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Joint Pain

Joint Pain

By Pharmacist, Doreen


Joints form the connections between bones.  They provide support and help you move.  Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain.  


Cause of joint pain

Joint pain is extremely common, especially as you age.  Pain maybe constant or it can come and go.  Sometimes the joint can feel stiff, achy or sore.  Some patients complain of a burning, throbbing, or “grating” sensation.  In addition, the joint may feel stiff in the morning but loosen up and feel better with movement and activity.  However, too much activity could make the pain worse.  

Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain.  But joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet to your shoulders and hands.  

Joint pain may also be caused by pain felt along the course of a nerve.  This is called “referred pain”.  For example, a problem in your hip may cause you to also feel pain in your knee.  Nerve pain also occurs when a “slipped disc” in your back causes pain in your leg (called sciatica after the sciatic nerve which is often the one being squashed by the out-of-place disc).  


Types of joint pain

Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear disease.  This is the most common type of arthritis.  OA usually happen over time when the cartilage, the protective cushion in between the bones, wears away.  The joints then become painful and stiff.  OA develops slowly and usually occurs during middle age.  

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder.  This happens when your body attacks its own tissues.  RA is a chronic disease that causes swelling and pain in the joints.  Often the joints become deformed (usually in the fingers and wrists).

Bursitis is caused by overuse.  It is usually found in the hip, knee, elbow or shoulder.  Bursitis happens when sacs of fluid that help cushion your joints get inflamed.

Gout is a form of arthritis that most often affects your big toe joint.  It is a painful condition where crystals from the body collect in the joint, causing severe pain and swelling.  

Strains, sprains and other injuries.


Joint pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating.  It may go away after a few weeks (acute), or last for several weeks or months (chronic).  Even short-term pain and swelling in the joints can affect your quality of life.  The goal is to reduce pain and inflammation and preserve joint function.  Whatever the cause of joint pain, you can usually manage it with medication, physical therapy , or alternative treatments. 



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