The phrase “joint pain” covers a lot of territory. Even if you narrow your joint pain down to arthritis, you’re talking about any one of more than 100 different diseases that affect the joints!
The experts at all three locations of Apex Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, are familiar with the potentially debilitating nature of joint pain, and understand that a correct diagnosis is the first step in developing an effective treatment program. In this post, we describe five common causes of joint pain.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of joint disease. It’s caused by time and use. As we age, the cartilage that cushions and protects our bones where they meet begins to wear down. At the same time, our bodies produce less of the lubricating fluid that helps our joints move smoothly.
If you have osteoarthritis, your joints are likely stiff and swollen, and you may notice they “lock” into position sometimes. Your risk of the condition increases with age, so if you’re over 40 years old and your joints are hurting, osteoarthritis could be the reason.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis
The second most common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition. Your body’s natural defense system mistakes the membrane that lines your joints as something harmful and reacts to it, which can cause severe damage over time.
Rheumatoid arthritis has other symptoms as well as joint pain. You may have a low fever and feel exceptionally tired. You may also notice that your joints are more swollen and tender early in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes fatigue, musculoskeletal pain — including joint pain — and sleep disturbances. If you have fibromyalgia, you may also have difficulty concentrating or remembering. Although fibromyalgia is much better understood now than in the past, there’s still a great deal doctors and researchers don’t know.
If you’re a post-menopausal woman and you don’t have osteoarthritis, osteoporosis could be the cause of your joint pain. When you have osteoporosis, your bones become weakened and fragile and more prone to fracturing or breaking.
Risk factors for osteoporosis include age, gender, family history, your lifestyle, and others. A bone density test can measure the strength of your bones and indicate your risk of osteoporosis.
Tendons connect your muscles to your bones. Your tendons are thick, flexible cords that are generally very strong. Since they are often near joints, when tendons become inflamed or irritated, it feels like joint pain.
Athletes and adults over the age of 40 have the greatest risk of tendonitis. Poor posture, repetitive motions, diabetes, and certain medications can all increase the likelihood of developing tendonitis.
These are only five of potentially hundreds of possible reasons you have joint pain. However, all of the causes listed here, along with many others, have effective treatments, whether lifestyle changes, mediations, or physical therapy, among others.
If you’re experiencing joint pain, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment at Apex Medical Center so a highly trained medical professional can evaluate your symptoms.