Joint Pain (Arthralgia)

Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

December 08, 2018

March 06, 2020

Joint Pain
Joint Pain

What is Joint pain?

Pain in the joints is caused by a number of factors but the most common cause is injury or arthritis which if neglected or left untreated can cause disability.

What are its associated signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of joint pain include:

  • Redness or heat at the site of pain
  • Swollen joints
  • Tender joints
  • Pain at the different joints of the body making routine activity difficult such as walking, writing, etc.
  • Recurrent bouts of pain
  • Stiffness at the affected area and bruising
  • Bleeding into the joint spaces

What are its main causes?

Joint pain can be caused by many factors

  • The most common causes of joint pain include:
    • Damage to the cartilage at the back of the kneecap
    • Joint lining inflamed or bleeding into the joint space
    • Gout or pseudogout due to increased uric acid levels in the body
    • Viral infections
    • Connective tissue disorders which include scleroderma, lupus

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The physician will take a complete history of the symptoms to diagnose joint pain and conduct a physical examination to find out its cause. Following tests might be advised:

  • Blood tests which include complete blood count, antinuclear antibody, rheumatoid factor, anti–SS-A (anti-Ro) and anti–SS-B (anti-La) antibodies, anticardiolipin antibody, VDRL test, cytoplasmic antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (c-ANCA), creatinine and creatine kinase (CPK), calcium
  • Urinalysis to check levels of uric acid
  • Joint aspiration and synovial fluid analysis
  • Imaging includes X-rays of the affected area, magnetic resonance imaging
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Double-stranded DNA test
  • HLA-B27

 After detecting the cause of the joint pain it will be treated using the following procedures:

  • In cases of mild pain, medications advised include ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or topical application of painkiller creams containing capsaicin
  • Treating the cause of arthritis with appropriate medications
  • If an infection is the cause, treating it will help reduce pain
  • Some of the home care tricks include:
    • Heat application to reduce stiffness of muscles and joints, and application of cold to reduce swelling and alleviate pain along with some gentle exercise regularly
    • Some conditions require complete rest to the joints
    • Avoiding smoking


  1. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Joint pain
  2. American Academy of Family Physicians. Diagnostic Approach to Polyarticular Joint Pain. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Sep 15;68(6):1151-1160.
  3. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Joint pain
  4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Joint Pain and Arthritis
  5. Bruce L Kidd et al. Arthritis and pain. Current approaches in the treatment of arthritic pain. Arthritis Res Ther. 2007; 9(3): 214. PMID: 17572915

Medicines for Joint Pain (Arthralgia)

Medicines listed below are available for Joint Pain (Arthralgia). Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.