• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Making sense of joint pain: How to identify different causes of joint pain, stiffness

Making sense of joint pain: How to identify different causes of joint pain, stiffness

It can be difficult to differentiate between different types of joint pain and stiffness, especially as many of them have similar symptoms. However, there are some key differences between the most common causes:

Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis is characterised by pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving the joint. It is most commonly found in the hips, knees, and fingers. It usually develops gradually over time and is often worse after prolonged periods of inactivity.

Rheumatoid arthritis: This autoimmune disorder can cause pain, stiffness, and inflammation in multiple joints. It is symmetrical, meaning it affects the same joints on both sides of the body. It also causes fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

Gout: This type of arthritis is characterised by sudden and severe pain, redness, and swelling in the affected joint. It often affects the big toe but it can also affect other joints.

Bursitis: This is characterised by pain and stiffness in the joint, especially when moving. It is caused by inflammation of the small fluid-filled sacs called bursa that cushion the joints. It often affects the shoulders, hips, and elbows.

Tendinitis: This is characterised by pain and stiffness around the joint, especially when moving. It is caused by inflammation of the tendons, which are the fibrous cords that attach muscles to bones. It often affects the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

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Injuries: Joint pain and stiffness caused by injuries, such as sprains or tears, is usually sudden and often accompanied by swelling and bruising.

Overuse: Joint pain and stiffness caused by overuse is usually characterised by pain and stiffness in the joint that is worst when the joint is being used, such as typing on a computer for a long time.
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you have joint pain and stiffness. They will be able to help you determine the cause and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Managing Osteoarthritis at home – 10 simple tips to ease the pain

Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint and improve flexibility. This can help reduce pain and stiffness

Maintain a healthy weight: Losing weight can help reduce the stress on your joints and prevent osteoarthritis from getting worse.

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce inflammation.

Use assistive devices: Canes, walkers, and other assistive devices can help you move around more easily and reduce the stress on your joints.

Take over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Use heat or ice therapy: Applying heat or ice to the affected joint can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Practice good posture: Good posture can help reduce the stress on your joints and prevent pain.

Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Try physical therapy: Physical therapy can help you learn exercises and stretches that can help reduce pain and improve flexibility.

Communicate with your doctor: Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and treatment options. They can help you manage your condition and prevent it from getting worse.

 

.Dr. Ofrey is the co-founder/CEO, GeroCare