Joints connect your bones, allowing for flexibility, mobility, and support. Because joints are an essential part of our daily activities, those who suffer from joint pain can experience a wide spectrum of pain throughout the day. Joint pain is one of the most common orthopedic conditions. It is often related to conditions like arthritis; however, there are many non-arthritic causes of joint pain such as gout, sprains and strains.
Common Causes of Joint Pain
As the population ages, joint-related orthopedic conditions become much more commonplace. This is due to the joints and surrounding bones, tendons, and ligaments wearing out or becoming affected by problems like gout, bursitis, tendonitis, and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, which affects approximately 27 million Americans, is also known as degenerative joint disease. This condition occurs when the protective cartilage at the end of the bone has begun to wear out.
In addition to arthritis, those suffering from fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and, in some rare cases, bone cancer, are vulnerable to joint-related pain. Damage to joints and surrounding tissue can cause both short and long term problems, but age appears to be the primary reason for joint pain that requires chronic pain management.
Symptoms and Treatment for Joint Pain
The key symptoms of joint-related pain include joint swelling, redness, tenderness, warmth, stiffness in the joint, weakness, loss of range of motion in the joint, locking of the joint, and limping. These symptoms are often debilitating enough to necessitate help from an orthopedic specialist. One of the hallmark symptoms of arthritis is joint pain, generally caused by inflammation and erosion of the joints and cartilage between the bones.
Treatment options for joint pain depend on the underlying cause of the pain. Due to the variety of orthopedic conditions which can result in joint pain, it’s important for patients to be diagnosed properly in order to proceed with treatment. Treatment for these conditions can be immediate or part of a comprehensive chronic pain management plan. They may include one or more of the following:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Topical creams made specifically for arthritis pain and prescription muscle relaxers.
- Physical therapy, which can help strengthen muscles around the joints and stabilize them.
- Steroid injections can alleviate severe instances of joint pain, such as; arthritis, tendinitis, and other chronic conditions.
- Lifestyle changes, especially exercise and weight loss, can help reduce joint pain in those who are overweight.
- Other techniques such as heat, ice, rest, and glucosamine supplements can be helpful in reducing the joint-related pain.