Joint pain

Definition

Joint pain can affect one or more joints.

Alternative Names

Stiffness in a joint; Pain - joints; Arthralgia

Causes

Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. It may be linked to arthritis, bursitis, and muscle pain. No matter what causes it, joint pain can be very bothersome. Some things that can cause joint pain are:

Home Care

Follow your health care provider's recommendation for treating the cause of the pain.

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

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may help the soreness feel better.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or naproxen may help relieve pain and swelling. Talk to your provider before giving aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen to children.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:

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.

References

Bykerk VP, Crow MK. Approach to the patient with rheumatic disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 256.

Schaible H-G. Joint pain: basic mechanisms. In: McMahon SB, Koltzenburg M, Tracey I, Turk DC, eds. Wall & Melzack's Textbook of Pain. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 44.