What Causes Joint Pain?


Quick Answer

Joint pain can be caused by several conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains and sprains. Pain can present as a mild irritation or be seriously debilitating, says WebMD.

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What Causes Joint Pain?
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Full Answer

Joints serve as connections between bones. Joint pain can affect any part of the body, but knee pain is most common, followed by shoulder and hip pain, claims WebMD. Painful joints become more common as age increases.

Joint pain can last for a few weeks to several months depending on the particular condition. A doctor should be consulted to properly diagnose the condition, according to WebMD. Effective treatment reduces pain and inflammation, and preserves joint function.

Joint pain with swelling can be treated with an over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Examples include: aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, says WebMD. Newer forms of these medications are also good for pain relief, but may cause an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions. They may also increase risk for gastrointestinal bleeding. Mild pain without swelling can be treated with Tylenol.

Topical agents such as capsaicin may alleviate pain caused by arthritis and other joint conditions. Side effects can include burning or stinging in the area to which it has been applied, claims WebMD.

Physical therapy can also be used to strengthen the muscles around the joint, stabilize the joint and improve range of motion. Short-term pain can be relieved by protecting the joint and allowing it to rest, says WebMD.

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