Contact Us | Patient Portal | Search:
Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Joint pain

 

Definition

Joint pain can affect one or more joints.

See also:

Alternative Names

Stiffness in a joint; Pain - joints; Arthralgia

Common Causes
Home Care

Follow prescribed therapy in treating the underlying cause.

For nonarthritis joint pain, both rest and exercise are important. Warm baths, massage, and stretching exercises should be used as frequently as possible.

Anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve pain and swelling. Consult your health care provider before giving aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen to children.

Call your health care provider if

Contact your health care provider if:

  • You have fever that is not associated with flu symptoms
  • You have lost 10 pounds or more without trying (unintended weight loss)
  • Your joint pain lasts for more than 3 days
  • You have severe, unexplained joint pain, particularly if you have other unexplained symptoms
What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask you about your medical history. The following questions may help identify the cause of your joint pain:

  • Which joint hurts? Is the pain on one side or both sides?
  • How long have you been having this pain? Have you had it before?
  • Did this pain begin suddenly and severely, or slowly and mildly?
  • Is the pain constant or does it come and go? Has the pain become more severe?
  • What started your pain?
  • Have you injured your joint?
  • Have you had an illness or fever?
  • Does resting the joint reduce the pain or make it worse?
  • Does moving the joint reduce the pain or make it worse?
  • Are certain positions comfortable? Does keeping the joint elevated help?
  • Do medications, massage, or applying heat reduce the pain?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Is there any numbness?
  • Can you bend and straighten the joint? Does the joint feel stiff?
  • Are your joints stiff in the morning? If so, how long does the stiffness last?
  • What makes the stiffness better?

Tests that may be done include:

Physical therapy for muscle and joint rehabilitation may be recommended. A procedure called arthrocentesis may be needed to remove fluid from the sore joint.

Considerations

Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. No matter what causes it, joint pain can be very bothersome.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes stiffness and pain in the joints. Osteoarthritis involves growth of bone spurs and degeneration of cartilage at a joint. It is very common in adults older than 45 and can cause joint pain.

Joint pain may also be caused by bursitis (inflammation of the bursae). The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion and pad bony prominences, allowing muscles and tendons to move freely over the bone.

Prevention


Review Date: 5/4/2010
Reviewed By: Mark James Borigini, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |