Joint pain refers to the aches, discomfort, and soreness in any of the body’s joints, including the hips, shoulders, knees, and elbows. This pain can be caused by an injury affecting the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint. Sometimes, joint pain can result in a serious condition or disorder such as bursitis or tendinitis.
Common Causes of Joint Pain
One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis. The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), each of which has its own tendencies when it comes to joint pain. OA is a noninflammatory disorder that is more prevalent in adults over the age of 40. It progresses slowly and usually affects areas such as the wrists, hands, hips, and knees, and can limit range of motion in addition to the pain.
On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis can deform the affected joints over time and is considered an inflammatory disorder. RA is more common in women than men and may cause fluid buildup in the joints as your body’s immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joints. Other causes of joint pain are:
- Septic arthritis
- Juvenile arthritis
- Infection of the bone or joint
- Certain diseases
- Overuse of a joint
Symptoms of Joint Pain
Joint pain can be mild – causing some discomfort after performing certain activities – or it can be severe, significantly limiting your mobility and causing excruciating pain. If you don’t know the root cause of your joint pain or joint damage, or you are experiencing additional symptoms, you may want to consider seeing a doctor to properly diagnose and treat your condition. You should also schedule an appointment with a doctor if:
- The area around your joint is swollen, red, tender, or warm
- The pain persists for more than three days
If you’ve suffered a serious injury or you experience sudden pain or swelling in your joints, our urgent care centers at Raleigh Orthopaedic welcome walk-ins for any and all patients.
How is Joint Pain Diagnosed and What are the Treatment Options?
Your doctor will perform a physical examination to assess your condition and its severity. You will likely be asked a series of questions to help narrow down the potential causes and rule out anything serious. An x-ray of the affected area may help to identify any damage related to arthritis.
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are both considered chronic conditions. There is currently no treatment that can completely eliminate joint pain associated with arthritis or prevent it from returning in the future. However, there are ways to manage the pain so you can continue doing the things you love most. Treatments for joint pain can include:
- Applying a heating pad or ice for short periods, several times a day
- Staying active and exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Stretching before working out
- Taking non-prescription, anti-inflammatory drugs
Outlook for People With Joint Pain
Joint pain is normally the result of wear and tear from daily activities or sports. In some cases, however, it can be a sign of infection or debilitating RA. Regardless of your individual situation, seeing a doctor for long-term care can be extremely beneficial for the health of your joints. Early detection can allow for the most effective treatment and help you live your happiest and healthiest life.
Comprehensive Orthopedic Care at Raleigh Orthopaedic
Your well-being is important to us. Raleigh Orthopaedic is Wake County’s oldest and most experienced orthopedic practice, serving the Triangle and surrounding regions of central North Carolina since 1919. Raleigh Orthopaedic offers online scheduling so click the button below or call us at (919) 781-5600 to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our Raleigh Orthopaedic Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.