Health Matter By Dr Lekan Aregbesola, Email lifeanchorhospital@live.com ; Phone,08033864320

Our joints are the bony moving parts of our body. It is almost impossible to talk about joint pains without mentioning bones. Joints are made up of bones, cartilage, inner joint linings and fluids called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is a thickened fluid made up of water, proteins, vitamins and nutrients which serve to nourish the joints while also acting as lubrication and a form of a shock absorber for the joints and articulating bones.

Joints or bone can be fixed or fused together, semi-mobile (hinged joints) that moves in a single direction or fully mobile joints that are capable of being moved in multiple directions.

Joints occur everywhere there are bones, from small inner areas like within our ears to the foot. All joints were once mobile in one way or the other but come together eventually to form a more rigid structure as we get older. Our skull is one of the first bones to become fused together within a few months of being born. However, most joints will become rigid or more solid as life progresses after birth.

How Do Joint Pains Present?

Joints or bones pains are very common complaints in the general population. Most people at one point or the other must have suffered from some form of joint or bone pain. Some of these are acute, meaning that they occur very suddenly and are often very painful.  Acute pains could be due to traumatic injury (such as occurs in accidents) as well as illnesses such as malaria, sickle cell disorders and infections. Chronic joint pains can range in severity from minimal or mild to markedly severe, have lasted two weeks or more. Acute-on-chronic pains could also occur as an acute exacerbation or flare-up with joints pains that have lasted more than two weeks suddenly flare up and become almost completely unbearable for the sufferer.

What is the causes of joint paints?

The commonest cause of joint pains is injuries, from small to major injuries.

There are many cases of minor accidents in the home, a large blow or knock to the leg or arm, tripping, uncomfortable falls, children falling in the playground, being hit by a car, being involved in road traffic accidents.

Nutritional deficiency like a relative lack of calcium in diet, Vitamin D

Vitamin C and protein deficiencies can also contribute to joint and bone pains. The natural degenerative process can also be a factor.

In Africans and individuals of African descent, there is also genetic predisposition as occurs in Sickle Cell Disease and in some individuals who carry the traits. Other genetic issues that can affect bones, joints and connective tissue are some less common autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid Disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Discoid Lupus Erythematosis (DLE). They are often common in black women in their forties and fifties. Bone cancers and cancers that have metastasized or spread beyond their primary location to affect the bones are also another possible cause of joint and bone pain.

Common pains that occur due to the wear and tear of daily life include knee; waist and neck pains. Other common areas include the shoulder, hips, the vertebral columns as well as pains in the hands and feet. Pains in these areas are often work-related joint and are often related to overburdening or strain without sufficient rest and recovery. Individuals who are overweight and obese often suffer from a lot of pain due in part to the fact that joints, structures are placed under a lot of pressure from supporting this excess weight.

The pressure on joints can cause significant strain, reduce spaces in weight-bearing joints, increase friction with resulting sometimes irreversible damage to the joints. Furthermore, the lack of exercise can be a contributory factor. Finally, joint pains develop as part of the degenerative processes the commonest of which is old age and old age mimicking process, affecting all joints, but most commonly the Spines and lower limb affecting mobility.

Joint and bone pains are a very common complaint in populations today. It can occur as a reflection of your routine or as a symptom of an accompanying condition As with all complaints, it is always advisable to seek the help of your doctor to help categories your pain, conduct the appropriate clinical investigations, diagnose and implement appropriate treatments and interventions.

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