Joint Pain? These May Be The Causes!

While joint pain doesn't necessarily mean a serious problem, when it doesn't let up and becomes frequent it is best to consult a specialist.
Joint Pain? These May Be The Causes!
Gilberto Adaulfo Sánchez Abreu

Written and verified by the doctor Gilberto Adaulfo Sánchez Abreu.

Last update: 10 October, 2022

Joint pain may occur due to a myriad of causes. In some cases, it’s the result of an injury, while in others, it can be the result of a specific disorder, like arthritis or bursitis, for example.

Before we begin going into detail regarding the possible causes, we first want to go over a key concept in this all. In other words, we want to talk about what joints are.

The experts at Standford Children’s Health explain that “Joints are the areas where 2 or more bones meet . Most joints are mobile, allowing the bones to move. Joints consist of the following.”

What else is important to take into account?

Joint pain can occur both during movement and when a joint is at rest. What’s more, it can occur near the affected area of far away from it. An example of the latter is sciatica. It’s important to point out that when joint pain affects only one joint, it’s known as “monoarticular pain”.

While individuals may experience pain and tweaking in the area of the leg, the cause is actually in the lumbar column. That’s where the sciatic nerve begins, which, at the same time, affects leg mobility.

Possible causes of joint pain

A man with sciatic nerve pain.

1. Fibromyalgia

If you have a general pain with sharp, specific pangs you should get examined to rule out the possibility of fibromyalgia.

Although you should not rule out other causes of general pain. General pain could be metabolic and related to connective and neuropathic tissue disorders.

See also: Is There a Connection between Gluten and Fibromyalgia?

2. Inflammation

Single joint pain may come with redness, which may present limited movement. This limited movement is caused by the pain and inflammation itself that comes with it.

Keep in mind that the most common cause of inflammation in one joint is trauma. So it’s very important to find out whether an infection is also present or not.

3. Gout

Nerve pain may be due to gout.

If you suffer from gout, the fact that your joints hurt may be a consequence.

Those who have a buildup of uric acid crystals know that the pain that comes with it is sudden and severe. This kind of pain often includes redness and swelling around the joints.

If the problem is gout, the pain will have a slow and progressive evolution, like osteoarthritis. It could take weeks or months to develop and doesn’t always come with inflammation.

A visit to the doctor will rule out or confirm the diagnosis of this problem.

4. Arthritis

In this case, the pain occurs in many joints at the same time, not just one. Arthritis usually affects the back, pelvis, and hip areas.

In the beginning, arthritis manifests itself as a significant discomfort in the back or hip region, or morning  numbness or stiffness. If this is your case, you may have arthritis.

Even though they don’t seem related at first, gastrointestinal or skin problems like psoriasis are also related. These may be the key to a diagnosis that is even common in people less than 40 years old.

Dr. Alexandra Villa-Forte states that “the most frequent causes of arthritis that affect just one joint are infectious arthritis, gout and related disorders, and arthrosis.”

5. Tendinitis and bursitis

A man with tendonitis in the shoulder.
Other causes of joint pain can be tendonitis and bursitis

  • Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon where it connects the muscle and the bone to provide joint movement.
  • Bursitis, on the other hand, is inflammation of bursae. Bursae are a kind of padding tissue that are beneath the tendons and prevent friction between the tendon and the bone.

Either of these may cause a lot of joint pain if these areas become inflamed.

6. Inflammation

Sometimes there are minor inflammations that have no serious cause behind them. This is something to keep in mind before becoming alarmed over localized pain felt in certain areas.

If you feel a generalized pain with specific points it is important to consider causes that have a metabolic nature as well as certain connective and neuropathic tissue disorders.

In any event, if the pain persists it is best to consult your physician to get a more accurate diagnosis.

Self-medication is never a good idea

Dr. Alexandra Villa-Forte explains that “the most effective way to relieve joint pain is to treat the disorder that’s causing it”. Therefore, it’s important to avoid self-medication and home remedies. Rather, you should follow your doctor’s recommendations.

When you self-medicate, you “hide” the symptoms momentarily, but you don’t solve them. Therefore, while over-the-counter drugs might seem like a good idea, it’s better to wait for specific instructions from your doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.