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Joint Pain

Questions

Joint Pain

Joint pain can be discomfort, pain or inflammation arising from any part of a joint — including cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons or muscles. Most commonly, however, joint pain refers to arthritis or arthralgia, which is inflammation or pain from within the joint itself. Joint pain can be mild, causing soreness only after certain activities, or it can be severe, making even limited movement, particularly bearing weight, extremely painful. Joints are the parts of your body where your bones meet. Joints allow the bones of your skeleton to move. Joints include:

·        Shoulders

·        Hips

·        Elbows

·        Knees

Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body’s joints. Joint pain is a common complaint. It doesn’t typically require a hospital visit.

Causes of Joint pain

Arthritis: One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis. The two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).According to the American College of Rheumatology, OA is most common in adults over age 40. It progresses slowly and tends to affect commonly used joints like the:

·        Wrists

·        Hands

·        Hips

·        Knees

Joint pain due to OA results from a breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints.

The second form of arthritis is RA. It more commonly affects women than men. It can deform and debilitate the joints over time. RA causes pain, inflammation, and fluid build-up in the joints as the body’s immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joints.

Other causes of Joint pain include:

·        Bursitis, or inflammation of the cushioning pads around joints

·        Lupus

·        Gout

·        Certain infectious diseases, such as mumps, influenza, and hepatitis

·        Chondromalacia of the patella, or a breakdown of the cartilage in the kneecap

·        An injury

·        Tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendon

·        An infection of the bone or joint

·        Overuse of a joint

·        Cancer

·        Fibromyalgia

·        Osteoporosis

·        Sarcoidosis

·        Rickets

Risk factors

Understanding risk factors can help identify high-risk patients and improve their joint pain management. Since older adults usually face both age-related physical and psychosocial issues, comprehensive assessments and treatments are needed to effectively manage joint pain. Some common risk factor considering joint pain management are as:

Physical Inactivity: This is associated with increased progression and severity of many types of arthritis. Though, lack of physical activity doesn’t directly cause arthritis, it increases the likelihood of developing it by contributing to overweight– a factor leading to arthritis.

Overweight and Obesity: Leaving your body to be overweight can contribute to the onset and progression of knee, hand and hip osteoarthritis (OA). Obesity is also associated with progression of several/severity of several other types of arthritis.

Joint Injuries: Injuries to the knee might eventually turn to become knee OA. Reports indicate that people, who’ve had knee injuries in the past, end up developing knee pain in the future

Smoking: Smoking has also been one of the habits that have of late been implicated with the contribution of the severity of arthritis.

Age: Age is one factor you can’t simply control. Though arthritis can develop at any age, various clinical studies show that the risk of developing this condition increases with age.

Sex: Arthritis can affect any gender, be it a male or female. But available stats indicate that most forms of arthritis do affect more women as compared to men.

Preventive measures

Joint Pain is caused due to autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis. They are also caused due to the wear and tear in the body. However there are simple lifestyle modifications that can help you prevent joint pain:

·        Quit Smoking-Toxins in smoke cause stress on connective tissue, leading to joint problems.

·        Have a balanced body weight – the more your weight, the more is the pressure on the joints

·        Overtreatment or under treatment advised by doctor – be sure of the medication that is being prescribed to you. Also ask the doctor about the side effects of the same.

·        Avoid activities that involve high impact and repetitive motion.

·        Adjust your position frequently.

·        Periodically tilt your neck from side to side, change the position of your hands and bend and stretch your legs.

·        Pace yourself. Take breaks so that you don’t overuse a single joint and cause more pain.

·        Stand and walk around every half-hour or so.

When to seek medical help?

Joint pain is rarely an emergency. Most cases of mild joint pain can be successfully managed at home. Make an appointment with your doctor if your joint pain is accompanied by:

·        Swelling

·        Redness

·        Tenderness and warmth around the joint

 See a doctor immediately, if your joint pain is caused by an injury and is accompanied by:

Joint deformity

·        Inability to use the joint

·        Intense pain

·        Sudden swelling

Treatment Overview

Your doctor will probably perform a physical exam. They’ll also ask you a series of questions about your joint pain. This may help to narrow down the potential causes. A joint X-ray may be necessary to identify arthritis-related joint damage.

If your doctor suspects there’s another cause, they may order a blood test to screen for certain autoimmune disorders. They may also request a sedimentation rate test to measure the level of inflammation in the body or a complete blood count.

 Home treatment

Doctors consider both OA and RA to be chronic conditions. There’s no treatment currently available that will completely eliminate the joint pain associated with arthritis or keep it from returning. It may help to use topical pain relievers or take no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Stay physically active and follow a fitness program focusing on moderate exercise. If your pain isn’t due to arthritis, you can try taking a non-prescription, anti-inflammatory drug, getting a massage, taking a warm bath, stretching frequently, and getting adequate rest.

Medical treatment

Your treatment options will depend on the cause of the pain. In some cases, your doctor will need to draw out accumulated fluid in the joint area to test for infection or gout or other causes of the joint pain. They might also recommend surgery to replace the joint.

Other nonsurgical treatment methods could include lifestyle changes or medications that can potentially cause your RA to go into remission. In the case of RA, your doctor will first address inflammation. Once the RA goes into remission, your medical treatment will focus on keeping a tight rein on your condition so that you avoid flare-ups

Physiotherapy treatment for Joint Pain

Physiotherapy focuses on improving mobility for those with arthritis. It also restores the use of affected joints, reduces pain and strengthens muscles to support the joints. A physiotherapist will create an individualized treatment plan to improve flexibility, coordination and strength for maximum physical function. The main objective of PT in treating arthritis involves improving the mobility and re-establishing the functioning of affected joints. Physiotherapists are licensed professionals who strengthen affected joints by employing various therapies. Some of the common physiotherapy modalities for joint pain that are mainly associated with Osteo-Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis include:

·        Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation

·        Soft tissue Mobilization

·        Ultra Sound

·        Manual Therapy

·        Hydrotherapy

·        Acupuncture

·        Weight management training

Stretching and strengthening exercise