Orthopedic Associates' Blog


Orthopedic Associates' Blog

Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Arthritis Pain
Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Arthritis Pain

By: Dr. Burke 

Arthritis pain can present itself in many ways: as a dull ache, a burning feeling, a sharp pain or a pressure that feels like there’s a vice grip on your joints. Either way, it’s an ongoing challenge to manage pain from arthritis, which is the leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 52.5 million adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. There’s plenty of information out there about pain remedies, exercise and medication, so how do you know what’s right for you?


First, let’s take a look at what causes arthritis pain. The term itself can describe more than 200 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, including osteoporosis and diseases of the connective tissues. There isn’t a single type of arthritis, so the causes can include:

  • Injury that leads to degenerative arthritis

  • Abnormal metabolism that leads to gout and pseudo gout

  • Inheritance infections like Lyme disease

  • Immune system dysfunction

Often, several of these things work in conjunction to cause arthritis and painful symptoms. Keep in mind that there might also be no apparent cause of arthritis, and it can present unpredictably.


Much like the causes of arthritis, the presentation of symptoms can vary greatly. It can advance gradually or suddenly and often, since arthritis is a chronic disease, symptoms can persist over time or come and go. There are four warning signs that, if experienced, mean it’s time to have a discussion with your doctor:

  • Difficulty moving one or several joints. It should not be difficult to move your joints or do basic tasks like arise from bed or chair.

  • Pain. Whether constant or occasional, isolated or universal, pain is an indicator that you might have arthritis.

  • Swelling of the joints. Some types of arthritis can cause joints to become inflamed and swollen, or even to feel as if they are emanating heat.

  • Stiffness. If you’re feeling stiff when you first begin to move in the morning, or after prolonged periods of sitting, you could have arthritis. It can also cause stiffness after exercise.

If symptoms present and persist, your doctor may want to run tests to confirm a diagnosis of arthritis. Your detailed medical history of present and past symptoms will be taken into consideration, and a physical exam or tests may be performed as part of the diagnostic process.

Treatment and Pain Management

As there is no known cure for arthritis, the primary objective of treatment is to manage pain, minimize damage to joints and improve or preserve function and quality of life. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) recommends that arthritis treatment might involve:

  • Medications

  • Surgery to replace joints

  • Weight loss

  • Splints or joint assistive aids

  • Non-pharmacologic therapies

Additionally, hot/cold therapies, topical medications and steroid injections have been used with varying degrees of success.

Medications used to treat arthritis pain are prescribed based on the type of arthritis. Some treat pain but not inflammation; others treat both. Topical creams are available that can help modulate joint pain, and others suppress immune system response.

In addition to medications, the onset of arthritis, as well as its symptoms can be influenced by diet. Although specific foods are not known to cause arthritis, those that increase inflammation because of their high fat and refined sugar content, can aggravate arthritis. A nutrient-rich Mediterranean diet of fish, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, legumes, olive oils and whole grains is recommended.

Regular exercise as a part of a plan for maintaining a healthy weight can help alleviate arthritis pain, especially if it is low impact cardio to protect joints from unnecessary stress. Of course, regular checkups with your physician to discuss pain management and options is a wise strategy. Regardless of your condition, you’ll have more success with pain management if you take action to educate yourself, communicate with your physician and make note of any changes in your condition.


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Avatar  Assignment Help last year

It is important to not ignore the pain in the starting stages of arthritis. Taking it for granted will only worsen it and urgent and immediate medical attention is necessary.