Pain in the joints is very common and can occur for a number of reasons. The most common joints affected are knees, hips, base of the spine, shoulders, wrists, knuckles or ankles. Chronic joint pain (lasting longer than three months) is more likely to be caused by an underlying condition.
Common symptoms of joint pain
Symptoms of joint pain will depend on which joint is affected and what is causing the pain. More than one joint can be affected at one time and the pain can range from a dull ache to a burning sensation. Painful joints may also be accompanied by swelling, achiness, and a feeling of warmth or heat in the area. Joints can also look distorted.
Joint pain can vary throughout the day, with many people reporting that the pain in their joints is worse first thing in the morning.
Sometimes painful joints and associated swelling can prevent you from doing daily activities. For example, knee pain can interfere with walking or climbing stairs, while knuckle pain can interfere with your ability to work, wash or even dress. Pain and swelling may also cause fatigue.
What causes joint pain?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which attacks the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and damage to the joint. Painful joints can be caused by number of other conditions.
Lupus is an auto-immune disease that attacks normal, healthy tissue causing inflammation, swelling and damage to the joints.
Chondromalacia is usually occurring in the knee and often referred to as ‘runner’s knee’, this is caused by damage to the cartilage under the kneecap, often from overuse or injury.
Cancer – certain types of cancer, such as bone cancer, leukaemia or even cancer treatment itself can cause joint pain.
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that has a number of symptoms, including joint pain.
Overuse of joints is a repetitive activity (e.g. tennis, typing) can lead to pain in that joint.
Osteoarthritis affects the whole joint, including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles, and is caused by the wearing away of the protective cartilage that cushions the end of the bones.
Bursitis is a painful condition when the small fluid-sacs called bursae that cushion the joints become swollen and inflamed.
Gout is a form of arthritis characterised by repeated ‘attacks’ of extreme joint pain, swelling and redness.
Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon which often causes pain and swelling, usually affecting the shoulder, wrist, knee, shin and heel.
Osteoporosis – This bone mineral density disease can contribute to joint pain.
Infectious diseases – Viral illnesses such as mumps, the flu and hepatitis can all cause joint aches and pains.
Rickets is a skeletal disorder caused by prolonged or extreme vitamin D deficiency which can lead to pain in the joints.
Injury – Damage to a joint through injury can cause pain.
When should I see a doctor?
You should see your doctor if you have any of the following:
- a serious injury to your joint
- joints that are red, swollen, tender and warm
- persistent pain
- fever, without any other symptoms of the flu
- joint deformity
- sudden swelling
- joint immobility
Treatment and management of joint pain
Treatment for joint pain will depend on what is causing the pain. For some conditions, your doctor may prescribe you medication to help relieve symptoms or treat the condition that is causing you joint pain.
You can also relieve pain and inflammation, by:
- using over-the-counter pain relief such as paracetamol and aspirin
- using topical pain relievers, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation
- getting regular physical activity
- stretching before exercising
- maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on joints
- applying hot (heat packs) and cold treatments (ice packs) to the affected joints
- getting enough rest
How TerryWhite Chemmart can help
If you’re experiencing joint pain, we are here to help. Speak to your local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist about your symptoms so we can recommend the products that may be right for you, to help relieve pain and inflammation.
If you’ve been using medication to manage your chronic pain with little success or are using pain medication alongside other medication, book a Pain Medication Review with one of our pharmacists. They can assess medication you’re currently taking, and make recommendations based on what may be best for you.
Book a Pain Medication Review today by calling your local TerryWhite Chemmart or book online.
General advice only – this information should not replace the information provided to you by your health care professional. If symptoms are severe or persist, please speak to your health care professional. Information current as of date of publishing.
 Arthritis Australia, Fast facts, https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/what-is-arthritis/fastfacts/