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Joint Pain, Aging, and Arthritis - Understand Your Pain

Creaking, ankles, knees and hips are not necessarily normal pains and aches that occur with age. The pain could be arthritis. Fortunately, medicines have a lot to provide from exercises and medications to alternative supplements and joint replacement. Whether it is achy joints, a twinge in our knee or pain from shoulder to our elbow, we often assume joint pain to be a normal process along with aging and hence we adapt to live with it. This is the wrong notion as per experts. This is a serious problem as pain affects all aspects of life. It affects our livelihood, interaction with family and our friends. As per a survey 19%, people had chronic pain due to Arthritis, however, almost half of them were not aware of the reason for the pain. 84% took the over-the-counter drug for pain relief.

We are accustomed to letting our body heal itself naturally which is why we always keep expecting such healing. Due to this approach, we also put up with chronic pain, trying pain relievers, however, we do not visit a doctor.

An average individual is not able to identify if it is a torn tendon or a pain in joint portion. These are for a physician to evaluate.

diagnosis for Arthritis

The right diagnosis is important for Arthritis:

Although arthritis is a term which simply refers to inflammation of joints, the diagnosis of it is not simple. There are more than 100 types of arthritis which is why getting it diagnosed right is very important to direct a precise treatment.

Many individuals have other conditions which aggravate arthritis. i.e. Gout is a kind of arthritis which can result in Osteoarthritis. An inherited disease hemochromatosis involves high iron storage in the human body that results in diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. A joint pain is also a result of cancer that reached joints.

Common conditions related to pain:

  • Osteoarthritis

It is often known as degenerative joint disease. Amongst the people over 50 years of age, it happens to be the most common form of arthritis. As we get older and older, the shock absorber of our joints or the rubbery cartilage loses elasticity and becomes hard and easy to be damaged. With the cartilage wearing away, ligaments and tendons stretch and cause pain. This occurs in any joint of our body but most commonly in hips, knees, spine, and fingers.

Joint aching, pain, soreness and some bony knots in finger joints are common symptoms. Painkillers, medications and alternative supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine help in relieving pain. However, changes in lifestyle such as weight loss could also be important for reducing stress on the joints that bear weight.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

This type of arthritis is too different from a degenerative joint disease. Inflammation takes place in the joints on both the sides of body – a symmetry which helps to differentiate it from other forms of arthritis. However, many symptoms sound very familiar such as swelling, joint pain, fatigue, the stiffness of joints. Rheumatoid arthritis isn’t mere a benign joint problem. It is important to early diagnose it to assist in maintaining functionality, prevention of disability and improving survival.

  • PMR or Polymyalgia Rheumatica and TA or Temporal Arthritis

These inflammatory problems often take place together and appear to be correlated. PMR involves larger joints like shoulders and hip. TA is inflammation of blood vessels along with pain in the eyes. Both the conditions result from the immune system of the body reacting against itself. Stiffness and pain in hip and shoulder joints, weight loss, fever, and fatigue are symptoms of PMR. A severe headache could be a symptom of TA which can lead to stroke, irreversible blindness, mini-strokes if not treated. Exact causes of these disorders are not known yet. When diagnosed it can be treated with a steroid called Prednisone.

  • Fibromyalgia

It is a chronic disorder that creates pain & tenderness across several points across the body, leading to serious sleep issues and fatigue. The reason for fibromyalgia is very vaguely understood, however, it isn’t relevant to any nerve, muscle, or a joint injury. As per one theory, this condition could be linked with over sensitive nerve cells within the brain and spinal cord. Or it could be because of imbalance in the brain chemicals which control mood, reduces an individual’s tolerance of pain, probably urging a cycle of restless sleep, inactivity, fatigue, and sensitivity.