massage and stretching exercises. You’ll need to rest the joint adequately, but the stretching exercises mean that you’ll still be moving the joint, preventing it from stiffening up and becoming even more painful. If your joint pain is particularly bad, you could be referred onto a physiotherapist who will help you put together an exercise and stretching regime that should ease your joint pain as well as improve joint flexibility and muscle tone. Your physiotherapist will know how to make your therapy as easy on you as possible so as not to cause any further pain. A number of nutritional supplements are also known to be helpful in treating joint pain, as they help to cushion the joints and stop any grinding sensations. In severe muscle pain cases, surgery may be recommended to replace the joint entirely.