About 60 million American adults suffer from some form of arthritis. Few other diseases, if any, afflict 20% of a country’s population. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation says that it could be worse than thought: one in three may have joint disease.
Arthritis involves chronic, long-lasting pain in a joint. Typically, that joint is injured or inflamed, making the simplest movement painful, extremely difficult, even impossible. Joints deal with incredible daily pressure that can take its toll. Those at greater risk of arthritis include people working jobs that put regular stress on joints, those who don’t eat nutritiously, those who are overweight, those who are genetically susceptible and many others for whom there is no particular factor involved.
As recognizing your condition is the first step to treating it, let’s run down the top seven causes of joint pain:
1. Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease where cartilage deteriorates over time, causing bones to rub against each other. It is the world’s top cause of joint pain. It occurs most often in the hips, knees, feet, hands and back. Repetitive motion, joint injuries and other stresses are believed to play a role.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: An autoimmune condition where the joint lining is inflamed, causing a high degree of pain. Its cause is unknown. Inflammation can spread to other tissues causing loss of movement and pain; it can even spread to damage vital organs.
3. Fibromyalgia: This condition is not well diagnosed and still not well understood by medicine. It causes pain and stiffness in the muscles and connective tissues. Symptoms include chronic aches and pains, often severe, combined with depression and fatigue. Pain centers on the neck, shoulders, spine and hips.
4. Bursitis: Inflamed bursa sacs, which hold fluid in joints to reduce friction, may be linked to another type of arthritis or caused by injury. Bursitis causes pain and tenderness, and limits joint movement.
5. Gout: A very painful condition that strikes the big toe most often. Causing inflammation and red scaly skin, gout is triggered by too much uric acid in the blood. This comes from a variety of foods and alcohol.
6. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS): This condition strikes the wrist, home to the carpal tunnel. When a nerve in this tunnel is compressed, pressed up against the ligament because of swelling amongst the joints there at the wrist, then you officially have CTS. Repetitive motion is a big cause.
7. Tendinitis: This condition occurs when a tendon becomes inflamed or irritated. It strikes soft tissue, typically in the shoulders, knees, elbows, hips or wrists. It causes pain and tenderness in the joints found there, which is worse when you move the joint.