A recent poll completed by the University of Michigan has found that 70% of adults between the ages of 50 and 80 have experienced symptoms of joint pain or arthritis, with women being 10% more likely to report discomfort than men.
Gout, for example, is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis that can cause sudden, intense joint pain. Interestingly, it is a condition more common in men than in women and will often come in flares, lasting two to three weeks at a time. However, some other forms of joint discomfort and arthritis can be persistently painful problems.
Regardless of the cause, intense joint pain can begin interfering with your daily activities and overall well-being if left untreated. You see, individuals suffering from joint discomfort can experience many uncomfortable symptoms, including aches and pains, stiffness, reduced range of motion, grating sensations within the joint, and joint swelling.
Additionally, longstanding joint discomforts are often a challenging symptom to manage, having a long-standing influence on a person’s overall quality of life. This can include reduced normal mobility, which disrupts basic daily tasks, social isolation, and an increased risk of depression.
The University of Michigan’s 2022 National Poll on Healthy Aging also found that 66% of people reported taking over-the-counter pain relievers for their joint pain, which, if taken for an extended period, may begin to impact a person’s general health, particularly their stomach and liver.
Properly addressing all forms of joint pain is an essential aspect of supporting normal and comfortable movements, preventing pain, and maintaining quality of life as we age.
This article will cover the fundamental concepts of joint pain, including the causes and potential medical conditions typically associated with it. We’ll also share vital insights into how doctors approach a joint pain diagnosis, as well as the most typically prescribed treatment options.
We’re excited to present Neuragenex’s pain management solutions, offering a promising approach for individuals to alleviate their joint discomfort. Explore how Neurofunctional Pain Management can effectively address pain and inflammation associated with various chronic health conditions, all without relying on harsh drugs or surgical procedures.
Now, let’s get right in and discover more about joint pain and the range of presenting features it can have.
What Is Joint Pain?
Arthralgia is the medical term for joint pain in any joint of the body. Ranging from slight irritation to severe discomfort, the extent of associated symptoms for joint pain will largely depend on the underlying cause and can vary greatly between individuals.
Joint pain can affect a single joint (arthralgia) or multiple joints simultaneously, a condition called polyarthralgia or polyarticular pain. Much like the symptoms, the number of joints affected will depend on the cause and severity of the joint pain and whether it’s linked to a specific illness or injury.
Arthralgia can stem from a range of factors such as injury, overexertion, strain, or poor posture during certain movements that were performed before the pain appeared. For example, if a person experiences discomfort in their knee after a strenuous workout or doing chores, it is likely arthralgia specific to that joint.
Polyarticular pain, on the other hand, affects several joints and is commonly seen in medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout. In scenarios such as these, pain tends to be more widespread and generally leads to a more impactful effect on a person’s ability to perform daily activities and on their overall quality of life.
Gaining this understanding of being able to differentiate between joint pain that is arthralgia or polyarticular helps guide an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. It provides a deeper insight into your condition, helping you and your doctor rule out underlying causes and tailor their diagnostic tests and interventions accordingly.
For instance, if you tell your doctor that you are experiencing pain in many of your joints, being polyarticular, it is more likely that a systemic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis may be considered, necessitating a different approach compared to localized joint pain that may be more indicative of a joint sprain or tissue damage.
Perhaps you’ve recently suffered from a joint injury where the pain is lingering or getting worse. Or, if you’re not sure what’s causing your pain and are starting to experience it through multiple joints, it’s normal to be curious as to what the underlying causes may be. In the next section, we’ll explore the risk factors of intense joint pain.
Risk Factors For Joint Pain
Joint pain, both arthralgia and polyarticular, is caused by a wide range of underlying variables. We’ve included a list of some of the most prevalent risk factors below:
- Injury or trauma: Sustaining injury and trauma to a joint, such as fractures or dislocations, can result in acute joint pain. It’s essential to seek proper medical attention and rehabilitation strategies for a successful recovery to prevent further damage that will cause more problems later on.
- Strain: Overuse or repetitive motion can result in strain on the joint and its surrounding structures, causing acute pain. This is common in occupations or activities that involve repetitive movements, such as bricklaying or high-impact sports.
- Poor posture: An incorrect posture, especially when sustained for long periods, is highly likely to contribute to joint pain, e.g. neck pain from desk work. Ensuring you have a good ergonomic setup and a supportive posture is essential for joint health.
- Lack of exercise: Engaging in regular exercise helps to keep joints flexible as well as strengthen their surrounding ligaments and muscles. Lack of exercise can lead to joint weakness and imbalances, contributing to pain.
- Inactivity and immobility: Leading a sedentary lifestyle or experiencing prolonged periods of inactivity can lead to joint stiffness and discomfort. Even just a short walk or some chair exercises done daily could make a difference and improve your joint health.
- Obesity: Carrying excess weight puts additional stress on joints, particularly those in the knees, hips, and lower back.
Understanding the underlying causes of joint pain can help you proactively improve your joint health and develop effective pain management strategies that target the underlying cause. In the next section, we’ll discuss the medical conditions that can lead to painful joints in more detail.
Medical Conditions That Can Cause Intense Joint Pain
Intensely painful joints are well known to be triggered by a number of medical conditions. For most people, chronic arthritis is the first medical condition that comes to mind.
You might find it interesting to learn that arthritis is the medical term to describe joint swelling or inflammation, which can actually encompass more than 100 joint and joint-related conditions.
While osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms of arthritis, this term can also be used for less suspecting conditions such as gout, fibromyalgia, and ankylosing spondylitis.
It’s important to remember that if your pain is becoming an ongoing problem, there may be an underlying explanation. Let’s explore some of the more common ones below:
As an auto-immune form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by the immune system getting confused and attacking your joints instead of protecting them. The damage caused by the immune system leads to inflammation and swelling in the lining of the joints, causing pain and reduced mobility. It can sometimes even cause visible joint disfigurement.
Septic arthritis is a condition where swelling and inflammation of the joint occur as a result of infection. This particular form of arthritis is not a pleasant experience, as infection within the tight joint space can lead to intense pain and discomfort. If not treated quickly, this condition can lead to lasting joint damage, or the infection may spread into the bone and generate major complications. If you have a reason to believe your joint may be infected, it is highly recommended you seek prompt medical attention.
Bursitis is a different form of joint pain that commonly affects larger joints such as the shoulders, hips, knees, and elbows. The bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion these large joints, allowing them to move smoothly. When the bursae become inflamed and irritated, this is called bursitis. It can occur due to overuse, strain, or degeneration (wear and tear) and leads to significant pain and stiffness, requiring rest and rehabilitation.
Our tendons are close neighbors to our joints, connecting muscles to bone. Every time you contract your muscles, it’s the tendons that harness that power for limb movement. Tendonitis occurs when tendons become inflamed from overuse or injury, which can lead to pain and tenderness around the affected area, including the joints.
Understanding more about these conditions helps you have a better idea of what might be causing your intense joint pain. If you already have a diagnosis and are looking for relief from ongoing discomfort, keep reading to learn how Neuragenex can help.
Conditions Causing Joint Pain That We Treat At Neuragenex
Neuragenex specializes in Neurofunctional Pain Management, providing non-pharmaceutical, non-chiropractic, and non-surgical solutions to help manage joint pain from various conditions, such as:
Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Treatment
Rheumatoid arthritis can be a debilitating and painful condition that causes swelling, joint damage, and immobility. Neuragenex offers a non-invasive, non-chiropractic solution to alleviate the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Our treatments are...
Joint Pain Diagnosis: Seeking Medical Attention
If you are unsure of what is causing your joint pain, or if you notice any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to make an appointment to speak to your doctor:
- Severe joint pain that interferes with your daily activities
- Intense joint pain that comes on suddenly
- Joint pain coupled with swelling, redness, and warmth around the joint
- Joint pain with a visible deformity
- Reduced range of motion or inability to use the joint
Your doctor will likely conduct various tests to identify the cause of your joint pain. In the list below, we have set out some of the typical methods you can expect your doctor to use.
- Medical history and symptom discussion: Doctors often begin by asking you about your medical history and current symptoms, trying to understand your condition better.
- Physical examination: A thorough physical examination should be conducted to assess for any joint limitations, reduction of mobility, signs of inflammation, or other abnormalities that could be contributing to your pain. You can expect the doctor to assess joints that aren’t painful, for comparison purposes.
- Imaging tests: Various imaging tests may be ordered, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. These tests help provide a detailed view of the joint and its neighboring structures, revealing any abnormalities in the bones, muscles, and tendons.
- Blood tests: Blood tests are great indicators of general health. They are mostly used in cases of joint pain to identify markers of inflammation or specific immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Joint fluid analysis: In some cases, a small sample of joint fluid is withdrawn from the affected joint to test for infections or the presence of gout crystals.
Completing a comprehensive evaluation of your painful joints is important to identify the root cause and ensure you receive a personalized and effective management plan. We hope these insights provide you with an understanding of what to expect when seeking medical help for your joint pain.
Let’s now look into some of the conventional therapies commonly recommended for various degrees of painful joints.
Common Treatments For Intensely Painful Joints
In the journey of managing joint pain, there are a number of conventional treatments that can help provide varying degrees of pain relief, depending on the underlying cause. The primary goal is to alleviate pain, target the root cause, enhance joint mobility, and of course, find a sense of normalcy again.
The management process will usually begin with rest and rehabilitation and then jump into pharmaceutical and, if necessary, surgical options. Let’s explore the conventional process of managing joint pain in more detail below:
Heat And Cold Therapy
Joint pain can be eased with the simple yet effective application of heat or cold. A straightforward technique is easily applicable at home. Heat pads, a warm bath, and cold packs (or the trusty frozen peas) can be very effective at providing soothing relief. You may want to alternate between hot and cold treatments to see what is most beneficial for you.
Physical therapy is a tailored approach to improving muscle strength and flexibility. It may help reduce painful joints as it promotes improved stabilization and smoother movements. It’s important to see a licensed physical therapist to create a customized exercise program that addresses your specific needs, promotes recovery, and prevents further injury.
To manage your pain and improve joint function, a doctor may suggest a variety of medications based on the underlying cause. These can range from over-the-counter options like acetaminophen along with anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or celecoxib.
And for specific conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs may also be incorporated into the treatment plan. Always consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable medication based on your individual needs and the nature of your joint pain.
For chronically stubborn pain, corticosteroid injections can be used as a more direct approach. They are often recommended for injuries that have caused significant swelling and conditions such as bursitis or various types of arthritis. These injections aim to reduce inflammation, providing more localized and immediate relief.
In severe cases, and where all other conservative and alternative measures have been unsuccessful, surgical interventions may become an option. This is because surgical techniques are more invasive, which makes them susceptible to complications.
When there are severe joint injuries or structural concerns, procedures like an arthroscopy or joint replacement can be considered to provide long-term relief.
An arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that assists in diagnosing and treating complex joint conditions. Otherwise known as “key-hole surgery,” it involves the surgeon making a small incision to access the affected joint. A small camera helps the surgeon assess the joint, and small tools may be used to help remove debris and repair damaged structures.
A joint replacement is a largely invasive procedure that involves the partial or full removal of a joint and replacing it with a prosthetic. A joint replacement will typically involve a longer recovery and rehabilitation period.
It’s important to note that each of these treatment options for joint conditions will have its own unique effectiveness and potential for side effects. Additionally, in best practice, a strong emphasis should be placed on using conservative treatments to promote joint health and reduce discomfort before considering invasive therapies.
To make the best choices for your health management, talk to your medical professionals to become well-informed about all the treatment options available to you.
For many individuals dealing with chronic joint pain, the conventional management process might not provide the long-lasting results they’ve been looking for. Let’s now shift our focus to discuss an alternative pain management solution offered by Neuragenex.
Neurofunctional Pain Management To Treat Joint Pain
The team members at Neuragenex are experts in Neurofunctional Pain Management (NFPM), an innovative approach that goes beyond conventional processes to help control painful symptoms.
NFPM combines three specially designed therapies that work together to address the pain and inflammation associated with various conditions and injuries contributing to joint discomfort.
The most important feature of the Neuragenex approach, in our opinion, is that it is proudly non-pharmaceutical, non-chiropractic, and non-surgical, including the following therapies:
Electroanalgesia is a pain management technique that uses high-pulse electrical current to ease pain, boost blood circulation, improve mobility, and induce...
IV nutritional therapy, or intravenous therapy, involves administering vital nutrients directly to the bloodstream through an IV. This type of treatment bypasses the digestive system, allowing for maximum absorption and utilization of nutrients by the...
Lifestyle counseling is an approach to managing chronic pain that involves identifying, assessing, and modifying lifestyle factors contributing to an individual's pain. For example, lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical activity, stress, sleep quality...
Maintaining Optimal Joint Health: Tips and Tricks
In addition to medical interventions, we strongly advocate that preventing injuries and minimizing wear and tear are significantly beneficial for maintaining healthy joints as you age.
We have put together this list of practical steps you may wish to add to your wellness routine for the health of your joints:
- Stretch and exercise regularly: Physical activity promotes joint flexibility and strength. Low-impact exercises such as yoga, swimming, and cycling are all great for joint health.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Managing a healthy weight helps to reduce the stress and impact throughout your weight-bearing joints.
- Incorporate joint-friendly foods: Foods rich in calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants can all be greatly beneficial for bone and joint health.
- Protect your joints during physical activities: When doing exercise, be sure you are using proper techniques and wearing protective gear such as ankle or wrist straps if necessary.
- Get quality sleep: Our sleep quality has a large impact on our overall health, including joint health. Ensuring you get 7-8 hours of quality sleep can greatly benefit joint recovery.
We trust that these pointers will help you improve the health of your joints and reduce the risk of joint pain negatively impacting your quality of life.
Take Steps To Safeguard Your Joints
Joint pain has the potential to greatly impact the normalcy and quality of life of many individuals. However, having a clear understanding of the underlying causes and symptoms can empower you to seek appropriate care to manage and prevent intense joint pain.
Many self-help measures and conventional treatments can provide temporary relief. Yet, many people seek alternative treatment approaches to avoid extended medication use and invasive procedures while still directly addressing the root causes of pain and inflammation.
Neuragenex is dedicated to providing innovative solutions to empower individuals suffering from joint pain. Whether it’s gout pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis, the Neurofunctional Pain Management protocols we provide offer a personalized approach and hope for individuals to find lasting relief.
Remember, maintaining your joint health is an important part of your overall well-being as you get older. Our goal is to provide you with the tools and therapies that promote a life free from the burden of joint pain and magnify your quality of life.
We hope this guide has provided valuable insights and practical tips for managing intense joint pain effectively. If you have any questions or are seeking non-invasive approaches to manage your joint pain, contact Neuragenex today.
Could the underlying cause of your excruciating joint pain be gout? Prioritize your joint health. Embrace a life free from pain and discomfort starting today.