It is common to have joint pain. The joint pain usually goes away by itself. Sometimes joint pain can be caused by a serious illness. You should seek care if a joint suddenly swells and you at the same time have a fever or feel very ill.
Symptoms of joint pain
The joints feel stiff, sore and sometimes hot and swollen. You may feel pain and pain as you move.
When and where should I seek care?
Contact a health care center if you have recurring or long-term problems with joint pain.
Seek care directly at a health care center or on-call reception if any of the following is true of you:
- You get a fever or feel sick at the same time as a joint suddenly swells.
- You get severe pain, swelling and redness in a larger joint, such as the knee joint, ankle joint, shoulder or elbow.
It is important that you describe your symptoms of joint pain to the doctor. Prepare yourself by thinking through the following questions:
- When and how did joint pain begin?
- When does it hurt the joints?
- Has any joint been swollen?
- Do the joints feel stiff?
- Are there joint diseases in the genus?
The doctor then does a body examination, among other things to see if the joints are swollen.
Osteoarthritis and congestion are the most common causes of joint swelling. If the joints are not swollen, this indicates that there is no joint disease.
In some cases, you may be able to do other examinations, such as blood tests and x-rays, if the doctor cannot find the cause of the pain. Sometimes the doctor may need to test the joint fluid if the joint is swollen. It is done by draining joint fluid with a needle and feels much like taking a blood test.
What can joint pain be?
There are many different reasons why you may have joint pain.
Movement is good for the joints, but sometimes the joints can become overloaded. If you have osteoarthritis, it is easier to overload the joints. Even a healthy joint can hurt and become swollen if it is severely overloaded.
The cartilage becomes older with age. The cartilage in the joint can become thinner and you can get ruptures in the cartilage. It can cause you pain in the joint. This is part of normal aging; with age, the joints become more sensitive to stress.
One type of age change in the joints is osteoarthritis. It is a disease that causes the cartilage to thin out. If you have osteoarthritis in a joint, you can sometimes get swelling and pain.
A common cause of joint pain may be that you have an infection. For example, it can be a cold or another infection with a fever. Some intestinal or urinary tract infections can cause you to get swollen and aching joints. Some viral infections can cause the pain to settle solely in the joints.
Joint pain caused by infections usually go away quickly, but the pain can also last longer, sometimes several months.
The word rheumatism is easy to use when the cause of joint pain is unknown. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that usually begins in small joints of the hands and feet. The joints become swollen, tender and if the inflammation is severe, the joints can become hot.
Gout is a common joint disease. In the case of a gout attack, the problems come suddenly. A joint, usually at the big toe, quickly becomes very sore and swollen. The pain increases for a few hours and the joint becomes very sensitive to touch. Inflammation usually heals completely within a few to a few weeks.
Pseudo-gout is reminiscent of gout as the trouble can come quite quickly, often in a knee joint that becomes swollen. Other joints can also be affected, but rarely toes.
Inflammatory system disorders
There are diseases that have many similarities to arthritis, such as SLE and systemic sclerosis. These diseases also usually cause problems from other parts of the body.
Joint pain in other diseases
Psoriasis, depression, diabetes, hypothyroidism, bowel diseases Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) are examples of other diseases where joint pain is common. Sometimes these diseases can begin with joint pain.
Paths and weather
As the cause of joint pain is often unknown, it is easy to take the weather as an explanation. Weather knee is an old term that means it works in one knee. Many times joint pain can be better due to hot weather. Colds can also relieve pain.
What can I do for myself?
You can prevent joint pain by moving regularly. Movement and exercise are good for most joint diseases. This applies to both osteoarthritis and arthritis. People who exercise regularly have less pain in the joints. Exercise and exercise strengthen the muscles and joints and counteract overweight. A weight loss of a few pounds can help a lot, especially when it comes to pain in the hips, knees, and ankles.
Warmer climates can relieve pain
For most people, joint pain in the sun and heat decreases. The region can sometimes make grants for travel if you have a rheumatic disease. The grant applies to organized treatment trips to certain facilities.
Depression, anxiety, and stress can make the pain more difficult to manage
How you feel affects how you experience the pain and react to it. Joint pain, for example, can be more difficult to manage if you are depressed, worried, sleep poorly, experience a lot of stress or have problems at home or at work. It is also common for the pain to feel less when doing an activity that you think is fun.
Think about which parts of your everyday life you feel good about and which parts you feel worse by and what, for example, make you stressed. Maybe you can change something to reduce stress.
Treatment of joint pain
The treatment of joint pain that the doctor suggests depends on what causes the joint pain. Sometimes you can’t find any reason why you have joint pain. Then the pain is usually treated with drugs. Physical activity and exercise exercises are good for most joint diseases. Physical therapy can often help.
When the joint pain is due to an infection
Sometimes the joint pain can be due to an infection caused by viruses or bacteria. In bacterial infections, the infection itself is treated.
Viral infections usually heal by themselves. Arthritis can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.
Drugs for pain and inflammation
You can use non-prescription medicines containing paracetamol if you have temporary joint pain.
Inflammation of the joints can usually be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs that are at the same time pain-relieving. These drugs are called NSAIDs or cox inhibitors. The cox inhibitors that are primarily recommended are those containing ibumetin or naproxen.
Here you can read about which prescription drugs are available and which may be right for you.
You should not use cox inhibitors if you are over 75, have any cardiovascular disease or have previously had a stomach ulcer.
A doctor can give you personal advice on prescription painkillers and how to best use them.
You who have inflammation of a joint can also receive treatment of joint pain with cortisone that is injected directly into the joint. Cortisone is a hormone naturally found in the body that suppresses inflammation. When the cortisone is injected into the joint, it works mostly there and not in the rest of the body.
Treatment of joint pain with a physical therapist can reduce the inconvenience. In-house exercise with physiotherapy and drugs that reduce inflammation can be good in, for example, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory system disorders such as SLE.
Sometimes you may need surgery, for example, if you have severe osteoarthritis. This is especially true for osteoarthritis of the hip joints and knee joints.
Influence and participate in your care
You can seek care at any medical center or open specialist clinic you want throughout the country. Sometimes a referral to the open specialized care is required.