What Is Joint Pain?


Joints connect bones and allow the body to move. When working properly, they also help support bones and provide cushion between the bones. There are various joints in the body, but the main joints include the hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists and ankles.


Joint pain is common and can be constant or intermittent. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Discomfort
  • Aching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warm feeling
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased mobility
  • Soreness
  • Burning or throbbing pain

Common causes of joint pain

Joint pain is a common physical ailment. It is either acute or chronic and ranges from mild to severe. Joint pain can present due to various reasons. Common causes of joint pain include the following:

When to seek treatment

Although joint pain rarely requires a visit to the emergency room, a proper diagnosis is needed. If a joint causes intense pain, suddenly swells, becomes immobile, or appears to be physically deformed, a health care provider should be seen immediately.


There are various medications and therapies that can help ease joint pain. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Acetaminophen
  • NSAIDs
  • Prescription medications, such as muscle relaxers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsant drugs
  • Topical medication, including prescription analgesics or over-the-counter capsaicin creams
  • Injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Applying ice
  • Rest and elevation of the affected area
  • Bracing
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