How is arthralgia treated?

Treatment for arthralgia begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. Treatment will vary depending on the joint that is affected, the severity of the pain, and the underlying cause. Treatment will address the underlying cause and will aim to alleviate or manage symptoms.

Minor arthralgia may be managed through a home care plan recommended by your heath care provider. Depending on the underlying cause, home care for arthralgia may include icing the joint or taking warm baths. Your health care provider may recommend that you limit activity or perform stretching exercises. If appropriate, over-the-counter medications may be used to reduce pain and swelling.

In some cases, physical therapy may be beneficial. Steroid injections are a common treatment for joint inflammation. If needed, fluid may be removed from the affected joint in a procedure called joint aspiration (arthrocentesis). Arthralgia due to a broken bone may require surgery or casting.

Arthralgia due to an infection in the joint may require surgery to clean out the infection, followed by antibiotics.

Complementary treatments

Some complementary treatments may help some people to better deal with arthralgia. These treatments, sometimes referred to as alternative therapies, are used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for traditional medical care. Be sure to notify your doctor if you are consuming nutritional supplements or homeopathic (nonprescription) remedies as they may interact with the prescribed medical therapy.

Complementary treatments may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Nutritional dietary supplements, herbal remedies, tea beverages, and similar products
  • Yoga

What are the potential complications of arthralgia?

Complications of untreated arthralgia can be serious. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of arthralgia include:

  • Amputation
  • Disability
  • Inability to perform daily tasks
  • Serious infections and gangrene
  • Severe discomfort or pain
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection
  • Visible deformity of the affected joint

References:

  1. Joint pain. MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003261.htm.
  2. Arthritis. PubMed Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002223/.
  3. Kahan S, Miller R, Smith EG (Eds.). In A Page Signs & Symptoms, 2d ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Williams, 2009.
  4. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.
INTRODUCTION

What is arthralgia?

Arthralgia is pain in one or more of your joints. The pain may be described as sharp, dull, stabbing, burning or throbbing, and may range in intensity from mild to severe. There are many causes of arthralgia, including injury, infection, arthritis, and other ailments. The most common cause is arthritis, which is inflammation of the joints. There are many different types of arthritis.... Read more about arthralgiaintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of arthralgia?

The primary symptom of arthralgia is joint pain. The pain may be described as sharp, dull, stabbing, burning or throbbing. It may range in intensity from mild to severe. The joint pain may appear suddenly or develop and worsen over time.

Common symptoms of arthralgia

You may experience arthralgia symptoms daily or just once in a while. Any of these arthralgia symptoms c... Read more about arthralgiasymptoms

CAUSES

What causes arthralgia?

There are many causes of arthralgia. Arthralgia with sudden joint pain may be caused by an injury, while arthralgia that develops and worsens over time may be due to an underlying disease or disorder. The most common cause of arthralgia is arthritis, which is inflammation of the joints.

Arthritic causes of arthralgia

Inflammation due to arthritis can cause joint pain. E... Read more about arthralgiacauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


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