Joint pain commonly occurs due to wearing down the joints which damage the supporting structures of the joint. Pain in the joint can be due to damage to the bones, joint cartilage, ligaments, and tendons that are in the joint. Joint pain is rarely life-threatening but severe pain can prevent you from carrying out daily activities or even going to work or school. Joint pain in children can be caused by the rheumatic fever that occurs as a complication of a streptococcal throat infection.
The treatment of joint pain depends on the cause and severity and while some types of joint pain may go away without treatment, others may last for a long period. Dr. William I Yancey will examine the cause of your pain and then come up with an individualized treatment plan for you.
How Is Joint Pain Diagnosed?
The first step in diagnosing joint pain is taking a medical history to find out what could have caused the joint pain, for instance, if it occurred following a fall or trauma. The doctor will also ask about the duration of the pain to check whether it is acute or chronic pain. You will also be asked to quantify your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 to confirm the severity. The doctor will also want to know whether the joint pain is accompanied by other symptoms like fever and vomiting.
It is important to inform the doctor about any allergies to medications or foods and whether you have other underlying chronic conditions since this will affect your management. Your age is also of significance because older people are at a higher risk of joint pain than younger people. After taking the history, the doctor will then do a physical examination of all the systems in the body and then do a local exam on your joint checking for swelling, redness, and warmth.
The doctor will then take your vital signs which include body temperature, respiratory rate, pulse rate, and blood pressure because these are very significant indicators of what is happening in your body. The doctor will then order laboratory tests like a blood test to check for infection or inflammation. Imaging tests like x-ray may be ordered to show the structure of the joint and to rule out fractures as the cause of the joint pain.
What Are the Symptoms That Are Associated with Joint Pain?
Joint pain commonly presents with symptoms of inflammation around the affected joint like redness of the area, the area feeling warmer than the surrounding areas, swelling of the area, the joint being tender to touch, and having reduced function in that you are unable to move it normally. The presentation however will vary depending on the cause. Common causes of joint pain include arthritis, trauma, cancer, fractures, and infections like STI. The pain could also be referred pain from other areas.
How Can You Manage Joint Pain at Home?
You can take mild painkillers for the pain like paracetamol. It is advisable to do exercise that does not strain your joints excessively. Taking care of your general health by eating a healthy diet and staying well hydrated is also important. Working on your weight will help to reduce your pain. You should also avoid risky exercises that predispose you to trauma that harms your joints.
Joint pain is a common type of pain by people of all ages and can be a result of trauma, falls, diseases, and excess body weight. You should avoid factors that increase your risk of joint pain and seek early treatment.