Column: Common causes of joint pain

Seniors' fitness expert offers advice on how to deal with body soreness.

A week rarely goes by without one of my older adult fitness class participants telling me they experience pain or soreness in their knees, shoulders, hips or back.

When they ask me why they have  joint pain, I remind them I am not a doctor and it’s not within my scope as a fitness instructor to given them a diagnosis.

I always recommend making an appointment to speak with their doctor and address their concerns because what I have come to understand is there are many reasons why your joints may ache and hurt.

One example is osteoarthritis, which is inflammation of the joints (the points where bones meet) in one or more areas of the body. It is caused by a reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue due to normal wear and tear throughout life.

This natural breakdown of cartilage tissue can be exacerbated by an infection or injury to the joints.

Then there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, all of which have different causes and treatment methods. The symptoms of arthritis usually appear gradually but they may also occur suddenly.

While arthritis is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, it can also develop in children and teens.  Arthritis is more common in women than men and in those that are overweight.

Diagnosis of arthritis will start with your physician performing a physical exam, during which he or she will check for limited range of motion in the joint, the feeling of fluid around joints, or warm or red joints.

Extraction and analysis of your bodily fluids like blood and joint fluid can help your doctor determine what kind of arthritis you have by checking for inflammation levels. Imaging scans such as x-ray, MRI and CT scans are commonly used to produce an image of your bones and cartilage so your doctor can better determine whether something like a bone spur is the cause of your symptoms.

Another common form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body.

These attacks affect the synovia, which secretes a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can eventually lead to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint.

Fibromyalgia  is a chronic disorder marked by widespread, unexplained pain in the muscles and joints. It’s not a disease, it’s a syndrome caused by a collection of symptoms that occur together.

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa fluid-filled sacs found in your joints. They surround the areas where tendons, skin, and muscle tissues meet bones inflamed bursa cause pain and discomfort and also limit the ways you can move your joints.

Additional causes of joint pain can be due to excessive activity, strains and sprains, past injuries, chronic fatigue syndrome, bone infection, Dermatomyositis, gout, bone fractures, tendinitis or lupus.

Be sure to make an appointment with your doctor if your joint pain is accompanied by swelling, redness, tenderness or warmth around the joint.

Bobbi Moger is a seniors’ fitness specialist in Kelowna.