Get The Facts About Joint Pain

It is estimated that one in three US adults, or 69.9 million people, suffer from some kind of chronic joint problem. Every adult, as well as many adolescents, have experienced some type of joint pain. Whether it was a sore knee or elbow, joint pain is very uncomfortable. Some joint pain is temporary and can be relieved with little treatment, but for those suffering from chronic joint pain, finding ways to ease it can be very challenging.

In order to understand the causes of joint pain, one should know and be aware what are joints and how they works. This is not only informative, but can also give you a better understanding of why a joint might hurt and teach you some precautionary measures to use when you are playing, working or doing everyday activities.

What Are Joints?

Joints are two bones joined together in a socket that allows movement. The joint is composed of bones, cartilage, tissue, muscle and fluid. The ends of the bones are covered by cartilage, which keeps the bones from rubbing together. Cartilage acts like a shock absorber to the bones. Tissue helps make up the inner wall of the socket and creates a seal to hold in the fluid. The fluid provides nutrients and lubrication to the inner wall and cartilage.

Joints are grouped according to motion types; gliding, hinge, ball and socket, and pivoting. Because of the sensitive location of joints, the pressure exerted on them and their continuous use, they are prone to pain and swelling.

Causes and Symptoms Associated With Joints

Some of the most common causes and symptoms that relate to joints are listed below: Stress is caused when you use the joint excessively, or when you are putting too much or constant pressure on the joint. This can cause the joint or joints to ache and become stiff.

Inflammation is the swelling of the joint and the surrounding area. This may occur from excessive use of the joint. Both stress and inflammation can cause pain in the joint.

Redness and warmth of the skin can occur at the joint or surround the joint area. The skin may feel warm to the touch, or the joint may have a burning sensation felt from inside the skin. This is usually associated with inflammation.

Stiffness of the joint happens when the motion of the joint is restricted. When you can't fully extend the joint without acute pain, it is usually referred to as stiffness. Stiffness is the most common and aggravating symptom of joint pain.

Injuries can cause joint pain. Sprain injuries and dislocation of the joint can be extremely painful. Sometimes the "isolated" condition of the joint can become a problem later on. A previous injury to the joint, as in a sprain or dislocation, may not have healed properly or may have left the joint damaged. This can cause mild to severe chronic pain.

Occupational Hazards can also cause joint pain. Jobs where you have to stand for long periods of time can cause stress on the weight bearing joints. Alternatively, sitting for long periods can cause the knees to ache.

Excessive Weight can cause pain in the lower joints, such as the ankles, knees and hips. These are the weight bearing joints and extra weight causes stress and pressure on these joints.

Joint Pain and Daily Life

Joint pain can hinder your normal daily activities. Because of pain and stiffness, most people have the idea that if they don't use or move the joint, it won't hurt. While this may have some truth to it, it isn't always the case. You've probably heard the saying, "You just need to work it out." Sometimes, this really is the best way to relieve stiffness and make the pain go away. In some cases, exercise is better than rest to relieve joint pain.

Joint pain can be difficult and frustrating to deal with. It has the potential to change a person's quality of life by restricting one's daily routine and activities. When doing the simplest things become a burden, everyday life can become very aggravating. There are some important things one can do to help prevent joint pain, stiffness and/or swelling.

What Can You Do To Help Your Joints?

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet is important to maintain overall good health. A healthy diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables. You should talk to a nutritionist or other healthcare professional to get help in finding the right diet regimen for you.

Exercise is important for overall health, well being and keeping a healthy body weight. Just by doing low impact exercises, like walking or swimming for 30 minutes a day, you can keep the joints in good health and help stay in shape.

Rest is very important! Sleep is the time that your body rejuvenates and repairs itself. A person should get 6-8 hours of sleep each night to keep the body healthy.

Try not to overwork your joints. If you have to sit for long periods of time, stand up and walk around for a few minutes. If you have to stand for long periods of time, try to squeeze in some squats or sit for a short spell.


1 - Lancet

2 - Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal

3 - Journal of the OsteoArthritis Research Society International