Arthralgia or Joint Pain Stiffness

Arms | Rheumatology | Arthralgia or Joint Pain Stiffness (Symptom)


Arthralgia or joint pain is characterized by a discomfort or tenderness in a joint. Joints are the areas where two or more bones meet, such as the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow and ankle, which allows bones to move. They are made up of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the joint called bursas, and the synovial. Any of the structures in a joint can become irritated or inflamed in response to a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders or conditions. Joint pain can appear even without movement and can be serious enough to limit movement.

Joint pain is described as a discomfort, inflammation, increased warmth or burning, soreness, stiffness, or pain. It can last briefly or it may be chronic, when last more than three months.


Joint pain has many causes. Sudden joint pain can be due to a mild muscle or ligament sprain, bursitis, or a dislocation. Chronic joint pain can be a symptom of serious and even life-threatening conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, leukemia, or bone cancer.

Joint pain vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. It can also occur with other symptoms related to the joint, including: inability to put weight on the affected joint, reduced mobility, stiffness, swelling, redness, fever or visible deformity of the affected joint

Diagnosis and Treatment

Physical exams helps determine if the pain comes from the joint itself or is referred from nerve root impingement in the spine, nerve entrapment in the limb, or other pathology in the same extremity. Laboratory tests include erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate), rheumatoid factor (RF), a complete blood count with hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell (RBC), and white blood cell (WBC) counts, uric acid levels, and antinuclear antibodies.

The treatments may include joint replacement surgery, for severely damaged joints, immunosuppressants for immune system dysfunction, antibiotics when an infection is the cause, and discontinuing medication when an allergic reaction is the cause. Conservative chiropractic care has also shown to be beneficial in the relief of symptoms.