Lybrate Logo
Get the App
For Doctors
Book Appointment
Ask a Question
Plan my Surgery
Health Feed
Health Feed
Find Doctors

Joint Pain: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2022

What is joint pain?

Joint pain is a common condition that is characterised by ache, discomfort or soreness in one or more joints in the body. The joints affected are usually knees, shoulders, neck, elbows and hips. The intensity and duration of the pain depend on the underlying cause. The pain is usually temporary and subsides on its own.

However, if the pain is caused by an underlying medical condition such as strain, sprain, gout, osteoarthritis, bursitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer in the joints. etc. then it may require long-term treatment or pain management.

What are the symptoms of joint pain?

Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with joint pain are:

  • Severe or moderate pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint immobility
  • Joint redness
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint tenderness
  • Warmth in joint(s)
  • Joint deformity
  • Joint locking

Is joint pain a sign of?

Joint pain has become one of the common health issues nowadays which usually affect aging individuals. It is accompanied by inflammation in the joints, caused due to wear and tear of articular cartilage present in between.

Joint pain may be a sign of the following conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common condition of inflammation of joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: It is an autoimmune type of arthritis, in which the body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells.
  • Bursitis: It is a type of inflammation in the fluid sacs which helps in cushioning the joints.
  • Gout: This form of arthritis adversely affects the joints of the toes.
  • Strain and sprains or other injuries.
Summary: Joint pain may be a sign of a number of conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, etc. These health issues are accompanied by pain and inflammation associated with joints.

What does joint pain feel like?

Joint pain may be caused due to different reasons. Some of them may include a specific kind of arthritis in which inflammation of joints results in pain while fibromyalgia and underactive thyroid are the other reasons which are not associated with inflammation. Depending upon the specific cause, the nature of joint pain may vary.

It ranges from being mild to severe and burning type of pain in some cases. It may be felt as sharp and penetrating. Other symptoms which occur along with pain include swelling and stiffness in joints, redness, and warmth in the affected area, and generalized symptoms of the body such as fever, fatigue, and weight loss.

Summary: Joint pain may vary in nature and intensity depending upon the cause and severity of the condition. It may be associated with pain which is mild to severe in some cases while it may be sharp, penetrating, and burning like in some.

At what age do joints start hurting?

Based on the studies related to flexibility, joints start hurting as a result of their restricted movements due to decreased flexibility. This happens mainly when an individual, irrespective of gender, reaches age 30 - 40 years.

As a result of aging, tendons and ligaments tend to lose elasticity as well as strength which causes stiffness in the joints. Articular cartilage present as a cushion in the joints, undergo wear and tear due to friction due to bone movements. This leads to inflammation in the joints which is the major factor responsible for joint pain.

Summary: There is no age limitation to the condition such as joint pain. However, the age group ranging from 30-40 years is prone to developing such problems as the flexibility of cartilages in joints start decreasing.

What causes joint pain?

Joint pain can result from multiple medical conditions. The most common causes of joint pain are as follows:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is a condition that occurs when the cartilage, a protective shock-absorbing cushion that occupies the space between the ends of the bones in a joint, wears away. Osteoarthritis usually affects joints of hands, knees, wrists and hips. Owing to the breakdown of cartilage, the joints become stiff and painful. The condition usually affects people over 40 years and the risk increases with age.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: RA is a chronic inflammatory condition in which an over-active immune system attacks the body's own tissues. The auto-immune disorder causes inflammation, swelling and pain in the joints. The joints (usually in wrists and fingers) affected by RA become deformed over time. The condition can strike at any age. Women are at a greater risk of RA than men.
  • Gout: It is a type of arthritis that is associated with sudden and severe pain, swelling, tenderness and redness in joints. The condition occurs when the blood contains high levels of uric acid. The excess uric acid often accumulates in the joints in the form of sharp and needle-like urate crystals in the joints. It usually affects one joint (usually big toe) at a time. The condition can affect people over 30 and men are at a greater risk of gout than women. However, the risk of gout in women increases considerably after menopause.
  • Tendinitis: It is a condition that is characterised by inflammation in the tendons (a fibrous connective tissue that attaches bones and muscles. Tendinitis usually affects tendons in knees, wrists, shoulders, elbows, and heels. In most cases, the pain caused by tendinitis subsides with medication, proper rest and physical therapy.
  • Bursitis: It is a painful condition that is caused by inflammation in bursae (fluid-filled sacs around joints). Shoulders, hips, knee and elbows are commonly affected by bursitis. It is predominantly caused by repetitive and frequent motion.
  • Injury: Pain in joints can also be caused by injuries such as broken bone, sprain (tearing of ligaments that connect bones in the joints) or dislocation (displacement of one or more bones from their normal positions in the joints).

Other causes of joint pain include:

  • Adult Still's disease
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Leukaemia

Why am I tired and my joints hurt?

Tiredness or fatigue is closely linked to arthritis. The major symptoms of arthritis including pain and inflammation, lesser activities, and lifestyle changes are responsible for the fatigue in affected people. Some of the important factors related to fatigue in case of arthritis include:

  • Inflammation: As a result of an inflammatory process in the body, cytokines are released in the blood. These are responsible for causing fatigue in the affected individual.
  • Chronic pain: Pain is chronic in the case of arthritis. This form of pain can adversely affect sleeping habits which in turn causes exhaustion or tiredness.
  • Side effects of certain medications: Certain medications which are taken in arthritis can cause dizziness or fatigue.
  • Inactivity: Arthritis is usually accompanied by lesser body activity. This leads to the tiredness of body muscles, resulting in fatigue or exhaustion.
Summary: Joint pain, being associated with symptoms like restricted movement and sedentary lifestyle, cause fatigue or tiredness in the affected individuals. Chronic pain and inflammation are the factors producing fatigue in such conditions.

What diseases cause joint pain?

Joint pain is quite a painful and discomforting condition that needs proper medical care and attention under the supervision of a specialist. It is caused mainly as a result of aging which causes loss of flexibility in the bones of joints.

There occurs a restriction in the movement of the same, leading to pain and inflammation. Many diseases which can act as predisposing factors in case of joint pain include the following:

  • Avascular necrosis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Bursitis
  • Dislocation
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteomyelitis

How is joint pain diagnosed?

The diagnosis procedure for joint pain will typically involve a physical exam. The physician may also ask certain questions related to the symptoms and your history of joint pain and other medical conditions. You may be asked to undergo a joint x-ray exam. This will help the physician identify if the joint pain is caused by damage from an arthritis-related condition.

Depending on the symptoms and other factors, your physician may also ask to get a blood test to check if the joint pain is caused by an inflammatory auto-immune disorder. A sedimentation rate test may also be requested to figure out inflammation levels in your body.


How is joint pain treated?

Depending on the underlying cause, a physician may prescribe treatment for joint pain. Once the cause is diagnosed, the physician may prescribe topical ointments (that contain capsaicin or methyl salicylate), medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen), pain relievers (acetaminophen), injections (steroids or hyaluronan), anti-depressants etc. to ease joint pain.

If the aforementioned treatment measures don't work, then invasive treatment options such as arthroscopy (a surgical procedure to repair joint cartilage) or joint replacement surgery may be recommended.

Can Joint Pain go away on its own?

Although a cure is not possible for arthritis or joint pain, the condition can be controlled or managed depending upon the cause or severity of the disease. In acute cases of arthritis, which are usually mild to moderate and short-lived, the symptoms can resolve themselves in a few weeks without any need for medical care and attention.

However, conservative approaches such as home remedies, lifestyle modifications, and other alternative methods may be preferred in such cases to manage the symptoms. Chronic cases take many weeks or even months to get treated.

Who is eligible for the treatment?

When symptoms associated with joint pain are acute and short-lived, it often gets resolved with conservative treatment approaches including home remedies and lifestyle changes. However, some cases require urgent medical care and attention, and the symptoms related to such cases include the appearance of redness and swelling around the area of the joint, occurrence of fever which may be high grade, and prolonged occurrence of symptoms. Cases with such symptoms are eligible for treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Although a cure is not possible for arthritis or joint pain, the condition can be controlled or managed depending upon the cause or severity of the disease. In acute cases of arthritis, which are usually mild to moderate and short-lived, the symptoms can resolve themselves in a few weeks without any need for medical care and attention.

However, conservative approaches such as home remedies, lifestyle modifications, and other alternative methods may be preferred in such cases to manage the symptoms. Such cases do not require treatment.

Are there any side effects?

As is the case with most medications, there are certain side effects that you should be vary of. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, you may develop a mild fever as a reaction to the medication. This is completely normal as antibiotics do tend to raise the temperature of the body a little bit.

Furthermore, if you are allergic to specific ingredients that are used in medicine or as medicine, such as penicillin (which is quite common in most pain relief drugs), you should mention it to your doctor as you may end up developing an allergy.

The allergy can present itself as dermatitis, sneezing, or even swelling in the throat and mouth and can be quite dangerous. Always be careful about the medication that you are taking.

Can joint pain be serious?

Joint pain is an outcome of decreased joint flexibility for which aging is the major cause. It may be considered as a side effect of an overactive lifestyle. Feeling tenderness in joints is common among individuals but the following are some of the symptoms which when found to be associated with the joint pain, become a serious concern:

  • Inflammation in the joint area: If redness or swelling is present in the affected joint region, this should not be ignored. This may be caused due to inflammation of the particular site.
  • Experiencing stiffness in joints: Feeling stiffness in joints, especially in the morning, can be a serious concern that should be paid attention to.
  • Limping: When the affected individual suffers persistent limping due to joint pain, it should be paid attention to. It is an indication of bad pain.
  • Hearing of crunching sound: Experiencing crunching sound on the movement of the joints, is something that should be discussed with a doctor.
  • Trouble sleeping: As a result of debilitating joint pain, difficulty in sleeping may occur which results in drowsiness and fatigue.
  • Fever and chills: Suffering signs of fever or chills along with joint pain is a serious issue. It may be indicative of infection in the joints.
Summary: Joint pain has become a common health issue nowadays. It is normally associated with the pain and inflammation in the bones but may also be related to limping, trouble sleeping, fever, and chills in some cases.

How to Prevent Joint Pain?

Joint pain commonly referred to as arthritis, is accompanied by inflammation of the joint besides pain. Prevention of it can be done in the following ways:

  • Maintaining a body weight that is considered to be healthy.
  • Control and manage the condition of diabetes.
  • Including physical activities as well as exercises in our daily routine.
  • Any kind of injury to the joints needs to be avoided in such conditions.
  • Pain due to arthritis should not be ignored.

Should I go to urgent care for Joint Pain?

When symptoms associated with joint pain are acute and short-lived, it often gets resolved with conservative treatment approaches including home remedies and lifestyle changes. However, some cases require urgent medical care and attention, and the symptoms related to such cases include the following:

  • The appearance of redness and swelling around the area of the joint.
  • Occurrence of fever which may be high grade.
  • Prolonged occurrence of symptoms.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The post-treatment guidelines depend largely on the reason for your joint pain. If you developed joint pain due to strenuous physical activity, you will be advised to rest and take it easy for a few days. Even when you get back into your normal routine, you will be required to ease your body into your daily exercise instead of starting off at the highest point you can manage.

If your joint pain is caused due to arthritis, your doctor will recommend several ways for you to manage your pain. You will be asked to avoid stressful activities, including walking for too long, as it puts unrequired pressure on your joints and causes them to get inflamed.

Often, people are advised to change their diets to include food products that are anti-inflammatory to make the condition a bit more manageable. There are no specific post treatment guidelines for joint pain that is caused by infections other than just to be hygienic and keep the area as clean as possible.

How to relieve joint pain?

There are certain measures that can help relieve joint pain. Some of those are:

  • Home care: Certain chronic joint conditions such as Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis require long term pain management. Some simple tips that can help you manage joint pain resulting from such chronic joint condition are:
    • Stretch your joint to maintain range of motion
    • Use a brace or wrap to safeguard your joint
    • Maintain a journal and note down activities that trigger joint pain; avoid those activities
    • Use an elastic wrap to compress the joint
    • Take frequent rests
    • Apply heat or cold compression on the affected joint for at least 15 minutes (Do this multiple times daily)
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help restore muscle strength around the joint, improve joint stability, and enhance the range of motion of joints. You can consult a physical therapist and opt for techniques such as ultrasound and electrical nerve stimulation to restore joint function and mobility. Similarly, you can also opt for supportive aids (such as cane or braces) to help your joint attain ease of movement.
  • Weight loss: People who are overweight or obese are at a greater risk of joint problems. Excess body weight can adversely affect existing joint conditions and worsen the pain. To reduce joint pain, you should try to lose weight by leading a more active lifestyle and exercising regularly. Moderate and low impact exercises such as walking, swimming and cycling exercises can help you lose weight and improve joint mobility without putting excess pressure on joints. Also, follow a diet that includes more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Limit intake of high calorie and processed foods, sugar, salt, alcohol, etc. Smokers should also try to reduce or quit smoking.

What vitamins are good for joint pain?

Regular intake of certain vitamins is associated with positive results for joint health. People with joint problems should consider consuming more of these vitamins to improve their joint health and get relief from joint pain.

  • Vitamin A - Supports bone health
  • Vitamin B-12 - Reduces homocysteine (an amino acid found in the body) that is associated with the risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Vitamin B-1 - Supports muscle health
  • Vitamin B-2 - Supports normal cell function, fights free radicals
  • Vitamin B-3 - Reduces inflammation
  • Vitamin B-6 - Fights inflammation
  • Vitamin C - Protects against free radical damage, supports tissue health and wound recovery
  • Vitamin D - Supports the absorption of calcium, fights inflammation
  • Vitamin E - Supports the immune system, fights against free radicals
  • Vitamin K - Reduces the risk of bone loss
  • Zinc - Supports wound healing and tissue growth

What foods cause joint pain?

There are certain foods that are known to increase the likelihood of inflammation and pain in joints. Such foods are:

  • Fried and processed foods
  • Sugars and refined carbs
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Salt and preservatives
  • Corn oil

What to eat in Joint Pain?

Foods may play an important role in the control and management of arthritis or joint pain. Some of the food items which are preferred include:

  • Food items containing omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and almonds.
  • Vegetables especially leafy vegetables such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc.
  • Flavonoid-rich fruits such as pineapple, apple, and blueberries.
  • Use of olive oil for cooking.
  • Beans as well as lentils.
  • Herbs and spices like ginger and garlic.
  • Whole grain sources.

Which fruit is good for joint pain?

Fruits that are rich in antioxidants are preferred in case of arthritis or joint pain. These have some unique health benefits in terms of disease-fighting properties. Ascorbic acid, anthocyanins, and carotenoids are the best forms of antioxidants found in some fruits like berries.

These also facilitate the protection of the body from oxidative damage of free radicals which can cause inflammation. Some of the fruits that should be consumed in arthritis include:

  • Strawberries
  • Tart cherries
  • Avocado
  • Watermelon
  • Red raspberries
  • Grapes
Summary: Joint pain is an inflammatory condition of the bones of a joint. Hence, fruits having disease-fighting antioxidant properties are preferred to be consumed in such conditions. Ascorbic acid, carotenoids, and anthocyanins are the important antioxidants found in fruits.

How long does it take to recover?

Joint pain that is caused due to injury or infection can be treated in a matter of days, at most a few weeks, depending on the severity of the injury or infection. On the other hand, joint pain associated with arthritis comes and goes as is something that has to be managed throughout one’s life.

There is no permanent treatment for the same. Joint pain caused by strenuous physical activity also takes a few days to recover from. The effect of taking pain medications, however, is often immediate.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Most pain relief medications cost under Rs 100 for a single leaf of pills. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications also cost under Rs 100. Arthritis medications range in cost from Rs 50 to Rs 150, depending on the type of medication that is prescribed as well as the dosage that you are required to take.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment for joint pain caused by arthritis is not permanent. The pain will come and go throughout your life as arthritis causes stiffness in the joints as well as swelling and there is bound to be some pain that comes with the same. The results of the treatment for joint pain caused by infections and injuries, on the other hand, is permanent.

Home remedies to relieve joint pain:

There are many home remedies that one can resort to in order to treat joint pain

  • Using hot and cold compresses is a common way to deal with most muscular and bone pain and can work for joint pain as well.
  • Essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties during a massage, or adding them to a diffuser can also help with joint pain.
  • You can use oils such as clove essential oil, rosemary essential oil, peppermint essential oil, clary sage essential oil, and lavender essential oil.
  • Furthermore, using herbal supplements can also help you manage joint pain.
  • You can use gingko, stinging nettle, devil’s claw, or thunder god vine, as required.
  • Scheduling regular massages can also help you a lot.

Of course, it is always advised to consult with your doctor before using any home remedies to prevent any adverse effects from occurring. You can consult with a herbalist for the same reasons as well.


Does drinking water help joint pain?

Drinking water has a number of health benefits. Supporting joint pain relief is one of them. It cannot cure the problem directly but helps to maintain a healthy joint.

Important ways in which drinking water helps in joint pain, include the following:

  • Maintaining articular cartilage functioning: Articular cartilage present in the joints works as friction and wear-resistant tissue. The major constituent of the cartilage is water, comprising 60% of the tissue. Hence, drinking helps to maintain its qualities, essential for proper functioning.
  • Stimulating the production of synovial fluid: Production of synovial fluid is enhanced by water intake. It helps in the lubrication of the articular cartilage.
  • Reducing inflammation: Drinking water helps to reduce inflammation around the joints.
  • Stimulating cell growth: New cell formation in the cartilage, followed by their growth is encouraged by water intake.
  • Detoxification: Drinking water is essential for flushing out toxins from the body. This relieves inflammation in arthritis.
Summary: Water, is important to sustaining life, is also needed to maintain a healthy joint. It helps to retain the synovial fluid and the water content of cartilages so as to facilitate their proper functioning.

Physical Exercises for the people suffering from Joint Pain:

Physical activities and exercises always play an important role in controlling the symptoms of arthritis or joint pain. However, it is preferred to do mild to moderate forms of exercises in such conditions as severe and rigorous exercises may affect the condition adversely. Some of the exercises that are commonly preferred for relief in joint pain include the following:

  • Aerobics, especially are of low impact. These include walking, swimming, and cycling.
  • Gentle Yoga asanas and poses.
  • The mild form of Tai-chi.
  • Regular physical activity such as brisk walking in the garden or lawn and household works.

Aerobics exercises, especially moderate-intensity are the most preferred safe and effective form of exercise.

Summary: Joint pain has become one of the most commonly faced health problems nowadays which starts as a result of decreased flexibility and stiffness in joints. Aging is the contributing factor while health conditions like osteoarthritis, gout, hypothyroidism, bursitis, fibromyalgia, etc. are the predisposing factors. The condition can be painful and debilitating, hence needs proper medical attention and care under the supervision of an orthopaedician.


Popular Questions & Answers

View All

Please I have this pain in my left leg and a lo...


Dr. Vaibhav Mohan Shingade

Orthopedic Doctor

Avoid strain to back, avoid lifting any weights, avoid bending forward, hot fomentation to back (...

I am patient of hypothyroid. My tried level was...


Dr. Atanu Chatterjee

Orthopedic Doctor

It may be. So for every hypothyroid patient it's advices to repeat tsh value every 3 to 4 months....

I have take bp & diabetic medicine. 10 day befo...


Dr. Ajay Kamat

Orthopedic Doctor

You need to consult a medicine doctor if you're experiencing symptoms such as facial and limb wea...

Don't smoke no alcohol no ongoing medication ca...


Dr. Jaspreet Singh Khandpur


If all chest reports are normal all blood reports are normal back and ribs cracking sensation rel...

My son is 3 and a half years old diagnosed with...


Dr. Amit Kumar Poddar


this recurrence is not due to corticosteroid. total duration should.be1 to*y 11/2yearst

Table of content

Content Details
Profile Image
Written ByDr. E. Logesh MSPT (Master of Physical Therapy),BPTh/BPTPhysiotherapy
Need more help 

15+ Years of Surgical Experience

All Insurances Accepted

EMI Facility Available at 0% Rate

Find Orthopedic Doctor near me


Ask a free question

Get FREE multiple opinions from Doctors

posted anonymously

Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice