Pain Management

September 9, 2016

Achy, Sore, Stiff, Inflamed: How to Explain and Treat Your Joint Pain


Determining the cause of your joint pain is the first step in finding an effective treatment.

Your joints make it possible for you to walk, bend, sit, and perform a wide range of other motions. When you have regular joint pain or stiffness, performing even these most basic movements can be an ordeal. Stiffness and persistent pain can be symptoms of certain conditions that arise from joint inflammation or deterioration. The following are some of the conditions that could be causing your sore joints. Using descriptive language about your joint pain when talking to your doctor can help them diagnose you more accurately. Are your joints sore, stiff, and aching? Let your doctor know.

Joint Inflammation and Stiffness = Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is among the most common causes of joint inflammation. This condition develops as the cartilage that protects your joints starts wearing down, which usually happens due to the aging process. Your joints also have less of the fluid that normally lubricates your joints, leading to stiffness. Pain from osteoarthritis might feel as though it is deep within your joints. It might also become worse as the day goes on. Osteoarthritis can also cause pain and stiffness that flares up when you stand or walk up and down stairs.

Treatment options for osteoarthritis include over-the-counter pain relievers for temporary relief as well as therapy and surgery depending on the severity of your condition. Physical therapy improves muscle strength and range of motion, while occupational therapy helps you learn how to do your regular activities comfortably. Surgery is sometimes needed for severe cases of osteoarthritis that do not respond to medications or therapy. Procedures such as an arthroscopy or joint replacement can help ease your joint inflammation and relieve joint pain and stiffness.

Joint Stiffness and Achy Joints = Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks your joints and also causes inflammation. Symptoms of this condition include muscle aches, joint pain that affects both sides of your body, stiffness when you wake up, and joint pain that becomes more severe when you sit for long periods of time.

Joint pain treatment for rheumatoid arthritis includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications that relieve pain and inflammation. If your rheumatoid arthritis worsens, you may need physical and occupational therapy or surgery for joints with severe damage. If your arthritis continues to show no signs of improvement, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure such as a total hip replacement to remove damaged joint linings, or joint fusion to stabilize the affected joint.

Sudden Sore Joints = Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis that develops when uric acid crystals build up in your joints. This condition usually causes sudden pain in the affected joint that is often severe. Gout pain can last for days or up to a couple of weeks and can return if you do not seek treatment. Other symptoms of gout include swelling and feelings of heat or warmth in the affected joint. While gout commonly occurs in the big toe, it can also develop in other joints.

Treatment options for gout include corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and other medications that reduce joint inflammation. When gout is left untreated, nodules known as tophi can form and cause ongoing pain and infections. Surgery to remove these growths might be recommended if they cannot be treated with medications.

Have you have been experiencing joint stiffness, soreness, or inflammation? Contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital for joint pain treatment at (877) 918-7020. Schedule an appointment with one of our renowned orthopedic surgeons to learn more about your treatment options.

need help scheduling
an appointment with a surgeon?

more questions?


Main Line
Toll-Free Number
Visit the hospital
5201 Northshore Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72118