A joint is the part of the body where two or more bones meet to allow movement. Joint pain affects many Australians daily. Joint pain is mainly caused by pain and swelling. The most common joints affected include in the elbows, wrists, shoulders, spine, hips, ankles and knees.
Common causes of joint pain include:
- Arthritis – inflammation that causes stiffness and pain in the joints (rheumatoid arthritis or gout) or degeneration (osteoarthritis)
- Bursitis – inflammation of the bursae (fluid-filled sacs that cushion and pad bones)
- Infection – within the joint
- Tendonitis – inflammation, irritation and swelling of a tendon that is attached to the joint.
- Injury – including sprain or strain of a ligament or nearby tendon or muscle, or bone fracture.
Arthritis is a general term that refers to over 150 different conditions. The accurate term for this group of conditions is musculoskeletal conditions, as they affect the muscles, bones and joints.
Arthritis affects people in different ways and each condition will have specific symptoms. However, common symptoms are:
- Swelling, redness and warmth in a joint
- Muscular aches and pain
- Stiffness or reduced movement of a joint
- General symptoms such as fatigue and feeling unwell.
There are several common conditions that fall under the banner of arthritis are osteoarthritis, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, gout, polymyalgia rheumatica, lupus and ankylosing spondylitis.
Living with arthritis can be different from person to person, and symptoms can vary from day to day. Treatment and management options vary with the type of arthritis, its severity and the parts of the body affected.
There is no cure for arthritis. Management options can include medical treatment and medication, physiotherapy, exercise and self-management techniques.
Where to get help:
- Your GP (doctor)
- Exercise physiologist
- NPS MedicineWise Medicines Line Tel. 1300 633 424
- Independent Living Centres Australia Tel. 1300 885 886
- Musculoskeletal Australia. Tel. 1800 263 265
Source: Better Health Channel, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/joints