What Causes Joint Pain?
Joints are subject to damage from both injury and disease. When either occurs, movement is inhibited and pain is experienced. Like many complaints, the incidence is likely to increase with age, but what causes joint pain?
What Causes Joint Pain?
Those four little words, “both injury and disease,” cover a multitude of possibilities. The incidence of joint discomfort is extremely high, with one survey discovering a full third of adults suffering in the month preceding its random sampling.
Strains and sprains are the most common causes of joint pain that isn’t associated with a disease. Diagnosable conditions which can present as joint pain include:
Bursitis. An inflammatory condition affecting small, fluid-filled sacs located close to joints that perform frequent repetitive motion, bursitis occurs most commonly in the elbow, heel, hip, knee and shoulder.
Gout. A type of arthritis, acute gout typically affects only one joint, where uric acid has built up in the blood causing joint inflammation.
Osteoarthritis. The most common joint disorder, osteoarthritis – OA – is typically the result of aging and wear-and-tear.
Rheumatoid arthritis. A long-term disease where joint inflammation spreads to surrounding tissues, rheumatoid arthritis – RA – is almost three times more common in women than in men.
Types and Treatments
Knee pain is the most common disorder, with shoulder and hip conditions coming in second and third respectively. Levels of discomfort range from mild to disabling, and experience periods may be anything from a couple of weeks to many months or years (the former is properly known as acute pain; the latter chronic).
Although treatment professionals usually emphasize manual and manipulative therapy, there are a number of medicinal treatments available to sufferers:
Capsaicin, a substance that’s derived from chili peppers, relieves arthritic joint pain in some sufferers. Capsaicin only works by blocking substances which transmit pain signals, leaving the root cause unaddressed. For this reason, ongoing use is discouraged.
Acetaminophen often works to moderate the mildest joint pain, which presents without swelling. This medicine, in high doses, has been associated with liver damage (especially in those who drink alcohol), so you’re strongly urged to take expert medical advice before taking this and other medications.
Over-the-counter NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – can have a positive effect on moderate to severe joint pain that also involves swelling. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, all sold under a variety of familiar proprietary brands. That said, because this type of medication has been associated with increased risks of gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events, the same caution applies.
Because joint pain is a specialist area of practice, healthcare professions who deal with the issues every day are typically better equipped than General Practitioners to address the problems. Trained experts are called chiropractors. They diagnose, treat and prevent neuromusculoskeletal system disorders, along with ancillary impacts on overall general health.
Your doctor’s first priority should be to diagnose the condition causing your joint pain, then to treat that underlying concern. This should result in an eventual reduction in both pain and inflammation, and perhaps even improved joint function. Treatment options for the pain itself may include prescription medication, physical therapy, and alternative treatments.
Chiro-Med Rehab Center treats men, women, and children of all ages across the Toronto area. For more advice on what causes joint pain; and for chiropractic services, massage therapy, or access to custom orthotic services, call us today at (905) 918-0419 in Richmond Hill, or at (905) 235-2620 in Newmarket.