Joint Pain

Alternative Names:
Stiffness in a joint; Pain – joints; Arthralgia

Definition:
Joint pain can affect one or more joints. See also arthritis (inflammation of joints), muscle pain, and bursitis.

Joint pain can affect one or more joints depending on the causes & symptoms.

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Causes:
Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. No matter what causes it, joint pain can be very bothersome.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes stiffness and pain in the joints. Osteoarthritis involves growth of bone spurs and degeneration of cartilage at a joint. It is very common in adults older than 45 and can cause joint pain.

Joint pain may also be caused by bursitis (inflammation of the bursae). The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion and pad bony prominences, allowing muscles and tendons to move freely over the bone.

Most Common Causes:
*Unusual exertion or overuse, including strains or sprains
*Injury, including fracture
*Gout (especially found in the big toe)
*Osteoarthritis
*Septic arthritis
*Tendonitis
*Bursitis

Infectious diseases, including :
*Influenza
*Measles (rubeola)
*Rheumatic fever
*Epstein-Barr viral syndrome
*Hepatitis
*Mumps
*Rubella (German measles)
*Varicella (chickenpox)
*Paravirus
*Lyme disease
*Chondromalacia patellae
*Osteomyelitis
*Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Symptoms:

Pain, swelling, stiffness, and/or warmth in your joints. In the absence of an injury, pain in one or more of your joints often is caused by inflammation or infection.

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Treatment:

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Home Care :
Follow prescribed therapy in treating the underlying cause.

For nonarthritis joint pain, both rest and exercise are important. Warm baths, massage, and stretching exercises should be used as frequently as possible.

Anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve pain and swelling. Consult your health care provider before giving aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen to children.

When to Contact a Medical Professional:
*You have fever that is not associated with flu symptoms
*You have lose 10 pounds or more without trying (unintended weight loss)
*Your joint pain lasts for more than 3 days
*You have severe, unexplained joint pain, particularly if you have other unexplained symptoms

What to Expect at Your Doctor Visit:
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask you about your medical history. The following questions may help identify the cause of your joint pain:

*Which joint hurts? Is the pain on one side or both sides?
*How long have you been having this pain? Have you had it before?
*Did this pain begin suddenly and severely, or slowly and mildly?
*Is the pain constant or does it come and go? Has the pain become more severe?
*What started your pain?
*Have you injured your joint?
*Have you had an illness or fever?
*Does resting the joint reduce the pain or make it worse?
*Does moving the joint reduce the pain or make it worse?
*Are certain positions comfortable? Does keeping the joint elevated help?
*Do medications, massage, or applying heat reduce the pain?

What other symptoms do you have?
*Is there any numbness?
*Can you bend and straighten the joint? Does the joint feel stiff?
*Are your joints stiff in the morning? If so, how long does the stiffness last?

What makes the stiffness better?
*Tests that may be done include:
*CBC or blood differential
*Joint x-ray

Physical therapy for muscle and joint rehabilitation may be recommended. A procedure called arthrocentesis may be needed to remove fluid from the sore joint.

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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003261.htm
http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/symptoms/jointPain/jointPain1.shtml
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/joint-pain/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier

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