Causes of Joint Pain: What You Really Need To Know!

Joint Pain Causes
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What Causes Joint Pain – Do You Really Know?

Joint pain is a very common ailment. Joints are the point of union of different bones, so they are subjected to high levels of stress during movement. A number of diseases and injuries may cause painful swelling and stiffness of the joints. The areas where people commonly experience joint pain are the knees, hips, and shoulders.

Joint pain can range from mild to severe and debilitating. Even mild joint pain can cause emotional stress in a person’s life. Short-term inflammation can cause severe pain and restrict movement. While joint pain may have various causes, it can often be managed with a combination of pain medication, physical therapy, and other complementary therapies.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which there is a loss of bone density. It affects many people and occurs more commonly in women than men. The condition is characterized by gradual loss of bone tissue, leaving bones brittle and susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis can lead to curvature of the spine, causing loss of height and a changed posture. It can also cause severe pain.

Osteoporosis

The loss of bone tissue leads to increased friction at the joints, which causes joint pain. Although there is currently no cure* for osteoporosis, you can prevent the disease by:

  • Regular Exercise
  • Incorporating a diet rich in vitamin D
  • Increasing* calcium intake in your daily routine

Overweight

Our joints are primarily involved in carrying our weight. So if our weight increases*, the pressure on our joints also increases*. In fact, with every pound of added weight there is a three-fold increase* in force on the joints. So, individuals who are overweight often experience joint pain while walking or running. By losing the weight, the joint pain will reduce* or completely disappear. However, care must be taken not to engage in a strenuous exercise routines which may further damage the joints. Instead, doctors recommend that people start slow and set a goal of losing weight gradually over a period of time.

Influenza

Influenza, or flu, is a viral infection that is spread from one person to another by coughing and sneezing. There are three known types of influenza viruses – influenza A, B, and C. They all cause the symptoms of flu in various degrees. The symptoms of flu include:

  • High Fever
  • Sweating
  • Chills

Influenza can be differentiated from common cold because the symptoms of flu last longer, and people also experience muscles aches and joint pain. Analgesics can alleviate* these joint pains.

Synovitis

Synovitis results from a distended joint capsule. It is an infection of the synovial membranes that surround the joints. The membranes become inflamed and produce* an excessive amount of fluid that is normally produced for joint lubrication. The condition can cause extreme pain, especially when the joint is moved.

Synovitis may occur due to injury to the joint during strenuous physical activity, such as excessive exercise. Swelling of the joint can be noticed and joint movement is restricted. The condition can be conclusively diagnosed with the help of the following:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI

Sports Injuries

A surprisingly large number of people suffer every year from sports injuries. While contact sports such as football can cause serious injuries, the most common causes of sports injuries are actually poor training methods. When muscles are not given the time to heal and recuperate after strenuous activity it will cause sprains and joint injuries. So, people who experience joint pain while playing sports often engage in overtraining. In addition, other factors such as flat foot and cavus foot can make a person susceptible to injuries.

Sport Injury

Internal Derangement

Internal derangements are a common cause of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The condition is characterized by a displacement of the articular disc of the temporomandibular joint. The disc is located between the ball and socket of the joint. So, if it slips there is a loss of proper function of the joint.

Use of the joint will cause further damage to the disc, and internal derangement will have a tendency to worsen over time. The condition is often caused by a trauma to the face or repeated jaw movements.

Viral Syndrome

Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) is characterized by joint and muscle pain, as well as chronic, mental, and physical exhaustion. Many people experience other symptoms such as depression, cognitive problems, and digestive problems. Sufferers may have poor concentration, sleeping and breathing difficulty, as well as heart problems.

The pain can be effectively managed with pain medication, while long-term treatments may include counseling, proper diet plans, and antidepressants. People suffering from PVFS can benefit from truly understanding their condition and learn ways to manage their symptoms.

Overuse Injury

Repeated overuse of muscles causes tiny injuries to occur that accumulate over time. Overuse injuries are commonly experienced by people who run for long distances. People who run on the road are more prone to such injuries. The surface of the road is uneven as well as hard and running motion is repetitive. The road surface may also have an incline to it. This puts pressure on the foot and leg muscles that can lead to injuries. It is important to wear proper running shoes that provide adequate support* to the feet.

Occupational Injuries

Occupational injuries can occur in various circumstances. If your job requires you to lift heavy objects repeatedly during the day, then you may be at risk of sustaining injuries. Improperly lifting a heavy piece of equipment can strain the muscles in the following regions:

Occupational Injuries
  • Neck
  • Shoulder
  • Back

So, individuals often complain of neck problems and back pain. If your work is sedentary in nature, then also you are at risk of injuries due to poor posture. Sitting at a desk for long hours can put pressure on your back and pelvis. Occupational injuries can be treated in the long-term with the help of the following:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Massage therapy

Ligament Sprains

The symptoms of ligament sprains may vary depending on its severity. Usually, there is pain and swelling around the joint. Serious sprains may also cause bruising of the tissue. It will be difficult to move the joint without causing pain. Often a sign that the ligament has been sprained is feeling a “pop” in your joint.

While minor sprains subside by resting the affected joint, you should see a doctor if the pain is severe and you are unable to move the joint.

ConsumerHealthDigest Medical References:

  1. Kimura Y, et al. Evaluation of the child with joint pain or swelling. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 18, 2013.
  2. Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Jan. 18, 2013.

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Author

Expert Author : Kelly Everson (Consumer Health Digest)

Kelly Everson is an independent editor, an award-winning writer and an editorial consultant in the health and fitness industries. Currently, she is a contributing editor at Consumer Health Digest.