What is joint pain and how you can help relieve your symptoms

According to the CDC, chronic joint pain caused by problems such as arthritis affect one in four US adults (roughly 15 million people) each year. While this many people suffer, many don’t actually know what is causing this joint pain and the ways that it can be reduced and helped. Here is some helpful information regarding joint pain…

What is joint pain

Joint pain is a commonly occurring issue with many possible causes. The most common areas to experience it is in your shoulders, hips, elbows or knees and is often described as discomfort, aches and soreness in any of these points. The most likely reason is usually due to arthritis or injury and can get worse if left untreated. While it’s not usually a serious issue that requires a visit to the emergency room, it can affect your quality of life and is something you should look at getting sorted as soon as possible.

Causes of joint pain

Joint pain can be caused by a number of factors. The most frequent area for joint pain is usually the knee and the main reason for this is that it takes the full weight of your body in your day to day life with little respite. Joint pain can be as a result of something as simple as overuse of the joint or something underlying.

If you have pain in just one joint, it can also be caused by a fracture, reactive arthritis (normally as a result of an infection), psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or Osgood-Schlatter’s disease which is a swelling and tenderness just below the kneecap. 

If you have pain in many joints, it is usually caused by:


  • Rheumatoid arthritis: pain and swelling in the joints that may come and go in the early stages and long periods without pain in between attacks. 
  • Psoriatic arthritis: this affects a fifth of people with psoriasis and tends to be unpredictable when the pain will occur. It normally can be found in 1 or more of your joints.
  • A viral infection such as rubella or viral hepatitis 
  • A disease of the connective tissue such as lupus or scleroderma

Less common causes of joint pain can also include a rarer type of arthritis, Bechets syndrome, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy and sarcoidosis. These are much less common, but it is worth getting your joint pain checked out to rule out any more serious, underlying conditions such as this.

Main symptoms of joint pain

The main symptom of joint pain as per its namesake is pain in the area, yet there are other symptoms you might experience which could indicate you require medical attention. It’s important to see a medical professional if you are experiencing other symptoms and don’t know the cause of your joint pain. This includes:


  • If the area around the joint is warm or tender to the touch 
  • If the pain is persistent for over three days
  • If you have a fever

More serious side effects which may require a trip to the ER include:

  • If your joint swells immediately
  • If the joint is immobile
  • If the joint pain is severe

How to help joint pain

Joint pain can be a hard one to treat, particularly if it is due to arthritis as there is currently no treatment to eradicate it completely. There are, however, ways you can help to manage the pain to make it more bearable and improve over time. This includes: 

  • Sticking to an exercise plan which allows you to regularly stretch and move your joints
  • Keeping your body weight at a healthy range to avoid putting unnecessary stress and strain on your joints
  • Taking anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Getting adequate rest
  • Certain medical treatments which involve drawing out accumulated fluid to test for infection or other potential causes of the pain

These are just some of the ways you can identify and help treat your joint pain. Here at the Pain Arthritis Relief Center in Rockville, Maryland we can assist with alleviating your pain and finding a plan to help you.