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What’s Really Causing Your Joint Pain?

Tens of thousands of Americans will suffer from joint pain at some point during their lifetime. Many of these people will experience joint pains that are very debilitating. Diagnosis is absolutely necessary on the road to recovery and talking to your PCP (Primary Care Physician) is a great first step. If problems persist, reach out to a rheumatologist. Today we are going to discuss a handful of health conditions that may be contributing to the pain you are experiencing in your joints. Following are some possible health conditions that may cause join pain.

Gout

The pain from gout arthritis is so intense that it is known for waking patients up during the middle of the night. This disease is very debilitating and generally will cause serious pain in and around the big toe as well as swelling and warmth in the affected area. Gout is caused by increased levels of uric acid within the blood. Flare ups can last as long as 10 days. Men and those who are overweight are more prone to gout. Watching your diet closely, avoiding foods rich in purine as well as medications can quite a bit.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that touches the lives of over 3.7 million people within the United States alone. It will leave sufferers experiencing aches, muscle pain, fatigue and joint discomfort. Episodes will intensify and subside naturally, but there are triggers you can avoid to lessen the frequency and intensity of your symptoms. Being careful with not only emotional but also physical stress is a huge thing. Women who are 40 through 75 years old and overweight are most likely to have fibromyalgia. Those who have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus are also at a much higher risk of coming down with the disease. While there is no cure for this disorder, there are currently three medications that have been approved by the FDA to help. Also, exercise has been shown to ease symptoms a decent amount.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This type of arthritis is many times confused with psoriatic arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis can be found mostly in the small joints located in the hands and wrists. Rheumatoid nodules (or bumps) often appear underneath the skin. This condition causes stiffness and crippling pain that are caused by inflammation occurring after waking up or a period of low activity. Often individuals report swelling near the affected areas of the body as well as a warm sensation. As the condition progresses, rheumatoid arthritis will oftentimes spread to other locations of the body, including blood vessels and the lungs. Those managing this type of arthritis should keep a close eye on their health as the risk of heart disease and heart attack are a possible danger. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs) can help to lessen symptoms, while corticosteroids, JAK inhibitors, biologics and DMARDs can help to maintain the condition and lower its rate of progression.

Osteoarthritis

This joint condition is one of the chronic variety, touching the lives of over 27 million people in the United States alone, mainly older individuals. This is not to say that younger people cannot be affected by this disorder. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that helps to protect joints begins to diminish. When this happens, your bones surrounding the area are going to begin to rub together. This friction leads to swelling and pain. Those who are obese or have spent a decent chunk of their life overusing a specific joint are more prone to problems. The most common joints that are affected include the knees, neck, back, big toe and lower back. Unfortunately, stretching or walking it out isn’t going to solve the problem. The higher your activity levels, the more pain you are going to experience. Talk to your doctor about how much exercise is good for your condition and discuss pain relievers, available over the counter, to keep charge of your life.

Hypothyroidism

This medical condition is caused by a thyroid gland that isn’t functioning at full capacity. The condition is more commonly found in women over the age of 50. Many patients report problems with stiffness, joint pain, swelling of joints and carpal tunnel. The most effective treatment found thus far is thyroid hormone replacement along with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen.

Lupus

Joint pain is one of the first symptoms of the autoimmune disease known as lupus, according to over 90% of those with the condition. Joints will also become warm, stiff, sensitive, and swollen. The disease commonly affects areas of the body such as the elbows, ankles, fingers, and knees. Stiffness is present mostly in the morning right after waking up, but can also flare up throughout the day. There is no current cure for lupus but there are many treatment options that can help to lower the severity of symptoms.

Lyme Disease

The first sign of lyme disease comes as a rash that looks like a bull’s eye. As many as a few months later, another symptom appears. This may appear in the form of joint discomfort and arthritis in the knees. The severity and frequency of episodes decreases as the disease progresses. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial when dealing with lyme disease.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is common among those who suffer from psoriasis. The swelling, pain within joints and uncomfortable stiffness experienced is caused by an autoimmune reaction. The cause of this bodily reaction is a miscommunication within the body’s immune system, leading to an intrusion of the joints. This leads to very annoying and distressing inflammation. Psoriatic arthritis is most commonly discovered in the finger and foot joints, lower back, knees, ankles and wrists. There are a wide range of symptoms that one suffering from this disorder may experience, including discomfort at the beginning of the day or after periods of low activity. The most common kinds of psoriatic arthritis are known as asymmetric oligoarticular and symmetric polyarthritis. Unfortunately, none of these problems will go away. However, the condition can be managed with the help of drugs as well as lifestyle alterations.

Don’t Be Shy About Asking for Help

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the above symptoms, reach out to a doctor. While many pain-related illnesses cannot be treated, it’s important to get help sooner rather than later. In some instances, you are going to be greatly improving your life as a whole. Knowing the cause of your problems turns out to be a lot better than turning a blind eye on them.

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