What The Doctor Does
Doctors first ask questions about the person’s symptoms and medical history. Then they do a physical examination. What doctors find during the history and physical examination often suggests a cause for joint pain and guides the tests that may need to be done .
Doctors ask about pain severity, onset , how symptoms vary over time, and what increases or decreases pain . They ask about joint stiffness and swelling, previously diagnosed joint disorders, and risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and Lyme disease.
Doctors then do a complete physical examination. They check all joints for swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, and noises that are made when the joints are moved . The joints are moved through their full range of motion, first by the person without assistance and then by the doctor . This examination helps determine which structure is causing the pain and if inflammation is present. They also check the eyes, mouth, nose, and genital area for sores or other signs of inflammation. The skin is examined for rashes. Lymph nodes are felt and the lungs and heart examined. Doctors usually test function of the nervous system so that they can detect disorders of the muscles or nerves.
The following tests are the most important overall:
Tests of joint fluid
Blood tests for autoantibodies
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein
Q: What Foods Do You Recommend I Eator Avoid
JD: Id look first at the types of fats youre eating. Chronic inflammatory pain is a sign that you have higher-than-normal levels of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Prostaglandins, a kind of hormone, come in two types: One encourages inflammation, while the other inhibits it. Because both are constructed from fatty acids, the kind of prostaglandins that predominate in your body depends partly on the kinds of fats you eat.
Youll want to stay away from pro-inflammatory fats, such as butter, whole milk, margarine, corn oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, and vegetable shortening. And steer clear of trans fats, which are often found in processed foods. At the same time, increase your intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils. Good sources include salmon, herring, mackerel, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.
Finally, make sure youre getting five to six servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day and substituting whole grains for white bread and rice. A healthy diet will also help you lose weight.
Morning Stiffness That Takes Hours To Wear Off
Many people feel a little stiff in the morning as they get older, Manno says. If it lasts less than 30 minutes and eases as you get moving, thats not too worrisome. But if it doesnt disappear until after lunch or later, thats a sign theres something more going on.
Hand Arthritis | Bill’s Story
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Other Joints Affected By Ra
In some people, RA also affects the hip, cervical spine , and cricoarytenoid joints of the throat. Involvement of the hip joints tends to occur in the later stages of RA, making it hard to walk and support the weight of the body.
Inflammation of the cervical spine can cause pain and stiffness that make it difficult to bend the neck or turn the head. About 30 percent of people with RA have inflammation of the cricoarytenoid joint. This can cause hoarseness and difficulty breathing.5
How Does The Elbow Work
The elbow joint is where the long bone at the top of your arm, known as the humerus, meets the two bones in your forearm called the radius and the ulna. Its a hinge joint, and it allows you to bend your arm. The upper part of the radius can rotate so you can twist your forearm.
The end of the humerus has two bony parts that you can feel at either side of your elbow. These are:
- the lateral epicondyle on the outside of your arm
- the medial epicondyle on the inside of your arm.
Muscles attached to the outside of the humerus help you straighten your wrist and fingers. These are connected to the brain and nervous system through the radial nerve, which travels on the outside of the elbow.
Muscles attached to the inside of the humerus help you bend your wrist and fingers, and let you grasp objects. These muscles are connected to the brain and nervous system through the median nerve, which runs in front of the elbow.
The ulnar nerve, which is on the inside of the elbow is mainly responsible for the movements of the small muscles of the hand. These are useful for precise and delicate hand movements. The feeling of hitting your funny bone is caused by the ulnar nerve being pinched.
There are also strong cords in the elbow that help to hold the joint in place. Tendons attach muscles to bones and ligaments link bones together.
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Lyme Disease Could Be Lurking
Every year, a reported 30,000 people are bitten by a tick carrying the
The tick latches onto your skin to suck blood out of your body, but its head has an infection that gets into your bloodstream, Dr. Podesta explains. Early symptoms of Lyme include fatigue, fever, headache, and in many cases, a bullseye-shaped rash. Still, it can be difficult to diagnose if youre not in an area endemic to ticks, says Dr. Podesta.
If you dont figure out that you have Lyme disease so you can treat it, the bacteria can spread to your joints, especially your knees. You might also develop neck stiffness and sore hands and feet. Over time, your heart and nervous system may be affected as well.
Burning Pain In The Back Of The Knee
Pain behind your knee could come from any of a handful of causes. You may have an overuse injury similar to what causes runner’s knee.
You could also have something more severe like a ligament tear. If you tear a ligament or cartilage, you will most likely have pain no matter what you do, even if you stop the activity. You will also have swelling shortly after you injure your knee.
You could also have a Baker’s cyst. A Baker’s cyst is an accumulation of fluid in the bursa behind your knee. You may have pain, or you may just have swelling.
The burning pain behind your knee could be your only symptom. Best of all, a Baker’s cyst isn’t a debilitating diagnosis. You can get the fluid drained and then return to normal activities.
If you suspect a cartilage or ligament tear, begin with cold therapy. This could include a sleeve with an ice pack that you slide over your knee and keep on the knee for fifteen minutes at a time.
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Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Several mind-body therapies have been used, often in conjunction with medication and physical therapy, to alleviate joint pain. Some of these include:
In addition, while there was some hype about taking the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin for repairing the damaged cartilage of osteoarthritis, current scientific evidence is unfortunately not so supportive of this. That said, for some people, there may be a small pain-alleviating benefit to taking these supplements.
In the end, it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider about whether these are right and safe for you.
What Can Be Done To Relieve Joint Pain
Surgery may be an option if the joint pain is long lasting and does not lessen with drugs or physical therapy and exercise. Please be sure to discuss this with the doctor to make sure that an operation makes sense.
There are many different surgical options available, including:
Arthroscopy: A procedure where a surgeon makes two or three small incisions in the flesh over the joint and gets into the joint using an arthroscope, or a thin, flexible, fiberoptic instrument, to repair cartilage or remove bone chips in or near the joint.
Joint replacement: If other treatments do not help, surgery may be needed to replace the joint once the cartilage that cushions and protects the ends of the bones gradually wears away. This can be done for hip, knee and shoulder joints.
A surgeon removes parts of the patients bone and implants an artificial joint made from metal or plastic. This procedure has had excellent results and the majority of patients feel long-lasting pain relief after this type of surgery.
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Causes Of Wrist And Elbow Joint Pain
Joint pain is caused by a variety of underlying conditions.Some are minor and heal on their own. Others are chronic and require ongoing medical care. Wrist and elbow joint pain can be caused by traumatic or overuse injury to multiple structures or by medical conditions such as arthritis. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you have wrist or elbow joint pain. Many injuries cannot be detected without an x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.
Who Is More Likely To Experience Joint Pain
Joint pain tends to affects those who:
- Have had previous injuries to a joint
- Repeatedly use and/or overuse a muscle
- Have arthritis or other chronic medical conditions
- Suffer from depression, anxiety, and/or stress
- Are overweight
- Suffer from poor health
Age is also a factor in stiff and painful joints. After years of use, and wear and tear on joints, problems may arise in middle-aged or older adults.
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Joint Pain: Causes Symptoms And Pain Relief Options For Knee Shoulder Elbow Hip Hand And Finger Aches
Joint pain is not something to scoff at, especially if you or a loved one is suffering from it. Pain in the joints can make even the simplest tasks difficult and nearly impossible to complete. Joint pain interferes with a normal life and turns it on its head. Knowing what causes joint pain, the symptoms associated with it and what treatment options are available can help you navigate through the problem and live a life with less discomfort.
When Should I See A Doctor
If pain is interfering with normal daily life activities, it is time to talk to a doctor about the problem. It is important to diagnose the cause of the pain quickly and begin treatment to relieve pain and maintain healthy, functioning joints.
You should see a doctor if:
- Pain is accompanied by a fever
- There is unexplained weight loss
- Pain is preventing you from walking normally
During the appointment, the doctor will ask many questions to figure out what may be the cause of the pain. The patient should be ready to answer questions about previous injuries to the joint, when the joint pain began, a family history of joint pain, and the type of pain experienced.
An examination of the affected joint will follow to see if there is pain or limited motion. The doctor will also look for signs of injury to the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
If necessary, the doctor may also order X-rays or blood tests. X-rays can show if there is joint deterioration, fluid in the joint, bone spurs, or other issues that may be contributing to the pain. Blood tests will help confirm a diagnosis or rule out other diseases that may be causing the pain.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/28/2018.
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It Could Be A Symptoms Of Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disordercan wreck all your joints if left untreated, says Dr. Troum. People with lupus have an overactive immune system that can mistakenly target joints, as well as skin, blood, kidneys, and other organs.
Along with swollen, painful joints, you may develop a butterfly-shaped rash across your cheeks, but symptoms are different for everyone. Hair loss, trouble breathing, memory problems, mouth sores, and dry eyes and mouth can also be signs of lupus.
Symptoms Of Joint Pain
Joint pain is a common symptom, and the pain can range from mild to debilitating. Joint pain can affect one joint only or can affect multiple joints at the same time. Joint pain may arise from the joint itself, or be caused by surrounding structures, such as tendons or bursae .
The pain may be accompanied by swelling, heat, tenderness, stiffness or inflammation.
Joint pain may come on suddenly, or the symptoms may come and go over time. Joint pain is also known as arthralgia.
If you have joint pain accompanied by these symptoms, you should see a doctor:
- loss of range of motion and difficulty moving the joint
If these symptoms are present, see a doctor immediately:
- strong pain
- sudden swelling of the joint
- you cant move the joint
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Typical Symptoms Of Bursitis
Typical symptoms of bursitis include pain, tenderness even without motion, swelling, and loss of movement. If bursitis is caused by an infection, additional symptoms may be seen such as fever, redness of the area, and the affected area feeling hot to touch. Its important to note that symptoms also depend on the location of bursitis. Here are some additional symptoms experienced in specific locations in the body.
Hip: Pain may occur at the side of the hip and radiate to the thigh. The hip may be painful to touch. Walking, climbing stairs, and lying on your side becomes difficult.
Knee: Pain with movement is rare, unless the joint is significantly flexed.
Elbow: Swelling. Tenderness may occur if infection is present.
Heel: this type of bursitis is often associated with runners and is caused by overuse.
What Causes Bursitis In Hips Knees And Elbows
Aaron explained, Hip and heel bursitis usually result from overuse syndromes involving underlying structures related to the tendons, he noted. Elbow and knee bursitis can be traumatic, due to either chronic low-level trauma or acute trauma, or infectious. Other inflammatory conditions can lead to bursitis as well.
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What Is Causing My Elbow And Knee Pain At The Same Time
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Can Menopause Cause Joint Pain
While aches and pains and joint stiffness are all inevitable as we age, as women approach menopause, typically between the age of 45 and 55, many are often surprised to discover that joint pain is one of the most common symptoms, alongside hot flushes, night sweats, period changes and mood swings.
The average age for menopause is between 45 and 55, so it is little wonder why many women put their aches and pains down to aging.
Joints which are involved in high impact movements such as the hips and knees tend to be most affected. The elbows, neck, shoulders, hands and fingers can also be affected by joint pain.
There are a number of causes of joint pain during menopause including:
- Hormonal changes
- Poor posture
- Increased sensitivity to pain.
Below, I take a closer look at each of these causes and recommend ways to help prevent and treat joint pain during menopause.
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It Could Be A Sign Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is different than the wear-and-tear kind that commonly develops with age.
RA is an autoimmune disorder, and it disproportionally targets women: Of the more than 1.3 million people who have it, 75% are female. Its worrisome to see in young patients, says Orrin Troum, M.D., a rheumatologist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. He explains that hes seen new mothers with such bad inflammation in their hands that they struggle to care for their babies.
Although not all these causes of joint pain can be cured, they can be treated. Some will require a course of antibiotics or other prescription meds. Others may improve on their own with time and rest. But any lingering pain in your joints should be reason enough to check in with your primary care doctor. Theyll likely refer you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in arthritis, to make sure you get the right diagnosis and treatment you need.
Will I Need Any Tests
Joint pain often resolves without the need for any tests. Your doctor can help to diagnose the cause of the joint pain. This will involve asking you questions about your symptoms and examining the affected joints. Your doctor may also arrange for you to have blood tests and an X-ray to help find out the reason for your joint pain. For some joint conditions, an ultrasound scan can be helpful in diagnosing the cause. In some cases more specialised tests will be needed, such as other scans or keyhole surgery to look inside the joint .
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Compression Sleeves For Treating Burning Pain In Elbow:
Additionally, compression sleeves can also be prescribed for burning pain in elbow by the physician and also available over the counter. This helps by supporting the elbow while the inflammation calms down and helps in pain relief. The sleeve covers the entire elbow and restricts its motion and protects it from any additional harm.
If all these measures fail to improve the symptoms of burning pain in elbow, then the physician may recommend surgery to explore the elbow and look for the defect and correct it.
An important point to note here is that you need to take frequent breaks from your work or sporting activities so that your elbow gets the much needed rest that it truly deserves as much as you, so that you do not end up having burning pain in the elbows.