Causes of joint pain

Joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis

The rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease that causes painful swelling , stiffness and joint deformities. 
This autoimmune disease affects the cells that cover and lubricate the joints (synovial tissue).

Generally, rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints symmetrically (on the right and left sides). For example, it can affect both wrists, hands, knees and feet. 
In relation to arthrosis , rheumatoid arthritis affects younger people.

In blood tests, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is high; this value indicates the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in the hand and fingers? 
The joints closest to the fingers and the wrist are the areas most affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms include:

What is the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis ide? 
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis includes:

  • Medicines;
  • Rest and exercise;
  • A special orthosis that helps eliminate pain and pressure inside the joint;
  • Self-control of stress;
  • Food changes: Eliminate foods that can increase inflammation and consume those that reduce it, such as the omega-3 and vitamin D fatty acids found in flaxseed oil and cold-water fish;
  • Periodic medical examinations;
  • Physiotherapy and rehabilitation;
  • Surgery to help restore functionality.


Joint pain and arthritis

Many people confuse arthritis with arthritis , but they are two very different health problems. 
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and mainly affects the elderly.

Arthritis means inflammation of the joint and causes:

  • Pain,
  • Swelling,
  • Limitation of movement.

Osteoarthritis is a physiological phenomenon that begins at the age of about 30-35 years; therefore, the elderly develop osteoarthritis in almost all joints. 
Fortunately, this degeneration does not cause pain if the joint does not ignite. 
Often, the doctor tells the patient that the symptoms are caused by the arthrosis, without doing a thorough analysis, but in reality, the pain can be caused by:

  • Muscles
  • Nervous,
  • Tendons,
  • Connective tissue, etc.

Many older people have a sedentary life, and thus, muscles and tendons become shorter with age, causing pain and stiffness.

Osteoarthritis mainly affects the cartilage , a hard but slippery tissue that covers the ends of the bones. 
The cartilage in health allows the bones:

  • Glide over each other,
  • Absorb shocks during movement.

In arthrosis, the superficial layer of cartilage breaks and wears out. 
The consequence is that the bones scrape one upon the other during movement, causing:

  • Discomfort,
  • Loss of movement of the joint.

Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. In addition, small deposits of bone called osteophytes or bony spurs can grow at the edges of the joint. 
Some bone fragments can separate and enter into the joint. Of course this causes even more pain. 
People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pains, accompanied by movement restrictions. 
Unlike other forms of arthritis , arthrosis only affects joint functions and does not affect:

  • Skin,
  • Lungs,
  • Eyes,
  • Blood vessels.

What are the areas affected by arthrosis?

  • Hands:  The  arthrosis of the hands seems to have some hereditary characteristics. Women are more likely to develop the disease than men, especially after menopause. 
    When the arthrosis affects the small joints of the fingers, small nodules called Heberden’s nodules may form. 
    Other nodules may appear in the central joints of the fingers, but in this case they are called Bouchard’s nodules.
  • The fingers may become larger, harder and lose their sensitivity. 
    Even the base of the thumb joint is often affected by arthrosis (rizartrose). 
    The pain is most intense in the morning, after exertion or when the weather changes and there is low atmospheric pressure. 
    If the atmospheric pressure is low, the pressure inside the joint is high compared to the external pressure and therefore the symptoms worsen.
  • Knees:  The knees are the joints of the legs most affected by arthrosis. 
    Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis with inflammation (arthritis) include stiffness, swellingand pain that make walking and climbing stairs difficult. 
    The symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are more severe during the change of season. Patients suffer more when the weather changes from cold to warm weather; therefore, in the spring and autumn. 
    Osteoarthritis of the knee can lead to disability.
  • Hip:  The hip is often affected by arthrosis. In the case of inflammation, symptoms include joint pain and stiffness . Pain usually affects the groin, from the inner thigh to the knee. The hip arthrosis can limit walking and bending movements hindering daily activities such as getting dressed and put on your shoes.
  • Spine:  the  arthritis of the spine causes no symptoms, but in the case of inflammation is manifested by stiffness and pain in the neck and / or back pain. In some cases, structural changes in the spine associated with arthritis can cause pressure on nerves coming out of the spinal cord, with consequent  weakness and / or numbness in the arms and legs. 
    When it rains the pain is stronger and usually worsens two days before the rain.
  • The shoulder is not affected by osteoarthritis because it should not support the weight of the body and because it does not have the characteristics of the hand. 
    Joint pain in the shoulder is mainly caused by supraspinatus injury , bursitis,and  calcification .

What is the treatment for arthrosis? 
The treatment for osteoarthritis aims to reduce pain and improve joint movement. 
Treatments include:

  • Analgesic medicines : these include acetaminophen (paracetamol, for example), aspirin, ibuprofen (Alivium) or ketoprofen (artrosil).
  • Topical treatments : Certain medications in the form of creams or sprays can be applied on the skin of the affected areas to relieve pain.
  • Exercise : Physical activity can improve joint mobility and strengthen the muscles that act on the joints. Mild exercises such as swimming or walking on flat surfaces are recommended because they create little stress on the joints. 
    Activities that increase joint pain (jogging, high-impact aerobics, etc.) should be avoided. In the case of arthritis, consult a doctor to find out which exercises are most suitable.
  • Weight control : Slimming can prevent more stress on joints that support weight.
  • Medications prescribed by doctors:  help reduce pain and swelling of the joints.
  • Hyaluronic Acid Infiltration : These medications can be given as an injection to relieve pain in some people with osteoarthritis. Among the drugs are Synvisc and Synvisc-One.
  • Cortisone Injections : Your doctor can inject these potent medications directly into the joint for pain relief. Frequent and prolonged use over time can cause damage to the joints.
  • Narcotics : Narcotics are more potent drugs that are prescribed when the pain is too strong.
  • Surgery : After experiencing different treatments, some people need surgery to relieve chronic joint pain, for example a hip  or knee replacement . 
    Based on statistics regarding my patients, the results of knee prosthesis surgery are often scarce, most patients continue to have pain and movement is very limited. On the contrary, hip prosthesis surgery usually gives good results.


Joint pains and fibromyalgia

This chronic disease is characterized by generalized and migrant pain in muscles and joints. 
There are certain painful points in the body, called tender points, which are related to fibromyalgia . 
Among the causes of fibromyalgia there is an emotional component: people suffering from anxiety and depression are more likely to have this disease. 
Symptoms include:


High fever and joint pain

High fever and joint pain are two symptoms that can indicate various diseases:

  • Scarlet fever: Scarlet fever is caused by streptococcal bacteria and is abacterial infection that can cause difficulty in swallowing. 
    Scarlet fever causes a characteristic rash that covers most of a person’s body, in addition to high fever and joint pain. Antibiotic
    medicines are used to treat this infection.
  • Bacterial pneumonia : Bacterial pneumonia is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs and small tubes in the lungs called the bronchioles. 
    In addition to high fever and joint pain, bacterial pneumonia can also cause chills, agitation, and severe chest pain . 
    Antibiotics are the most common method of treatment for this type of pneumonia.


Joint pain during pregnancy

During pregnancy, you may feel feelings of stiffness and pain in:

  • Elbows,
  • Fingers,
  • Knees,
  • Hips.

What can cause joint pain during pregnancy? 
Weight gain in pregnancy can cause excessive pressure on the joints (knees and heels in particular). 
If the pregnant woman practices a lot of sport, the joint pain can result from an effort and excessive use of the joints. 
During pregnancy, carpal tunnel syndrome is also very common . 
In addition to weight gain, a liquid stagnant can increase pressure on the wrist, causing pain. 
During pregnancy hormone levels change and cause looseness (less stability) of the joint and ligament structures. 
This allows for pelvic dilation during labor.
In this situation, the joints suffer greater stress and may become inflamed causing joint pain. 
Symptoms may continue even after delivery and during breastfeeding. 
Joint pain may be the result of hypothyroidism , a thyroid disorder that produces fewer hormones.


Menopause and joint pain

Joint pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints may be menopausal symptoms . 
Joint pain affects many people who get older and especially women in menopause. These pains are usually stronger in the morning, but they improve throughout the day.

The hip and knees are the joints most affected by postmenopausal osteoarthritis, but also the hands and fingers are affected many times. 
High-impact exercises, such as jogging, can aggravate the problem, although pain may pass quickly through the home.


Other common causes of joint pain

Pain in the joints

Different diseases of arthritis that can cause joint pain are:

  • Bursitis (inflammation of the cushion pads around the joints);
  • Rheumatic diseases such as lupus, gout , psoriatic arthritis or scleroderma ;
  • Some viruses, for example, those that cause mumps, g ripe , hepatitis B and mononucleosis ;
  • Patellar chondromalacia (the cartilage of the patella becomes rough);
  • Injuries;
  • Tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon);
  • Bone infection;
  • Excessive use;
  • Cancer (eg, leukemia and lymphoma);
  • Sarcoidosis ;
  • Rickets


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