Most people take their joints for granted and use them without a second thought – until they start to hurt. Joint pain can be incredibly debilitating, making it difficult to do even the simplest tasks. But what causes joint pain in the first place? More importantly, how can you make it go away?

What is Joint Pain?

Joint discomfort is common and usually felt in the hands, feet, hips, knees, shoulders, or spine. This discomfort can present itself in stiffness, achiness, or soreness and can be steady or come and go. Sometimes the joints experience a burning, throbbing, or irritating sensation. In some situations, joint pain can be more present in the morning as the joints stiffen up as you sleep and will then loosen throughout the day as you participate in physical activity. If physical activity makes the pain worse or if the pain is keeping you from performing any form of activity, it may be time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nelson!

Who is More Likely to Experience Joint Pain?

Joint pain tends to affect those who:

  • Are overweight
  • Suffer from poor health
  • Have had previous joint injuries
  • Repeatedly use or overuse a muscle
  • Have arthritis or other chronic medical conditions
  • Those who suffer from anxiety or stress

Age is also a large factor in stiff and painful joints. After years of wear and tear, joint-related issues may arise in middle-aged or older adults.

What Causes Joint Pain?

  • Osteoarthritis– Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that slowly forms over time as the cartilage between bones wears away. Joints then become painful and stiff.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis- This form of arthritis is a chronic disease that causes swelling and pain in the joints. Often, the joints become deformed or lumpy.
  • Bursitis- This is a condition often caused by overuse and is generally found in the knee, hip, or shoulder. Bursitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion and lubricate joints.
  • Tendinitis- This inflammation or irritation of tendons is typically seen in the elbow or shoulder and is the result of overuse.
  • Gout- Gout is a condition where crystals from the body collect in the joint area, causing pain and swelling.
  • Viral Infections- Infections, rashes, or fever can cause joint movement to be painful.
  • Injuries- Broken bones, sprains, or tears are all common causes of joint pain.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If joint pain is interfering with your everyday life, it’s time to talk to Dr. Nelson about the problem. If the issue at hand is approached quickly, a diagnosis and plan for treatment can help you back to your activities and help you maintain healthy, functioning joints.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Nelson right away if:

  • Pain is accompanied by a fever
  • You experience unexplained weight-loss
  • Pain is preventing you from walking normally

During your appointment, Dr. Nelson will work with you to find the source of the pain. Be prepared to answer questions about previous injuries, your medical history, and the type of pain you’re experiencing. Following an examination of the area and a diagnosis of the cause, Dr. Nelson will work with you to create a plan that’ll help you get back to your active lifestyle!