What are Common Joint Pain Side Effects?

Laura M. Sands

Some of the most common joint pain side effects include sleeplessness, fatigue, depression and irritability. Depending on what is causing joint pain, other side effects may also be present. For example, in individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, gout or other forms of arthritis, joint pain side effects may also include loss of appetite, fever and swollen glands. Decreased kidney functioning, caused by certain drugs commonly used to provide joint pain relief may also occur in some people. Another common side effect of painful joints is muscle atrophy due to the avoidance of movement and exercise, particularly when joint pain is chronic.

A man with joint pain.
A man with joint pain.

Individuals who suffer from joint pain often find it difficult to sleep at night or participate in routine daytime activities, particularly when pain or stiffness is present. These difficulties lead to a loss of sleep and increased fatigue during waking hours. It is also not uncommon for individuals to experience joint pain side effects, such as mood changes, irritability, confusion, a loss of attention, memory deficits and depression as the direct result of a loss of restorative sleep.

Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.
Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.

Upon diagnosing joint pain, doctors generally prescribe medication, including medications that offer fast relief from pain symptoms. While focused treatment efforts are largely successful in managing joint pain side effects, prescribed medications are also frequently accompanied by a separate, but undesirable set of side effects. A few of these include stomach upset, skin bruising, unintended weight gain, hypertension, osteoporosis, diabetes and the development of cataracts.

Left untreated, however, individuals with joint pain will likely experience a deterioration of joints and connective tissue over time. In many, these joint pain side effects will present as joint deformities or as a complete loss of movement. Surgery may or may not be able to correct these conditions.

In order to avoid joint pain side effects, health experts recommend seeking medical attention to discover the cause of pain at its initial onset. In treating the underlying cause, many are able to find relief from pain and are able to avoid unpleasant side effects. Also, an early diagnosis and an understanding of the different types of joint pain can help individuals make lifestyle choices, such as changes in diet and exercise, which can stop conditions causing joint pain from becoming worse or from recurring. Joint pain side effects, such as depression and loss of sleep generally occur when pain has become chronic due to a lack of treatment or due to ineffective treatment attempts.

Unintended weight gain can be a side effect of medications prescribed for joint pain.
Unintended weight gain can be a side effect of medications prescribed for joint pain.

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