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What Causes Joint Pain Other Than Arthritis

When To Call Your Doctor

Arthritis – Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention

No matter what treatment youâre following, get medical help right away if the pain gets intense, your joint suddenly becomes inflamed or deformed, or you can no longer use the joint at all.

Show Sources

CDC: “QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Reporting Joint Pain or Stiffness – National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2006,” âGout.â

Collyott, C.L. Orthopaedic Nursing, 2008.

Palmer T. The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, 2004.

Vangsness, C.T. Jr. Arthroscopy, 2009.

Arthritis And Joint Pain Management

Many professional organizations have guidelines for managing arthritis pain. A common theme across guidelines is that pain management strategies should be flexible, include options that do not involve medication, and be tailored to meet the needs of the patient. Such guidelines suggest the following for managing arthritis symptoms such as pain:

  • Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
  • Physical activity/exercise or community-based physical activity programs.
  • Exercise therapy, including physical therapy.
  • Self-management education workshops.
  • Weight loss, if overweight or obese.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapya psychological, goal-directed approach in which patients learn how to modify physical, behavioral, and emotional triggers of pain and stress.

Prescription opioids are medications that can be used to treat moderate to severe pain. Many adults with arthritis are prescribed opioids,3 but there is a lack of evidence of their long-term effectiveness when used for chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Safer options exist to help manage arthritis pain.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Emerging evidence suggests that these are safer and more effective treatments for managing long-term arthritis pain than opioids.

Arthritis Pain Management without Medications

Physical Activity

Community-Based Physical Activity Programs

Self-Management Education Workshops

Sudden Onset Joint Pain

Sudden multiple joint pain is most often just a flare up of a pre-existing issue like Lupus, RA, or even osteoarthritis.

Even severe joint pain all over can just be a bad flare up of a pre-existing issue.

In that case, you probably dont need to worry about the sudden part. But you should absolutely worry about fixing the problem and getting your body working correctly again, even if your doctor has told you that there is no cure, no hope of getting better.An effective rheumatoid arthritis treatment can get rid of RA. Unfortunately, your doctor believes RA to be incurable.

If you have pre-existing issue, then youre probably familiar with flare ups. Maybe they show up quickly, maybe theyre even severe, but theyre definitely not new theyre not sudden joint pain. Its just more of the same, its not new pain.

Remember, there is no such thing as sudden onset arthritis symptoms.because arthritis is neither sudden nor new. Arthritis is chronic and has slowly been getting worse over time.

Infection thoughinfection is a dangerous and life threatening cause of sudden onset joint pain.

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  • Read Also: What Does Arthritic Changes Mean

    The Most Common Causes Of Muscle Pain

    Not all aches are related to stress or physical activity. As stated above, some medical conditions can cause muscle pain. For example:


    In case you have pain on both sides of your body that lasts longer than three months, it might be a sign of fibromyalgia. It is a long-term condition that can cause pain in muscles, general fatigue, sleep and cognitive disturbances. Other symptoms of this condition include headaches, dry eyes, anxiety, pain in the lower belly, and bladder problems.

    Keep in mind that only professional healthcare providers can make a diagnosis. If you notice the symptoms of fibromyalgia, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible and get the right treatment on time.

    Systemic Sclerosis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Osteoarthritis &  Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Wrist

    Systemic sclerosis, sometimes called scleroderma, is a rare and complicated autoimmune condition. It produces a build-up of collagen in the body that can cause a wide variety of symptoms.

    How is it similar to RA? The wrists, fingers, feet, and other joints can become painful, swollen, and stiff. People with systemic sclerosis can experience fatigue and weight loss.

    How is it different? Scleroderma typically causes skin changes. For example, the skin may appear thickened and patchy or shiny and tight. Systemic scleroderma can also affect internal organs, resulting in breathing and/or digestive tract problems.

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    The Causes Of Joint Pain Are Several And Arthritis Is Just One Of Them

    Written by Dr Anitha Anchan | Updated : May 27, 2016 10:02 AM IST

    A joint is a site at which bones connect. The connection between bones provides support and movement to the body. A joint comprises of bones separated by the cushioning cartilage. Ligaments, the fibrous tissue in and around the joint, connect the bones. Tendons attach muscles to bones. A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac which acts as lubricated cushion between a bone and its surrounding soft tissues at the joints. It helps reduce friction. Joint pain or arthralgia can affect you at any age but become increasingly more common as you age. It can affect one or more joints from your head to toe. It can be mild to severe and may last for few days to few weeks to several months. The causes of pain in the joints are several and arthritis i.e. inflammation of joint is just one of them. An injury or disease of the joint or its adjacent tissues can cause joint pain. Here is a list of some of the causes:

    1. Sprains and strains A sprain is an injury to the ligaments and a strain refers to muscle injury. Your ankle joints are most commonly prone to sprain whereas the hamstring muscle is most commonly strained. Sprains and strains can be very painful and are the most common causes of pain in a single joint.

    Inflammation Of The Joints

    Generally, inflammation of a joint is accompanied by an injury, disease, or infection. When a joint is inflamed, the synovium tends to get thicker and the the actual fluid production increases. Together, that causes the region of the joint to swell. The immune cells that create inflammation then move into the joint tissue. This whole process is referred to as active synovitis. Inflammation of the joint is also associated with the appearance of redness, a feeling of warmth or pain, and joint stiffness.

    Non-arthritic conditions that can lead to inflammation of joints include:

    • Bursitis
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Lyme Disease .
    • Tendinitis

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    Infectious And Reactive Arthritis

    Infectious arthritis is an infection in one of your joints that causes pain or swelling. The infection can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. It can start in another part of your body and spread to your joints. This kind of arthritis is often accompanied by a fever and chills.

    Reactive arthritis can occur when an infection in one part of your body triggers immune system dysfunction and inflammation in a joint elsewhere in your body. The infection often occurs in your gastrointestinal tract, bladder, or sexual organs.

    To diagnose these conditions, your doctor can order tests on samples of your blood, urine, and fluid from inside an affected joint.

    The fingers are most commonly affected with psoriatic arthritis , but this painful condition affects other joints as well. Pink-colored fingers that appear sausage-like, and pitting of the fingernails, may also occur.

    The disease may also progress to your spine, causing damage similar to that of ankylosing spondylitis.

    If you have psoriasis, theres a chance you could also develop PsA.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis

    Dr. Bobby Dupre: Joint Pain – Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Other Causes

    Many people confuse rheumatoid arthritis with osteoarthritis due to their similar symptoms, but the two diseases are caused by different factors.

    What is Osteoarthritis?

    Whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint malfunction due to inflammation, osteoarthritis is a mechanical disease brought on by the destruction of joints through wear and tear.

    Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, with approximately 27 million Americans over the age of 25 having been diagnosed with it. Osteoarthritis is also most commonly seen in people middle-aged to elderly and is the top cause of disability in those age groups, though it can also appear in younger people who have sustained joint injuries.

    With osteoarthritis, the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bone are all affected by deterioration and inflammation. When the cartilage begins to break down due to stress or changes in the body, the surrounding bones slowly get bigger and begin to fail.

    Osteoarthritis is a slowly progressing disease and occurs in the joints of the hand, spine, hips, knees, and toes. Furthermore, risk factors of this disease most often stem from lifestyle or biological causes, such as:

    • Obesity

    Osteoarthritis sometimes occurs alongside rheumatoid arthritis or other disease, such as gout.

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    What Is Osteoarthritis

    Your rubbery cartilage keeps your bones from rubbing together at the joints. Cartilage lets your joints glide smoothly, and it cushions the bones under normal circumstances. But osteoarthritis causes cartilage to break down. That leaves your joints painful with swelling and restricted movement.

    OA can cause your joints and cartilage to break down over time. This leads to bone growths called bone spurs. Your body tries to react to protect your bones by becoming inflamed. But some of the chemicals involved in the inflammatory process can damage cartilage even more.

    OA is the most common chronic joint problem. Nearly 30 million Americans have OA. While any joint can be harmed by OA, it tends to impact certain areas more than others. Fingers are vulnerable to OA, as are necks, hips, knees, and the lower back. Anyone of any age can be impacted by OA, but it is most common for those over age 65. In fact, one out of every 12 people over age 60 has OA.

    What Causes Joint Pain

    The most common causes of chronic pain in joints are:

    • Osteoarthritis, a common type of arthritis, happens over time when the cartilage, the protective cushion in between the bones, wears away. The joints become painful and stiff. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and usually occurs during middle age.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes swelling and pain in the joints. Often the joints become deformed .
    • Goutis a painful condition where crystals from the body collect in the joint, causing severe pain and swelling. This usually occurs in the big toe.
    • Bursitisis caused by overuse. It is usually found in the hip, knee, elbow, or shoulder.
    • Viral infections, rash, or fever may make joint movement painful.
    • Injuries, such as broken bones or sprains
    • Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons, or the flexible bands that connect bone and muscle. It is typically seen in the elbow, heel, or shoulder and is usually caused by overuse.

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    Weather Can Cause Joint Pain

    Can your aching joints really predict the weather? Some scientists say yes, but the precise mechanism of this has not be established. Your joints have nerves inside them called baro-receptors. These nerves respond to atmospheric pressure changes that often bring on bad weather. When the atmospheric pressure drops, some arthritis sufferers can feel it in their hands, shoulders, knees, hips, and elbows. Cooler weather can bring on joint pain, too.

    Infections Can Cause Joint Pain

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    Joint pain may be one symptom of an infection, and can begin within a few hours. This type of pain will likely also include redness, swelling, and the inability to move the joint. One common diagnosis is , which is usually caused by a bacterial infection. This type of infection can also be accompanied by fever, and requires immediate treatment in order to prevent permanent damage to the affected joints.

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    The Difference Between Acute Joint Pain And Arthritis

    Acute joint pain comes on suddenly and usually doesnt result from an underlying condition or damage to the joint. Some of the possible causes of acute joint pain other than arthritis include:

    • Bursitis
    • Inflammation from trauma
    • Overuse

    Depending on the underlying cause and severity, acute joint pain is usually treated with rest, icing, medication, and physical therapy if needed. Depending on the cause, acute joint pain usually clears up within a few weeks with self care and conservative treatment.

    Not All Joint Pain Is Arthritis

    As a rheumatologist, Im becoming an expert in evaluating all types of joint pain. My adult patients are wonderful at describing how their joints feel: burning, stabbing, pressure, stiffness, crushing, aching, throbbing. Children use more creative language: the joint feels like ice cream, like aliens are poking at them with needles from the inside, like bugs are crawling over them.

    Pain in a joint is one of the most common reasons why patients are referred to a rheumatologist, often with the suspicion that the pain is due to arthritis. Although there are many causes of joint pain, one simple question can help to differentiate between arthritis and most of the other conditions.

    Arthritis is a term that refers to inflammation of a joint. There are two basic types of arthritis: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis. Its easy to see inflammatory arthritis: it causes joint swelling, warmth, redness, and pain. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, does not cause much joint inflammation and usually only presents pain.

    So how is one to tell the difference between all of the entities that cause joint pain? Just ask this question: when do your symptoms occur?

    Take-home points:

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    How Is Joint Pain And Swelling Treated

    Acute joint pain, such as strains and sprains, can usually be helped by the PRICE method:

    • Protect the joint area from further damage or harm.
    • Rest the joint avoid activities that cause pain.
    • Ice the joint for 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours make sure the ice is wrapped up so it doesnt touch your skin.
    • Compress the joint with a bandage which is firm, but not tight.
    • Elevate the joint above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.

    Medication such as steroids, paracetamol or ibuprofen may help. Sometimes your doctor may inject steroids into the joint and remove some of the fluid.

    If you have long term joint pain and swelling, see your doctor. They will provide a plan of treatment, including exercise and appropriate medicines. The best types of exercises are gentle to your joints they include swimming, aqua aerobics, tai chi, cycling or walking.

    If the problem is caused by an infection, you may need antibiotics or surgery to drain the area.

    Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

    Osteoarthritis – Joint Pain and Stiffness, Osteoarthritis Symptoms and treatment

    Bacteria called R. rickettsii cause it, and a tick bite is usually how you get it. Most of the symptoms are flu-like fever, chills, headache, nausea, insomnia, and muscle aches. A rash that doesnt itch can show up on your wrists and ankles after a few days, then spread. Antibiotics treat it, and the sooner you take them, the better. If not treated, it can lead to inflammation in your lungs, heart, and brain, then kidney failure.

    Recommended Reading: Seronegative Arthritis Mayo Clinic

    Severe Joint Pain Among Adults With Arthritis

    Arthritis-related severe joint pain affects adults of all ages, both sexes, and all races and ethnicities. Most of what we know about severe joint pain is for adults. The age-standardized prevalence of severe joint pain among adults with arthritis varies by state, ranging from 20% in Utah to 46% in Mississippi.1

    From 2002 to 2014 in the United States, severe joint pain prevalence among adults with arthritis was:

    • Higher among women than men .
    • Highest among adults aged 45 to 64 years . Prevalence was the same for adults aged 18 to 44 years and adults aged 65 years or older .
    • Highest among non-Hispanic Blacks , followed by Hispanics , and non-Hispanic whites .
    • Severe joint pain is more common among adults with arthritis who also have other chronic conditions including diabetes , heart disease , and obesity , and among adults with a disability .
    • More than half of adults with arthritis and serious psychological distress reported having severe joint pain.

    Tests And Diagnosis Of Joint Pain

    If you have joint pain, your doctor will examine the joint, and ask you questions regarding the pain and how it started.

    If they suspect gout, rheumatoid arthritis or an autoimmune cause for your joint pain, they may suggest you have specific blood tests to look for antibodies or markers of the disease.

    Sometimes they may suggest you have an X-ray. Rarely, other imaging may be relevant, such as an MRI scan, CT scan or bone scan.

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    Are You Suffering From Tender Aching Joints From Gout To Rheumatoid Arthritis To Psoriatic Arthritis Pinpoint The Cause Of Your Joint Pain With This Guide

    Amanda Gardner is a freelance health reporter whose stories have appeared in cnn.com, health.com, cnn.com, WebMD, HealthDay, Self Magazine, the New York Daily News, Teachers & Writers Magazine, the Foreign Service Journal, AmeriQuests and others. In 2009, she served as writer-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She is also a community artist and recipient or partner in five National Endowment for the Arts grants.

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    “Oh, my aching joints.” No doubt you’ve heard this before . It’s more than a cliché. Tens of millions of Americans suffer from joint pain that can sometimes be debilitating. If you have joint pain, your top priority should be to find out what’s behind the tender, aching joints so you can get the right therapies. “Diagnosis is absolutely critical,” says James O’Dell, MD, chief of rheumatology at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. “Start off with your primary care doctor, but if you’re continuing to have a problem, you need to get a rheumatologist.”

    Here, eight possible conditions that could be causing aches and pain in your joints.

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