Joint pain caused by inflammatory joint diseases

What is inflammatory joint pain?

Inflammatory joint pain is pain that is caused by swelling and inflammation in the joint. Typical symptoms include warmth and sometimes redness of the overlying skin, pain and swelling of the joint with associated morning stiffness typically lasting more than 30 minutes. Inflammatory joint pain is often caused by diseases which cause swelling, increased joint fluid as well as damage to the cartilage and bone of the joints. Inflammation of the joints may be caused by synovitis, bone erosions, a swollen joint capsule, joint dislocations, ligament damage and joint fusion or auto-immune diseases that cause inflammation.

Joint swelling and inflammation may be caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), septic arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, the connective tissue diseases especially SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), Sjogren's syndrome, and Mixed Connective Tissue Diseases (MCTD) amongst others. These auto-immune diseases are caused by a defected immune system which leads it to mistake normal tissue for invading organisms.

Joint pain caused by inflammation of the joint may involve the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the joint (whether in motion or not)
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Limitation of motion
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

These symptoms are debilitating for those who suffer from them, causing a loss of motion, mobility and sub-sequentially, quality of life. As a Physician with special interest in Rheumatology, Dr Griesel strives to manage and treat inflammatory joint diseases as best possible with the priority being pain relief, but also to enhance mobility and motion.

How can joint pain be managed or treated?

While surgery is reserved for severe cases, non-operative treatments for joint pain includes intra-articular injections, bracing of the joint, physical therapy and systemic drugs such as analgesia medications. Depending on the cause of inflammatory pain, Dr Griesel may advise that all non-surgical methods are attempted first before rushing to surgery.

One treatment which Dr Griesel has found to have profound pain-relieving effects in his patients is intra-articular injections. When other methods have failed, intra-articular injections of corticosteroid have shown drastic improvements in those with inflammatory and arthritis joint pain. When injected into the joint, corticosteroids work by decreasing local inflammation by preventing the body from producing inflammatory cells. This injection is most commonly used to treat and manage inflammatory pain caused by osteoarthritis, acute gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. In other cases, Dr Griesel may choose intra-articular injections of local anaesthetic to ease pain instead.