The Causes of Joint Pain

causes of joint pain, inflammation, arthritis

The list of causes of joint pain is quite long because there's such a variety of diseases and actions that can lead to inflammation or injury. The joint is expected to bear a lifetime of stress and pounding, but anything that negatively impacts the joint components can lead to pain.

Pain in a joint can be mild and annoying or it can be debilitating and prevent you from doing the things that make life so good. People with rheumatoid arthritis for example talk about swollen and stiff joints so tender they can't let anything touch their hands. That kind of pain is intolerable.

Though the list of things that can lead to joint pain is lengthy, there are common causes. Before any joint pain can be treated, the cause of the pain must be located. Sometimes it is easier to pinpoint the problem and other times the cause may not be so obvious. Either way, anytime a joint hurts for more than a couple of weeks it's advisable to visit a doctor.

A Laundry List of Causes

If you're experiencing pain in your joints, you're certainly not alone. The vast majority of adults will have to deal with joint pain at least once in their lives. Part of the reason this is true is that the aging process results in normal causes of joint pain and joint wear over time. Various forms of arthritis top the list of the causes of pain in the body's joints:

  • Osteoarthritis – cartilage breakdown allows bones to rub against each other
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – autoimmune disease that causes joint linings to become inflamed and joints to become deformed unless treated
  • Other types of arthritis – Ankylosing Spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis etc.
  • Bursitis – fluid filled sacs close to joints become inflamed
  • Gout – buildup of uric acid in the body leading to crystals being deposited in joints
  • Injuries and sprains involving joint bones, linings, tendons, muscles, or ligaments
  • Joint infections

Gentle Exercises.

To reduce the causes of joint pain, try a gentle range-of-motion exercises daily. Put each joint through its full range of motion by bending, stretching, and extending the joint and surrounding muscles.

  • Always, adjust your activity according to your pain level.
  • Always, avoid excessive pressure on the small joints of your hand.
  • Always, Pace yourself by balancing rest and activity.
  • Extend your joints instead of contracting them.
  • Try to use your largest or strongest joint possible when doing a specific task.
  • Really make an effort to maintain your ideal weight.
  • Use assistance devices to preserve your joints.
  • Change your positions as often as possible.
  • Avoid heavy lifting if possible.
  • Whenever possible, sit instead of standing.

If what you are doing, feels like too much, it is too much.
For your own sake, know and respect your limitations.
Good nutrition and exercise, will help keep your weight in check. This alone will help your joints.

Now What?

Once you know what caused your joint to hurt, it's possible to determine a treatment strategy. The best treatment option is determined by the particular circumstances. For example, the early stages of osteoarthritis may be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs on sore joints. Over time it might be necessary to replace a knee or hip joint through a surgical procedure.

Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action. Treatment can include medications, increased exercise, braces, ice or hot packs, joint braces or bandages, and even surgery. Sometimes the best treatment is losing weight to relieve joint pressure.

Though there are many causes of joint pain, there are also many ways to treat them!

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