What Causes Joint Aches?

Sara Schmidt

Joint aches can be caused by a variety of health problems, from arthritis to fibromyalgia. Many temporary conditions, such as a virus or the flu, can also cause joint pain. Aging often causes aching joints in elderly people as well.

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

Inflammation is considered to be one of the most common causes of joint pain. This response to pain, infection, and other threats to the body can create wear and tear on the body's joints. As the joints become inflamed, their regeneration and repair process slows, making them weaker. The tearing down of this tissue can make joints ache either mildly to severely.

The elderly may suffer joint pain due to osteoarthritis.
The elderly may suffer joint pain due to osteoarthritis.

When joints are inflamed, arthritis can often develop. Several different types of arthritis exist, and all of them may include joint pain as a symptom. Osteoarthritis involves the development of bone problems, such as bone spurs. More common in elderly patients, this condition can result in severe joint pain accompanied by stiffness and swelling.

Osteoarthritis commonly causes joint aches in the elderly.
Osteoarthritis commonly causes joint aches in the elderly.

Injuries are another common cause of joint aches. These can be the result of playing a sport or any other accident that results in bodily harm. Accidents in the workplace can often result in joint aches and pains. Sprains, bruising, broken bones, and many other temporary conditions can result in joint pain. Many of these injuries may not be to the joints themselves, but instead to their surrounding cartilage and ligaments.

Though the conditions themselves typically heal when the injured person is a healthy individual, joint pain can persist for years following an injury. Sometimes injuries can cause joint pain that will last for a lifetime. People sometimes report these injury spots becoming pained during weather changes.

In women, joint aches and pains are sometimes associated with menopause. Hormonal imbalances caused by other conditions, such as a hysterectomy, can also result in joint pain. Obesity can often lead to joint pain, including arthritis, due to constant strain on the joints. When arthritis is already present, excess body weight can exacerbate its symptoms as well.

Several severe causes can be behind joint aches. Some types of cancer and other chronic conditions can cause the bones to hurt. Autoimmune disorders are also known to cause joint pain. Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition in which long-term pain overtakes much of the body, is often behind joint discomfort as well.

Many different remedies for joint aches are available. Heating pads, physical therapy, and other natural treatments can often fully or partially ease symptoms. Herbal remedies and prescription medications can also be used to alleviate joint pain.

Fibromyalgia, which is a chronic inflammation of the body's tissues, may also cause joint aches.
Fibromyalgia, which is a chronic inflammation of the body's tissues, may also cause joint aches.

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