Gone are the days when joint pain was only a worry for people above 40. In today's sedentary lifestyle, they have become almost inevitable for everyone that has to sit in front of a screen for too long or stand in one place for hours together. Usually, joint pain is not caused by one specific reason but could be influenced by a number of factors such as one's age, lifestyle, weight, habits, and so on. The nature and severity of the pain also depend on the factors mentioned above. In order to avoid random bouts of pain in the middle of the day, here's everything you need to know about the causes of joint pain and how you can find relief from joint pain.
What is joint pain?
There are three types of joints in the human body, namely
While fibrous joints are mostly immobile, cartilaginous joints are partially movable, and synovial joints are flexible enough to allow limbs to move freely. Any physical discomfort in your body that occurs where two or more bones meet at a joint can be referred to as joint pain.
This physical discomfort can include
- a burning sensation
The pain you feel could be because of an injury in one or more than one joint. This pain could limit your ability to perform a number of everyday activities. Joint pain could be both permanent and temporary. While severe joint pain can hamper the overall quality of living, mild pain can limit your ability to perform tasks for a short period of time.
There are a number of factors and conditions that could cause severe joint pain. It may surprise you to know that children can also suffer from joint pain, including severe conditions like arthritis. These underlying conditions can be diagnosed depending on the symptoms of joint pain. Let’s take a look at a few of them, and their symptoms and causes.
This disorder mostly affects the hips, knees, hands and spine and is the most common form of joint pain. This condition occurs when two bones rub together for a long time resulting in stiffness or pain. In some cases, osteoarthritis also causes swelling, because of the breakage within the cartilage.
Causes: Here are a few reasons why you may be at a higher risk of experiencing osteoarthritis.
- A sedentary lifestyle.
- Excessive stress on a joint or its overuse.
- The older you get, the higher the risk of developing the disease.
- Post 50, women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men.
- An increase in weight can put some stress on your joints, exposing you to a greater risk of the disorder.
- If your family has a history of the disorder, you are more likely to develop the ailment.
Treatment: Although the disorder cannot be completely cured, patients can ease their pain by consulting with their doctor, who may recommend the following treatments.
- A physical therapist can help you with exercises that will ease your pain.
- Using support braces, such as a knee brace or an ankle brace, can lend support to the affected area and keep it steady.
- Through occupational therapy, you can learn easier ways to perform regular tasks so as to reduce stress on your injured joint.
- In cases of extreme pain, your medical professional may recommend surgery.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
This condition is severe and affects your joints for a longer period of time. Symptoms of this type of joint pain may occasionally worsen due to flares, wherein there is a sharp increase in pain for a short while. While this disorder mostly affects hands, wrists and feet, it could also affect other joints in the body.
Causes: Although the causes of this type of joint pain are not very clear, you are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis if:
- You’re an active smoker.
- You consume higher portions of red meat and lower amounts of vitamin C.
- You're overweight and your body mass index is above 25.
- You're a woman above the age group of 40 years.
- You don't exercise regularly.
Treatment: There isn't an absolute cure to the disorder, however, with the right care you can relieve pain, reduce inflammation and lower the amount of damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
- You can choose the right kind of medicine/medical treatment for joint pain under the supervision of your healthcare professional.
- Low-impact exercises such as stretching, walking or swimming can help relieve pain.
- You can apply a heat therapy to relieve stiffness and soothe pain or a cold pack in case of swelling.
- Stay physically active. Yoga and Tai Chi are considered to be the best forms of exercise for most people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Gout don't usually cause lasting damage, but the pain is sudden and severe. It usually occurs on the big toe and lasts for 5–7 days. The symptoms of this type of joint pain could get worse resulting in sudden flares that could cause extreme levels of pain.
Causes: Gout affects your joints when an excessive amount of uric acid and purines are found in your body. Here are a few factors that can increase the risk of gout:
- You could be at a higher risk of the disorder if you have recently undergone surgery regarding an injury.
- Over-consumption of alcohol can also increase your chances of getting gout.
- Purine-rich foods like seafood and red meats promote higher levels of uric acid, increasing the risk of gout.
- A family history of the disorder can also be a factor influencing the ailment.
- A recent accident can trigger a gout attack.
Treatment: There are a number of home remedies/treatments for joint pain that can ease one’s trouble and provide instant relief when it comes to gout, here are a few:
- Depending on the severity, you can contact your general physician and take medicines only under their supervision.
- Drinking an adequate amount of water can reduce pain and swelling.
- Applying ice on the affected area can help relieve pain.
- Limit intake of alcohol to reduce the amount of purine in your body.
One’s health is a reflection of one’s habits. Now that you know of the different types of joint pains, here are a few dos and don’ts that you can abide by to avoid or alleviate joint pain and swelling.
What you should do:
- Maintaining your weight can help you reduce the pressure on your knees and hips, thus reducing all types of joint pain and swelling.
- Regular exercise is an ideal way for you to maintain and regulate your body mass index. It also helps strengthen the muscles around your joints.
- Include Omega 3 in your diet to avail of its benefits and reduce all kinds of inflammation.
- A good posture can help you avoid numerous joint-related problems entirely. Sitting upright while working and taking breaks in between can also be quite helpful.
- Use joint braces to provide compression and support to weakened joints.
- Visit the doctor in case there’s a sudden change in your ability to move or in case you’ve been suddenly experiencing pain.
- Strengthen your core by adding exercises like pilates and yoga to your routine. Stronger muscles can reduce the impact of an injury.
- Consume foods that are rich in vitamin D and calcium. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by consuming the right kinds of foods.
What you shouldn’t do:
- Although a thorough exercise routine is recommended, remember to maintain a balance between your exercise and rest.
- Smoking is as bad for your joints as it is for your lungs. Regular smoking can increase stress on the connective tissues in your body.
- Avoid carrying luggage that is too heavy and in case you do, distribute the weight evenly to reduce the pressure on just one joint.
- Don’t wait till joint pain becomes unbearable, treat it as soon as possible to avoid the worst possible scenario.
- Avoid processed foods as they might cause inflammation, which could cause irritation in your joints.
- Avoid working from the comfort of your bed as much as possible to reduce all posture-related joint pain and swelling.
- Reduce screen time and take breaks frequently.
Bone health isn’t built up over a span of a few days, but over a number of years. While mild pains can be taken care of with the help of a few home remedies, severe pains require immediate attention from a doctor. Symptoms such as pounding pain in your wrist or sudden burning sensation in your ankle are a sign that you may need to consult with a health care expert.
Moreover, a regular visit to your healthcare provider can save you from a number of unnecessary problems. Thus, with the right information, care and treatment, you can bid adieu to joint pain and swelling.
Please note that the above recommendations are general care tips. Consult a healthcare professional in case of any uncertainty around wound treatment and healing.
Always see your doctor if a wound is deep, bleeding profusely or showing signs of infection. For diabetic patients especially, proper wound care holds the utmost importance. Do not hesitate to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or your podiatrist, even when it comes to minor wounds and cuts – especially if they’re on your feet.
The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Although compiled with great care, it is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult your doctor immediately.
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