Acute pain in multiple joints is usually due to inflammation, gout, or the onset or exacerbation of a chronic joint disorder. Chronic pain in multiple joints is often due to osteoarthritis or an inflammatory disorder (such as rheumatoid arthritis) or, in children, juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The joints may simply hurt (arthralgia) or be inflamed (arthritis). Joint inflammation is often accompanied by heat, swelling (due to intra-articular fluid or effusion) and, rarely, erythema.
Pain can occur only with use or also at rest. Sometimes, what patients describe as joint pain can have an extraarticular origin (e.g., a periarticular or bony structure). In partnership with the University of Nottingham and local NHS trusts, Versus Arthritis supports the world's first national pain research center. It's important to diagnose the cause of the pain quickly and begin treatment to relieve pain and keep joints healthy and functional.
This disease occurs when the immune system works improperly and attacks the body's joint linings. Tenderness or swelling on only one side of the joint, or far from the joint line, suggests an extraarticular origin (e.g., tendons or bags); localized tenderness in the joint line or a more diffuse joint involvement suggest an intraarticular cause. This disorder causes extreme fatigue and pain throughout the body, including in multiple joints, soft tissues and muscles. Other times, pain can indicate problems that can only be corrected with prescription drugs or surgery.
It's important to talk to your doctor about how to achieve the best balance between pain relief and any unpleasant effects. The joint exam begins with an inspection for deformities, erythema, swelling, or effusion and then goes on palpation for joint effusion, heat, and punctual tenderness. Physical activity often aggravates symptoms, so if you feel more pain after getting out of bed and moving around, that's usually a sign of osteoarthritis. Pain signals that travel through the central nervous system then increase to extremely high levels.
Multiple joint pain is diagnosed with a physical exam of the joints and a history of symptoms. Fat is rich in stem cells and, when injected into a sore joint, can help regenerate damaged tissue. However, it does increase the sensitivity of the nerve endings, which means that you may feel pain when you exert a little pressure or light blows. Your doctor may recommend an acupuncture course given by a trained NHS health professional, such as a physical therapist, to relieve pain.
Prior medical history and family history should identify known systemic inflammatory disorders and other conditions that may cause joint symptoms (see tables Some causes of pain in ≥ 5 joints, some causes of pain in ≥ 5 joints, some causes of pain in ≥ 5 joints* and some causes of pain in ≤ 4 joints Some causes of pain in ≤ 4 joints).