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Joint Pain

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Pain in joints is a terrible uncomfortable situation as the bones that support you and aid in movement ache, thereby limiting your movement or making it extremely painful. Everyone has suffered from joint pain at some point or other due to injury or some other health complication. Let’s know the details about joint pain the upcoming content.

Causes of Joint pain

The underlying causes of joint pain are numerous. Right from children to middle aged to old aged people anyone can have aching bones. Joint pain also results from inflammations, viral infections and autoimmune disorders. The reasons are:

Common causes:

  • Bone injury, fracture
  • Muscle sprain/uneven twisting
  • Playing too much (in kids)
  • Working out for the first time
  • Too much physical activity/stress

Health Complications:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Septic arthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Septic
  • Bursitis
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel Syndrome
  • trigeminal neuralgia
  • Diabetes-Related Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)
  • Viral infections like hepatitis B, Mumps, Rubella, measles, influenza, Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus, chickenpox, etc.

Diagnosis of Joint Pain

Several medical tests are suggested by doctors to diagnose the cause of the pain. These include:

  • X-ray test: An x-ray test is done on hands, shoulders, knee, ribs, ankle or other parts of the body to detect a fracture, sprain or any other types of injury.
  • CT scan: A computerized tomography is done to get a cross-sectional view of the organs of the body. This test is much more advanced and accurate.
  • MRI: An MRI doesn’t use X rays but a magnet, radiofrequencies and a computer to are combined to produce the images that tell the abnormalities in bones and joints
  • Bone Scan: In this technique, very minimum amount of radioactive material is injected to diagnose irregularities of bone metabolism
  • Discography: It’s a very specific technique to diagnose the exact cause of the pain behind an abnormal disc. It is an invasive procedure and so is suggested to patients who have not got relief or received proper diagnosis of disc pain.
  • Other Tests: Other techniques for diagnosing joint pain include Myelograms, electromyography and several other blood tests for quantitative analysis of C-reactive protein, to check autoimmune disorders and CBC tests.

How to Prepare for the Tests

First your doctor will analyze the pain by touching the affected area as well as various other parts. The tests may be done immediately depending on the urgency of the situation. In case of blood tests, you may be asked to keep your stomach empty for a certain period of time for successful conduction of the tests.  Thus, you need to prepare yourself both physically and mentally and follow your doctor’s advice to cope up with the pain.

Treatment of Joint Pain

The treatment for joint pain is completely dependent on the underlying cause and few probable options are:

Physiotherapy or acupunture may be performed by technicians. Self-care exercises are suggested by doctors. Several natural remedies like taking warm and cold compress, ice compress, massage with pain relief ointments and oils help to get rid of minor pain.

Several medicines like muscle relaxants, pain killers, NSAIDs, etc. are prescribed to manage stiffness, swelling and pain in joints.

Special techniques like electrothermal therapy, bioelectric therapy, spinal cord stimulation, drug delivery systems are also applied by doctors as a part of the treatment. Surgery may also be done to repair fractures and many other types of syndromes.

However, we can’t tell the timeline of recovery as it’s completely dependent on the mode of treatment, the response of the patient and most importantly age. To accelerate the healing process, always listen to your doctor’s advice.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 06, 2015