Muscle and Joint Pain
Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body’s joints. Joint pain is a common complaint, and does not typically require a hospital visit. Arthritis is a frequent cause of joint pain. However, it can also be caused by other conditions or factors.
Arthritis and Joint Pain
There are two main forms of arthritis, both of which may cause many cases of joint pain.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 27 million individuals in the United States have this chronic condition. The knees, hips, and hands are affected most often (Arthritis Foundation, 2012). Joint pain due to osteoarthritis results from a breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints.
The second form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.3 million Americans (Arthritis Foundation, 2012). It can deform and debilitate the joints over time. Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the joints as the membrane that lines them is attacked by the body’s immune system. Other Common Causes of Joint Pain
Conditions other than arthritis that can cause joint pain include:
- bursitis (inflammation of the cushioning pads around joints)
- certain infectious diseases (such as mumps, influenza, and hepatitis)
- chondromalacia of the patella (breakdown of the kneecap’s cartilage)
- tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon)
- infection of the bone
Why Severe, Persistent, or New Joint Pain Should Not Be Ignored
Joint pain is often merely a result of the damage that occurs through normal wear and tear. However, it can also be a sign of an infection or potentially debilitating rheumatoid arthritis.
Have any instance of unexplained joint pain checked by your doctor, especially if it does not go away on its own after a few days. Early detection and diagnosis can allow for effective treatment of the underlying cause of your discomfort.