What Causes Joint Inflammation?<< Go Back
Joint inflammation is caused when the body's immune system is activated, and it sends out white blood cells to the site. The activity of these cells is what promotes inflammation in the joint, with joint swelling, joint pain, stiffness, and more limited function. It's important to remember that this is a sign that your immune system is working properly. It's not ideal that your white blood cells cause joint inflammation, but the physiological response behind it is important for your overall health. Immune system response and white blood cells are the long and short of what causes joint inflammation.
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Again, this is looking at it from the physiological response angle exclusively. There are a whole host of different specific occurrences that are the more literal causes of joint inflammation. These include joint degeneration, injuries, or even the constant strain and pressure that comes with excess weight. And as you might expect, people begin to be more susceptible to joint inflammation and experience more pain as they get older. Voltaren gel is a good choice as a OTC (over-the-counter) pain reliever gel that you simply rub onto the skin for relief.
We’re going to discuss all of this in greater detail, including the symptoms of joint pain and treatment of joint pain. Plus, in an attempt keep all of this 'interesting blog'-worthy we’ll also discuss people who are double-jointed. You’ve probably met someone who can bend their fingers back freakishly far or bend their arm away from their elbow the wrong way.
Some people are fascinated with those types of displays, while others are kind of repulsed by them. But what if it were the case that these people were not actually double-jointed at all? Read on.
The Specifics of Joint Inflammation
It’s been reported that up to 80% of the world’s population are affected by joint inflammation. In fact, an estimated 54 million Americans are dealing with some form joint-related arthritis illnesses at any given time – rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus among them. The causes of joint pain will usually be a result of one or more of these contributing factors:
- Damaged muscle tissue or cartilage
- Awkward, unnatural, or forced body movement
- The joint ‘locking up’ as a result of not being able to hinge properly
- Stiffness due to muscles seizing or spasming
- The joint losing synovial fluid (the fluid responsible for keeping the joint soft and lubricated for ease of movement)
As mentioned, arthritis is the health condition that is most commonly connected to joint inflammation. It’s front and center for what’s behind rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and another one you’ve probably never heard of and is a bit of a mouthful – systemic lupus erythematosus.
Symptoms of Joint Pain
With an understanding of what causes joint inflammation now in place, we can shift our focus over to symptoms of joint pain and ways you can draw a line between being in pain and knowing it’s related to a joint. Common symptoms of joint pain include:
- Loss of range of motion in the join
- Locking of the joint
- Weakness in joint
- Aching or stiffness throughout the body
- Experiencing what seems to be pulled, burning, or overworked muscles
- Sleep problems
- Pain that worsens with same repeated movements
Another term for joint pain is arthralgia, and many people are surprised to learn that joint pain can also be caused by sexually-transmitted diseases. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common of them.
The list of condition-specific causes of joint inflammation is a long one, but the most notable of them are bursitis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, Paget’s disease, and hypothyroidism.
Treatment of Joint Pain
Being aware of what causes joint inflammation isn’t going to be enough if you’re experiencing pain in one or more of your joints. You’ll want to learn of the best treatment of joint pain. We’ll look first at self-care approaches that you can take for mild joint pain. Then we’ll look at more clinical approaches to treatment of joint pain, including effective medications for joint pain.
Self-care approaches start with avoidance; if you have joint pain it’s best to avoid using that joint as much as possible. Next, taking an OTC pain reliever like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin etc.) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) is helpful for providing relief from joint pain. Chondroitin Sulfate is a natural supplement that works well to maintain joint health and suppleness, and again Voltaren gel is a good topical analgesic pain reliever.
When the problem is more severe then medical treatment for joint pain becomes necessary. If the cause is cartilage or ligament damage, then the individual may require surgery. As far as prescription medications for joint pain are concerned, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Celebrex are the standard prescription for joint pain. If these meds aren’t enough to provide relief then a physician may choose to prescribe an opioid painkiller like Tramadol or one of the many others.
However, these medications must be used with caution due to the risk of addiction.
Not Double at All
So, as we hinted at above, it is scientifically true that no one is actually double-jointed, despite their ability to bend appendages in clearly unnatural ways. Instead, they’re people with what’s called hypermobility syndrome. What this means is that they have the ability to move a bone within a joint to its fullest capacity, but without the pain that would occur if ordinary people like you or I tried to do it.
Another common reality for people with hypermobility syndrome is that they are born with ball and socket joints that are unusually shallow. This gives the domed bone coming out from the joint WAY more mobility.
For people who would be classified as ‘freakishly’ flexible, it’s usually the case that they have a socket that is so shallow the ball part the bone in the joint can be moved partially or even completely out of its socket. If you’ve ever met someone who can easily and painlessly dislocate their shoulder, this is almost certainly why they’re able to bed their body in that way.
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