What Could Be Causing Your Joint Pain?
Although joint pain is actually very common, it can be incredibly unpleasant and can be a sign of an undiagnosed condition or illness. Two very common causes are either injury or arthritis, which we will go into in more detail later; however, these are by no means the only causes, and it is worth knowing what could be the reason behind your joint pain.
It could be a reaction to medication
Certain types of medication can cause a number of different side effects, and often, this can cause you problems with your joint. Penicillin, a powerful antibiotic that can be used to treat a number of different infections, can be particularly potent, and often leave some patients in agony. Lynn Webster, a former president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine says;
“You could develop an inflammatory antibody response to something you’re taking…You’ll see the effects pop up all over your body. You could develop a skin rash, your eyes may look red, and you might find yourself suffering from GI irritation. If you notice joint pain along with these other symptoms, as your doctor to compare when your symptoms started to when you began taking something new. Antihistamines or corticosteroids can relieve symptoms.”
You could be suffering from gout
Gout is an incredibly painful condition and one that is caused by a build-up of uric acid. This buildup forms crystals, that can then cause inflammation in your joints.
There are some factors that put you more at risk of developing gout; including those with a family history of the condition, people who drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol, those who are overweight or obese, or people who eat a lot of foods that are high in purines; which includes meat and seafood.
More often than not, gout will start in the big toe, but it can then spread to other areas, commonly the ankles and knees. It is a condition that more commonly affects men; however, it can also affect women, although it does not normally happen until 20 years after the menopause.
Although painful, the good news is that it can be treated, or at least managed. Your doctor might decide that the best course of action is to draw fluid from your affected joint in order to look for crystals, where they can then confirm your diagnosis. Your symptoms can then be managed with pain relieving medication and anti-inflammatory drugs.
You could be suffering from sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is a relatively rare condition – it affects approximately 1 in every 10,000 people in the UK, but it can cause small patches of red and swollen tissue, which is referred to as granulomas, to develop in the organs of the body. The first places to be affected are usually the lungs and the skin.
Although the more common symptoms that are presented in those suffering from sarcoidosis are; tender, red bumps on the skin, shortness of breath and a persistent cough, less common symptoms can include joint pain.
There is currently no cure for this condition, and often sufferers can cope with their symptoms with little medical intervention; however, if your symptoms get painful, they are more often than not treated with anti-inflammatory painkillers; however, the symptoms will usually last no longer than six months.
Lyme disease is spread to humans by ticks that are infected with a bacteria. The good thing is that it is a relatively easy illness to treat when it is diagnosed early, so it is important to know what symptoms you should be looking out for.
Early symptoms of Lyme disease include a circular red rash which is usually found around a tick bite. What makes it harder to identify is though, that this rash can appear a whole three months after being bitten by the tick, and will usually last for a number of weeks. It should be said though, that the rash is more likely to appear within the first four weeks of being bitten.
There are other symptoms that can present themselves as well, and it should be noted that not everyone develops a rash. Other symptoms include; a high temperature, and feeling hot and shivery, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and tiredness and loss of energy.
Lyme disease does need identifying and treating though, as it can have lasting effects on the body. A study was carried out and it was found that people who had suffered from Lyme disease were a whopping five times more likely to then be diagnosed with problems such as fatigue and joint pain, even after treatment, when compared to healthy individuals.
If you are worried that you might be suffering from Lyme disease, it is important that you contact your GP to discuss your symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is a very painful condition that regularly affects the joints. Although the exact cause of the condition is unknown, it is believed that it is related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain, which then changes the way the central nervous system processes pain messages that are carried around the body. On top of this, research has suggested that you are more likely to develop the condition because of certain genes that are inherited from your parents.
A lot of time, the condition is actually triggered by a physically emotionally stressful event. This includes; an injury or an infection, giving birth, having an operation, the breakdown of a relationship, or even the death of a loved one.
Unfortunately for the sufferers, it is a long-term condition, that is known for causing pain all over your body. On top of this, there are a number of other symptoms as well, including; increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, difficulty in sleeping, problems with mental processes, which can include problems with memory and concentration, headaches and even irritable bowel syndrome. Although there is no known cure for this condition, there are certain drugs available to help to relieve or at least ease some of the symptoms.
It is rare for men to be diagnosed with this condition, and it is much more common in women. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that have been mentioned, or are worried about fibromyalgia in any way, be sure to make an appointment with your GP, who can discuss things in more detail with you.
Although it is incredibly rare for your joint pain alone to be caused by bone cancer, it is important to highlight the symptoms, so it can be caught and treated earlier as opposed to later.
This is a scary prospect, and it really is worth noting that you should not immediately go into panic mode when you experience joint pain, as it is more likely to be down to something else, but it is still worth bearing in mind if you are concerned in any way. Do also remember though, that bone cancer is one of the more rare forms of cancer.
Bone pain is a very classic symptom, and you might notice some swelling, although this is likely to happen only if there is a tumour near the joint. You might find that your symptoms are more severe at night. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks, it is worth getting it checked out by your GP; however, do bear in mind that often the symptoms that we have just described are the same for arthritis (read on for more information surrounding this condition.).
There are many different forms of arthritis, and it tends to occur more in those who are experiencing pain in more than one joint. Unfortunately, arthritis is a very common condition, particularly in older people who tend to experience osteoarthritis, and will normally present itself as pain and swelling around the joint that just gets worse over time.
Other common forms of the condition include rheumatoid arthritis, which again causes pain and swelling in the joints, although it is usually noticed in the hands, feet and wrists. In the early stages, it is unlikely that you will be in pain all of the time. Instead, the pain might actually come and go in the early phases, and you might experience long periods between the attacks of pain. As well as the problem with your joints, rheumatoid arthritis can leave you feeling generally unwell and tired.
Psoriatic arthritis affects one in five people who suffer from psoriasis. With rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms can be somewhat unpredictable, and there is no telling how often you will experience flare-ups in the condition. It will present itself normally in a similar way to other types of arthritis, where one or more of your joints become swollen, stiff, painful and difficult to move.
People who suffer from Lupus more often than not have joint pain, with more than half of sufferers saying that it was one of the first symptoms that they actually experienced.
Lupus is a relatively rare condition, and again, your joint pain symptoms are more than likely the cause of another problem; however, once again, they are worth noting. As well as joint pain, it is likely that they will feel swollen and stiff, as well as tender, and warm to the touch. Although this is not the case for everyone, more often than not will affect the extremities, including your knees, ankles, toes, fingers, wrists and elbows and is often symmetric. People often complain that the stiffness is worse in the morning; however, some sufferers complain of their symptoms being present all day.
Sadly, there is no cure for lupus; instead, it can only be managed in order to reduce symptoms and help to prevent flare-ups. If you feel that you have some of the symptoms of Lupus, it is important to go and speak to your GP, so they can run the necessary tests.
Hyperthyroidism is the result of an underactive thyroid gland. Although it can affect both men and women, it is much more common in women, particularly those who are over the age of 50.
Just like with a lot of conditions, there are some things that put you more at risk of developing this condition. These include a family history of the disease, if you are a smoker, or if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Although it is not a particularly common symptom, some people with the condition do experience joint pain and stiffness, carpal tunnel syndrome, or swelling in certain joints.
If you are concerned that you have any of these symptoms, it is so important that you do go to the doctors to be tested, as you will like to be treated with thyroid hormone replacement; however, if the joint pain is severe, over the counter medicine and pain relievers, particularly those that are also anti-inflammatory can really help to relieve these symptoms.