Did you know that joint pain could be a warning sign of a more serious health problem? Most people immediately think that joint pain is caused by age, overuse, injury, and arthritis. But what if the joint pain isn’t normal? What if there are other weird symptoms that can’t be explained? Today, we’re going to explore the top 9 reasons for joint pain that may not be what you think – ranging from the more common to the rare.
Make sure you watch till the end, because some of these conditions will come as a real surprise! Also, we’ll reveal 7 things you can do right now to keep your joints healthy as you age.
So if you’re ready, let’s get into it. As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice, we are not doctors.
Number 9. It could be due to high blood sugar levels.
The ends of your bones are padded with cartilage, it’s what allows your bones to move on each other without being damaged. However, repeated exposure to high blood sugar levels can have a direct impact on cartilage and bone health. That’s because elevated blood sugar levels greatly increase the production of molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These harmful compounds form in your bloodstream when protein or fat combine with sugar.
Fortunately, your body has different mechanisms to get rid of these harmful compounds, including those involving antioxidant and enzymatic activity. However, if you have high blood sugar, your body ends up producing AGEs faster than it can get rid of, which can build up in the body. This accumulation of AGEs can cause inflammation and damage many tissues, including bone and cartilage. The more unmanaged or severe your blood sugar levels are, the more severe the cartilage degeneration.
Number 8. It could be bursitis.
Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, a small, fluid-filled sac that works as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. While bursae can be found in many parts of your body, bursitis occurs most often in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. When a bursa gets inflamed from a traumatic or overuse injury, the swelling can irritate surrounding nerves, causing pain and numbness around your muscles, bones, and joints.
Number 7. It could be due to an underactive thyroid.
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland that’s found in the front of your neck. It plays a vital role in producing the T3 and T4 hormones that are involved in your metabolism, heart and digestive functions, body temperature regulation, muscle control, brain development and function, and the reproduction and growth of bone and cartilage throughout life. An underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism can cause excessive protein deposits in tissue. The joints thicken and fluid collects in knee, ankle, foot, and hand joints causing pain and stiffness.
Number 6. It could be rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that affects more than 1.5 million Americans and about 75% of patients are women. While the disease most often begins between the ages of 30 and 50, it can in reality start at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints (called the synovium), causing inflammation, tenderness, pain and swelling. This disease commonly affects the hands, knees or ankles, and usually the same joint on both sides of the body. But sometimes, RA causes problems in other parts of the body as well, such as the eyes, heart and circulatory system and lungs.
Number 5. It could be infectious arthritis.
The condition occurs when an infection from another part of your body spreads to a joint or the fluid surrounding the joint. This can happen when infection-causing germs enter the body during surgery, or through open wounds or an injection. Most cases of infectious arthritis are caused by a common bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus. But it can also be caused by a virus or a fungus. Symptoms of septic arthritis usually come on rapidly and include intense swelling, pain, fever and chills. Infectious arthritis typically affects the knee, but hips, ankles and wrists are also likely targets. Left untreated, this condition can turn into full-body sepsis, which can be fatal.
Number 4. It could be gout.
Protein is an incredibly important nutrient. It ensures the proper functioning of everything in your body from your immune system to your musculoskeletal system. But eating too much protein can be bad for you. When your body breaks down protein during digestion, it inevitably produces uric acid as a byproduct. Excess uric acid that your kidneys can’t flush out can turn into crystals and accumulate in your joint. Eventually, this can lead to gout, one of the most painful forms of arthritis. Symptoms of gout like heat, swelling, redness, and hard-to-ignore pain commonly appear first in your big toe, before spreading to other joints in your body.
Number 3. It could be lyme disease.
Every year, thousands of people get bitten by a tick carrying a bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Early symptoms of this condition include fatigue, fever, headache, and in many cases, a bullseye-shaped rash. Although very few know about this, Lyme disease can also spread to your joints, especially your knees, if not treated properly. Lyme disease has also been found to cause neck stiffness and sore hands and feet in some individuals.
Number 2. It could be a symptom of lupus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, which can aggressively attack all your joints if left untreated. People with this disorder have an overactive immune system that mistakenly targets your own body’s tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because so many of its symptoms resemble those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus is a facial rash that looks like the wings of a butterfly across your cheeks. Along with swollen, painful joints, other common signs and symptoms to look out for include hair loss, shortness of breath, memory loss, headaches, dry eyes and fatigue.
Number 1. It could be Gonorrhea.
Although rare, gonococcal arthritis is a complication that arises from the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea. This condition generally causes painful inflammation in one or multiple joints, along with other STD symptoms.
There you have it! The top 9 reasons for joint pain.
Here are a few tips to keep your joints healthy as you age:
Manage your weight.
Excess weight puts unwanted pressure on your weight-bearing joints like hips and knees.
Control your blood sugar.
Elevated blood sugar levels can stiffen the surrounding tissue that supports your joints and make them more prone to injury.
Just 30 minutes of low-impact exercises like walking, cycling or swimming can help your joints stay limber and strengthen the muscles that support your knees and hips.
Gently stretching your body can improve your range of motion and keep your joints healthy.
An injured joint is more likely to develop arthritis in old age than one that was never injured.
Smoking accelerates aging and damages the tissues that protect your joints.
Get enough Omega-3s.
Eating salmon is a one great way to get enough omega-3s, which can help reduce inflammation. To learn more about inflammation, please see our video “Top 13 Foods that Cause Inflammation” and their anti-inflammatory replacements.
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And now over to you! If you have painful joints, what are you doing to manage your pain?
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