Remedies for Joint Pain
Joints are very vital parts of the body that help limb movements. If a person has pain in the joints, known as arthralgia, it can be uncomfortable and impact their ability to perform daily activities.
A joint is a point where bones connect the skeletal system. Most joints are mobile, which allows the body to make different kinds of movements. Three different types of joints are fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial.
Fibrous joints are immovable and they include the cranium in the skull, the joints between the teeth and the sockets in the jaw, and the joints between the bones of the lower leg.
Cartilaginous joints are where cartilage joins two bones. These joints are partially movable like the joint between the left and right pubic bone.
Synovial joints are the joints that allow free limb movements. These joints have a cavity in them that contains synovial fluid which allows the bones that connect the joint to move easily like the knee, elbow, hip, and shoulder.
Causes of Joint pain
Several factors can cause a person to have joint pain. If a person has multiple joint pain, it is known as polyarthralgia. Usually, joint pain can be due to an injury, infection, illness, or inflammation.
Let's look at some of the common causes of joint pain:
Injury is a very common cause of joint pain. Injuries can include the excessive use or effort of the joints or an effect that causes a fracture, sprain, or strain.
A common knee injury is a damage to the anterior cruciate ligament. People who play sports, such as soccer, basketball, or football, are more at risk of injuring their ACL.
Some kinds of infections may cause joint pain. The hepatitis C virus can cause some complications that lead to joint pain. It is common for people with HCV to have related rheumatic diseases, which can result in problems, including pain in the joints.
Some diseases can lead to joint pain like lupus a chronic autoimmune disease, and common symptoms are muscle and joint pain. In fact, joint pain is the first symptom among half of those who develop lupus.
People develop lupus because their body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and starts attacking normal, healthy tissue.
Arthritis and arthralgia are very similar but have some key differences. Both describe joint pain, but arthralgia occurs without the distinct inflammation in the joint that characterises arthritis. Nearly half of the adults with arthritis report constant joint pain.
There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis, like:
- osteoarthritis (OA)
- rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- septic arthritis
The cause of arthritis varies among the different kinds.
OA occurs due to cartilage loss in the joints. Calcification of the cartilage around the joints makes the cartilage thinner before damaging it completely. Older adults are very much likely to get osteoarthritis.
RA is an autoimmune response to a trigger in which the body tries to fight off thinking it as an invader but instead degrades the cartilage and bones in the joints.
Gout often occurs due to the crystallization of uric acid in the body. Uric acid gets into the spaces of joint m, causing inflammation.
In most cases, septic arthritis happens due to a bacterial infection. Bacteria get into the synovial fluid in the joints, which eventually degrades the cartilage, causing arthritis.
Symptoms of joint pain
Other symptoms that are commonly seen along with joint pain include:
- joint tenderness
- joint stiffness
- joint swelling
- limited joint movement
- weakness in the joint
The initial diagnosis of joint pain will be done as an evaluation by a doctor. They will firstly look at the person’s medical history and carry out a physical examination.
The doctor may ask whether the pain appeared after an injury or whether there is a family history of joint issues. As part of the physical exam, they will inspect the joints and check the range of motion in the joints.
A doctor may prescribe some laboratory tests to help with the diagnosis. These may include blood tests to look for the following:
- rheumatoid factor
- erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- uric acid
- C-reactive protein
- antinuclear antibodies
- Imaging techniques like X-ray and MRI, ultrasound, and CT scan
Treatment for joint pain
Treatment for joint pain varies depending on the underlying cause.
Usually, a doctor may prescribe painkillers to relieve pain. For arthritis, they may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.
If the joint pain is due to an infection, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics or antivirals to decrease and manage the symptoms.
If the pain is because of an injury or arthritis, a doctor may refer to a physical therapist for rehabilitation. In more severe cases, or if the pain persists, a doctor may recommend surgery.
Home remedies for joint pain
The results of using home remedies for joint pain can vary depending on the underlying cause of it. People might be able to manage joint pain at home by taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, or using topical capsaicin.
Using the RICE method may also be beneficial for reducing pain. This involves resting the injured area, applying ice packs, wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage, and elevating the area to decrease swelling.
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (both found in human cartilage) are popular for treating the pain and swelling linked to osteoarthritis. Studies on their effectiveness are mixed, but a research review determined that this combo significantly decreases pain and boosts functioning in people with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Joint pain can be due to various different conditions, including injury and infection.
People usually manage mild joint pain with home remedies, but medical treatment is likely to be required for severe or persistent joint pain.