Understanding the Causes of Joint Pain and What it Tells Us About Our Activity Levels
by Meghan Griech, PT, DPT, cert MDT, CKTP
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Joint pain is a common complaint among people of all ages. It can range from a mild ache to a sharp, debilitating pain that affects daily activities. Joint pain can occur in any part of the body where two bones meet, including the hips, knees, shoulders, and fingers. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what joint pain is, why we get it, and what it can tell us about our activity levels.
What is Joint Pain?
Joint pain is a discomfort or pain that occurs at or around a joint. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, overuse, or inflammation. The pain can be acute, meaning it occurs suddenly and is usually severe, or it can be chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time. Some common symptoms of joint pain include stiffness, swelling, redness, and a decreased range of motion.
Why Do We Get Joint Pain?
There are many reasons why we might experience joint pain. Some common causes include:
- Injury: Joint pain can result from a traumatic injury, such as a fall or a sports-related injury.
- Overuse: Joint pain can also be caused by overuse, such as repetitive motions or prolonged periods of standing or sitting.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a common cause of joint pain, which is caused by the inflammation of one or more joints in the body.
- Infection: In rare cases, joint pain can result from an infection that affects the joint, such as septic arthritis.
What Does Joint Pain Tell Us About Our Activity Levels?
Joint pain can be a sign that we are not as active as we should be. Lack of physical activity can lead to muscle weakness, which can put extra strain on the joints. Over time, this can lead to joint pain and stiffness. On the other hand, too much physical activity, particularly high-impact activities like running or jumping, can also put extra strain on the joints, leading to pain and inflammation.
In general, a healthy level of physical activity can help keep the joints healthy and reduce the risk of joint pain. Regular exercise can strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints, improve flexibility, and reduce inflammation. However, it’s important to find a balance between activity and rest. Taking regular breaks and allowing time for rest and recovery can help prevent joint pain caused by overuse.
Joint pain can be a common complaint, but it’s important to understand the underlying causes and what it can tell us about our activity levels. Whether caused by injury, overuse, or inflammation, joint pain can be a sign that we need to adjust our activity levels to maintain joint health. If you’re experiencing joint pain, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist to determine the best course of action.
*Disclaimer: All information in this article is intended for instruction and informational purposes. The author(s) are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result. This information is used to supplement not replace any advice you were provided from your doctor or another medical health professional. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied with this article.