What Causes Joint Pain

Injury, physical trauma or arthritis can damage joints and cause temporary or long-term joint pain. There are several causes of joint pain but arthritis is considered the most common reason for a large number of cases. Sometimes, the doctors are unable to identify the underlying cause of joint pain.

Possible causes of joint pain are

  • Aging
  • Excessive body weight
  • Heredity
  • Injury
  • Stress
  • Weakness

Risk Factors

A few risk factors can combine and make an individual vulnerable to joint pain. People who are prone to injury or overuse their muscles and bones are likely to suffer from a joint injury that leads to joint pain. For instance, athletes are at greater risk of suffering from joint damage and pain than non-athletes. These are the most common risk factors for joint pain:

  • Injuries
  • Family history
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Gender
  • Medical history


Several of the most effective treatment methods involve a blend of customized treatment plans and modifications in the patient’s lifestyle. A person’s overall health also affects the intensity and occurrence of joint pain. Apart from medication, individuals suffering from joint pain are likely to approach alternative treatment methods. Some alternative therapies used to arthritis or joint pain are folk remedies and acupuncture. Applying hot and cold packs can also reduce swelling to relieve numbness.

Moreover, some nutritional supplements also improve the symptoms of joint pain. While relaxation techniques, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), nutritional diet and exercise also help to control painful joint pain symptoms to a great extent.

Doctors also prescribe medicines to reduce or control pain and improve joint function. Patients should keep in mind that a few medications designed for treating arthritis may have side effects. All medications should be taken only after consulting a professional doctor.

The following types of medicines are commonly used in treating degenerative joint problems:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Hyaluronic acid substitutes
  • Acetaminophen
  • Narcotics
  • NSAIDs
  • Muscle Relaxers
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Neuroleptics
  • General Pain Medications
  • Opioids

In some cases, surgery is required to relieve joint pain or a disability that is caused by joint damage.

When to Request an Evaluation

Home remedies or medications are used for treating most cases of joint pain. However, you must get an appointment with your doctor if your joint pain is accompanied by:

  • Redness
  • Warmth and tenderness around the joint
  • Swelling

In the case of an injury, check for:

  • Inability to move a joint
  • Deformity
  • Sudden swelling
  • Intense pain
  • Sudden swelling

Preparing For Your Appointment

Your doctor will ask several questions to evaluate the health and condition of your joints. He will also ask questions about your lifestyle and work hours to probe the cause of your joint pain. He may also suggest using a nutritional supplement or vitamins to manage joint pain effectively.  Other conditions lead to joint pain and sometimes inflammation can be due to an allergic reaction. It is important that you also prepare a list of questions you need to ask your doctor. Your doctor will ask about your family and medical history and will prescribe a few tests if necessary.