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Joint pain is a common health condition and may result from one of several known causes. Although usually the results of an injury or sprain, joint pain can results from underlying conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Joint Pain Overview
Joint pain, also referred to as'arthralgia', can occur in one or more joints. It may result from different types of injuries, infections, or far more rarely, tumors of the joint. Irrespective of the cause, joint pain can cause extreme discomfort and can seriously impact on quality of life.
Joint Pain Symptoms
The symptoms of joint pain will vary according to the cause. Symptoms like pain, swelling, stiffness, and/or warmth in your joints suggest joint inflammation due to an injury or an underlying condition like OA or RA. These symptoms can also be due to an infection in the joint.
Affected joints may be red, swollen and painful to touch and joint mobility may be restricted. It may be difficult to pinpoint the actual source of pain â€“ the joint itself, the tissues surrounding it or an affected ligament or tendon. When joint pain is severe or ongoing you may need to see a doctor to determine the exact cause and identify the most appropriate treatment.
Joint Pain Causes
Painful and stiff joints do not necessarily develop as a result of growing old. Although most commonly caused by wear and tear and injury, joint pain can be caused by more serious conditions like rheumatoid arthritis - an autoimmune disorder that causes stiffness and pain in the joints, and osteoarthritis, which involves growth of bone spurs and degeneration of cartilage at a joint. Osteoarthritis is very common in adults older than 45
Gout, metabolic disorders, bone diseases and very rarely tumours can all result in joint pain.
Joint Pain Diagnosis
Evaluating joint pain may be difficult because some symptoms and signs are common to various underlying conditions. Diagnosis may involve a detailed analysis of your medical history and a thorough physical examination. A variety of laboratory tests may be conducted. The doctor may request x-ray scans, or imaging procedures like MRI and CT scans to evaluate the joint.
The doctor may also refer you to a specialist for an arthroscopy, where a small, flexible tube inserted into the joint to examine through a very small skin incision to examine the interior regions.
Joint Pain Treatment
In most cases anti-inflammatory medications along with adequate rest, warm baths, massage, and stretching exercises may provide you with relief from symptoms and help you perform routine activities without too much discomfort.
Your doctor may suggest seeing a physiotherapist who will put together a rehabilitation programme often involving massage as well as strengthening and stretching exercises. Exercising under supervision will improve joint mobility and muscle tone.
There are several nutritional supplements that have shown promise in relieving joint pain and maintaining healthy joints.
In the most severe cases, where the joint is irreparably damaged, your doctor or specialist may suggest surgey.
Joint Pain and Self Help Tips
Try resting the joint, do gentle stretching exercises or use ice or heat application for a start. Consult a doctor if your symptoms do not abate within three days.
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