A joint is a place in the body where two bones connect, usually by fibrous tissue and cartilage. Joints enable movement and function. There are over 300 joints in the human body, ranging from those that barely move (such as in the sutures of the skull) to those that we move in multiple directions to perform daily activities (such as shoulder joints, ankle joints, hip joints, wrists, and spinal facet joints).
Joint pain is discomfort or inflammation experienced in any part of a joint: cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons or muscles. Joint pain is most often associated with inflammation and the pain can range in intensity from irritating to debilitating.
Joint pain arises for a number of reasons. The most common include:
If the source of joint pain is unidentifiable, the pain is extreme or does not improve quickly, it’s important to have it evaluated by a medical professional.
Specific treatment depends on the cause and nature of the pain. In some cases, supplements or medication are able to provide sufficient relief from the pain. In other cases, occupational or physical therapy can help patients reduce their symptoms. In severe cases, joint replacement surgery is necessary. Surgery is the most invasive option, so it’s usually reserved as a final option.
Since joint pain is a medical issue, appointments for diagnosing and treating joint pain are often covered by health insurance. Patients should ask their insurance provider about their particular coverage before going to an appointment because coverages vary from policy to policy.
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