Joint pain

Joint pain can be caused by inflammation or damage to the cartilageligamentsbones, and tendons that surround the joints.


What are the causes of joint pain?

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful inflammatory disease that causes swelling, stiffness, and joint deformities. This autoimmune disease affects cells that line and lubricate the joints (synovial tissue).

Usually, rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints in a symmetrical manner (both right and left). For example, it can affect both wrists, hands, knees and feet.
In contrast to osteoarthritis, the affected persons in rheumatoid arthritis are much younger.

In the blood analysis, the ESR is increased, which is a value for the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

What are the symptoms of RA on the hand and fingers?
The (proximal) joints of the fingers and wrist closer to the trunk are most affected by RA. Among the symptoms we find:

  • pain in the hand,
  • swelling,
  • stiffness and limited range of motion,
  • pain in the fingers,
  • swollen fingers,
  • overheated and stiff joints when touched,
  • symmetrically affected joints (both wrists and the fingers of both hands),
  • joints that “crackle” during movement (crepetation),
  • deformation of the joints of the hand,
  • numbness and tingling on the fingers (as in carpal tunnel syndrome),
  • Pain and stiffness after awakening, persisting for more than an hour.

What is the therapy for RA?
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis includes:

  • Medication;
  • rest and movement exercises;
  • special bandage, which serves to relieve pain and relieve pressure from the joints;
  • stress management;
  • Dietary change: avoid foods that promote inflammation and consume what reduces it, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, found in linseed oil and cold-water fish;
  • regular medical check-ups;
  • physiotherapy and rehabilitation;
  • surgical intervention to restore functionality.

Joint pain and osteoarthritis

Many people confuse osteoarthritis with arthritis, which are two very different health problems.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease.
It is mainly observed in the elderly.

Arthritis means joint inflammation, it causes:

  • Ache
  • Swelling
  • Restriction of movement.

Osteoarthritis is a physiological phenomenon that begins at about 30-35 years, so older people have developed osteoarthritis in almost all joints.
Fortunately, this degeneration does not provoke pain if the joint does not become inflamed.
The doctor often tells the patient that the symptoms are provoked by osteoarthritis without further examination; in reality, the pain could also have another origin:

  • Brawn
  • Annoy
  • Yearning
  • Connective tissue, etc.

Many older people lead sedentary lives and thus muscles and vision shorten over time, causing pain and stiffness.

Osteoarthritis primarily affects the cartilage, a firm but smooth tissue that covers the ends of bones. Healthy cartilage allows bones:

  • to move against each other,
  • absorb shocks during movement.

In osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage is brittle and worn.
This causes the bones to rub against each other during movement, resulting in:

  • Complaints
  • Loss of movement in the joints.

Over time, the joints may lose their normal shape. In addition, small areas of bone – so-called osteophytes or bone spurs – can grow beyond the joint edges.
Some bone fragments can detach and get inside the joint. This, of course, causes more pain.
People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain associated with restricted movement.
Unlike other forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joint function and has no effect on:

  • Skin
  • Lungs
  • Eyes
  • Blood vessels.

Which areas are affected by osteoarthritis?

    • HandsOsteoarthritis of the hands seems to have some hereditary factors. Women are more likely than men to develop this pathology, especially after menopause.
      If osteoarthritis affects the small joints of the fingers, small nodules can develop on it, the so-called Heberden’s nodules.
      Other nodules can appear on the middle joints of the fingers, in this case they are called Bouchard nodes.
    • The fingers may become thicker, stiffen and lose their sensitivity.
      The root joint of the thumb is also often affected by osteoarthritis (rhizarthrosis).
      The pain is strongest in the morning, after exertion or when the weather changes to low pressure.
      If the atmospheric pressure is low, the pressure inside the joints increases proportionally, which means that the symptoms become worse.
  • Knee: The knees are the joints in the leg most affected by osteoarthritis.
    Symptoms of gonarthrosis with inflammation (arthritis) include stiffness, swelling, and pain that make walking and climbing stairs difficult.
    Symptoms of gonarthrosis are most severe during the change of seasons. Patients suffer the most during the transition of the climate from cold to warm and vice versa, that is, in spring and autumn.
    Gonarthrosis can lead to severe disability.
  • Hip: The hip is often affected by osteoarthritis. In case of inflammation, the symptoms are pain and joint stiffness. The pain is usually transmitted in the groin, in the inner thigh to the knees. Osteoarthritis of the hip can interfere with walking and flexion, making everyday movements such as dressing or putting on shoes more difficult.
  • SpineOsteoarthritis of the spine does not cause any symptoms, but in case of inflammation, stiffness and pain occur in the neck and/or back. In some cases, the structural changes to the spine caused by osteoarthritis can cause pressure on the nerves emerging from the spine, with the consequences of weakness and/or numbness in the arms and legs.
    When it rains, the pain is stronger. As a rule, they worsen two days before the rain hits.
  • The shoulder is not affected by osteoarthritis because it has no weight to carry and does not have the characteristics of the hand.
    Joint pain in the shoulder is mainly caused by lesions of the supraspinatus muscle, bursitis and a calcified shoulder.

What therapy is there for osteoarthritis?
Therapy for osteoarthritis aims to reduce pain and improve joint mobility.
Among the treatments there are:

    • Painkillers: These include acetaminophen (for example, ben-u-ron), aspirin, ibuprofen (dolormin), or ketoprofen (alrheumun).
    • Topical medicines: Some medicines in the form of cream or spray may be applied to the skin at the affected area to relieve the pain.
  • Exercises: Physical activity can improve joint mobility and strengthen the muscles of the joints. Light exercises and stretching are recommended because they cause little pressure on the joints.
    Activities that increase joint pain (jogging, high-load aerobics, etc.) are better avoided. With arthritis, a doctor should be consulted to find out which exercises are most appropriate.
  • Weight control: Losing weight can prevent additional weight strain on joints.
  • Prescription medications: They help reduce pain and swelling in the joints.
  • Hyaluronic acid injections: These medications can be given as injections to reduce pain in some people with osteoarthritis. Pharmaceuticals include Hyalgan, Hyalart, Ostenil and Synvisc.
  • Injections of corticosteroids: The doctor may inject these effective medications directly into the joint to lower the pain. Frequent and lengthy use can cause joint damage.
  • Narcotics: Narcotics are the strongest medications prescribed when the pain is very severe.
  • Surgical procedure: After various treatments have been tried, some people need surgical surgery to relieve chronic pain in the joints, for example, a hip or knee joint prosthesis.
    The results of knee joint replacement surgery are often poor, most patients continue to experience pain and movement is very limited. In contrast, the insertion of a hip prosthesis usually shows good results.

Joint pain and fibromyalgia

This chronic disease is characterized by diffuse and shooting pain in muscles and joints.
There are certain painful points in the body, called tender points, which are related to fibromyalgia.
There is an emotional component among the causes of fibromyalgia – people who suffer from anxiety and depression are more likely to develop this disease.
Among the symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Amnesia
  • Tachycardia
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Numbness
  • Muscle.

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 streptococci, it is a bacterial infection that can lead to swallowing disorders.
    In addition to high fever and joint pain, scarlet fever causes a characteristic rash, which often covers most of a person’s body.
    Antibiotics are the drugs needed to treat this infection.
  • Bacterial pneumonia: bacterial pneumonia is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs and the tubular system of the lungs, called bronchioles.
    In addition to high fever and joint pain, bacterial pneumonia can also cause chills, restlessness and severe chest pain.
    In this type of pneumonia, antibiotics are mainly used for therapy.

Joint pain during pregnancy

During pregnancy, feelings of joint stiffness and pain may occur on:

  • Elbow
  • Fingers
  • Kneel
  • in the flanks.

What can cause joint pain during pregnancy?
Increasing body weight in pregnancy can cause excessive pressure on the joints (especially knees and heels).
If you do a lot of sports, the joint pain can be caused by shock loads and overuse of the joints.
Carpal tunnel syndrome also often occurs during pregnancy.
In addition to body weight gain, increased water retention can create pressure on the wrists, causing pain.
During pregnancy, hormone levels change and cause a loosening of joint structures and ligaments.
This allows the pelvic apparatus to expand during the birth process.
In this situation, the joints experience increased stress and can become inflamed, causing joint pain.
Symptoms may persist even after delivery and during lactation.
The joint pain may be the result of hypothyroidism, a disease of the thyroid gland that produces fewer hormones.

Menopause and joint pain

Joint pain, swelling, and joint stiffness can be symptoms of menopause.
The joint pain affects many aging people, especially menopausal women. This pain is strongest in the morning and improves during the day.
Hips and knees are the joints most affected by osteoarthritis in postmenopause, but the hands and fingers are also commonly affected.
Exercises with high joint loads, such as jogging, can exacerbate the problems, even if the pain quickly disappears at rest.

Other Common Causes of Joint Pain

Different forms of arthritis that can cause joint pain:

  • bursitis (inflammation of the bursae that cushions the joints;
  • rheumatoid diseases such as lupus, gout, psoriatic arthritis or scleroderma;
  • some viruses that cause, for example, parotitis, influenza, hepatitis and mononucleosis;
  • chondropathia patellae (the cartilage of the kneecap becomes rough);
  • Injuries;
  • tendinitis (tendonitis);
  • bone infection;
  • excessive load;
  • cancer (for example, leukemia and lymphoma);
  • Sarcoidosis;
  • Rickets.

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