Top 10 Causes of Joint Pain

Joint pain affects millions of people across the world. The pain ranges from mild to debilitating. for many people, their pain stops them from doing the things they love. Older adults are more likely to suffer from joint pain. In the United States alone, more than half of adults over the age of 65 experience some level of joint pain. If you or a loved one are experiencing joint pain, you may be wondering what are the causes of joint pain and whether there is a joint pain natural remedy that may help.

10 Most Common Causes of Joint Pain

top 10 causes of joint pain woman sitting on the couch in pain holding her knee

Joint pain can be caused so many things, but some conditions are more likely to cause this type of pain than others.

The top 10 leading causes of joint pain include:

1. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of chronic arthritis that affects joints on both sides of the body. This painful condition affects more than just the joints. It can also affect the eyes, skin, heart, lungs, nerves, blood, and kidneys.

What separates this form of arthritis from others is the fact that it’s an autoimmune condition. This means that the body’s immune system is overreacting and causing potentially debilitating symptoms.

The most common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Joint swelling and pain
  • Fatigue
  • Stiffness

More than 1.3 million people in the U.S. have rheumatoid arthritis, so it’s a common cause of joint pain. 

2. Bursitis

A condition caused by overuse, bursitis typically affects the knees, hips, shoulders, and elbows. It occurs when the fluid-filled sacs of the joints, called bursa, become painfully swollen. The job of these sacs is to provide cushioning and prevent rubbing, friction, and inflammation.

Several factors can increase your risk of bursitis, including:

  • Your job. If you work a job that requires repetitive use of your shoulders and other joints, you may be at greater risk of getting bursitis.
  • Age. Older adults are more likely to develop this condition.
  • Certain medical conditions, including thyroid disease, arthritis, gout, and diabetes.

3. Osteoarthritis

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is sometimes called degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is more common in older adults, and the condition develops slowly over time. 

Joint inflammation and injury can cause pain, swelling, and the degeneration of cartilage.

There are two types of osteoarthritis:

  • Primary: The most common type. Primary arthritis affects the fingers, hips, knees, spine, and toes.
  • Secondary: Occurs when there’s a pre-existing joint issue, like gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

Nearly 80% of adults over the age of 55 have osteoarthritis, and among them, more than half will experience symptoms. It’s one of the most common causes of joint pain, and it’s more likely to affect postmenopausal women. 

4. Injury or Trauma

When an injury affects the joints, like a sprain or a broken bone, it can cause pain and swelling.  Sports-related injuries, car accidents, lifting heavy objects and improper bending can also cause joint pain.

Trauma to your bones, cartilage, or ligaments can all affect your joints and cause serious discomfort.

5. Gout

top 10 causes of joint pain person sitting on blue couch wearing blue holding toes in pain from gout

A condition that commonly affects the feet, gout develops when there’s too much uric acid in your blood. A variety of things can cause a buildup of uric acid, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Metabolism disorders
  • Thyroid issues
  • Kidney disease 

Gout can cause painful swelling in the joints, usually the big toe. Some people also experience gout attacks, which can make it feel like your foot is on fire.

Without treatment, gout can become a chronic condition. Eventually, your joints can develop hard lumps that cause permanent joint damage.

Certain factors can increase your risk of developing gout, including:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Age (middle-aged and postmenopausal women are at greater risk)
  • A family history of gout
  • Certain medications, like diuretics
  • Certain medication conditions, like kidney disease and high blood pressure
  • Obesity

Gout affects nearly 4 million people in the United States, making it a very common cause of joint pain.

6. Tendinitis

Tendinitis occurs when the tendons, or the connective tissue between your bones and muscles, become inflamed. It’s a painful condition that can impact the joints and is often the result of repetitive activities. 

While anyone can develop this condition, certain activities can increase your risk of developing tendinitis, including:

  • Painting
  • Gardening
  • Woodworking
  • Sports
  • Scrubbing
  • Shoveling

Other potential risk factors can include:

  • Age. Adults over the age of 40 are more likely to develop tendinitis.
  • Poor posture.
  • Diseases, like gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney disease.
  • Medications, like statins or certain antibiotics.

Recovery from this condition can take several weeks.

7. Fibromyalgia

Another common cause of joint pain is fibromyalgia, which is a chronic condition that can also cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Tenderness
  • Cognitive issues
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Muscle and bone pain

Fibromyalgia is a complicated condition that even doctors don’t fully understand. Because their symptoms are similar to other conditions, it’s a condition that can be difficult to diagnose.

With fibromyalgia, the pain can feel like a constant, dull aching sensation. 

The theory is that this condition causes the nerves and brain to overreact or misinterpret pain signals because of chemical imbalances or brain abnormalities. 

Fibromyalgia is a very real and common cause of joint pain, and unfortunately, it’s also one that’s difficult to treat with conventional methods.

8. Certain Infections

Some types of infections, usually viral infections, can cause joint pain, including:

  • Flu
  • Mumps
  • Hepatitis

Viral infections can make it painful to move your joints. And unlike bacterial infections, viral infections can’t be treated with antibiotics. 

9. Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that can cause inflammation in the body. The condition may be localized, or it can be systemic. 

Although most cases of lupus are mild, the condition can progress and become more serious if it’s not treated properly. Many people experience joint pain because of the inflammation caused by lupus.

The inflammation can also affect your:

  • Lungs
  • Hart
  • Blood
  • Kidneys
  • Brain
  • Skin 

You may also experience aches, rashes, fatigue, headaches, skin lesions, and other symptoms.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for lupus. Treatment is focused on reducing inflammation and symptoms.

10. Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that can develop with psoriasis, which is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin. Psoriasis can cause scaly and red patches of skin, but psoriatic arthritis can cause symptoms similar to regular arthritis. It can cause joint:

  • Stiffness 
  • Pain
  • Swelling

This condition affects about 30% of people with psoriasis, and it usually appears around a decade after psoriasis develops.

There’s no cure for psoriatic arthritis. Treatment is focused on easing symptoms and stopping the disease’s progression.

Joint Pain Natural Remedy Options

Pain Warrior+ Cream On wood table next to towels and lavender plant

Joint pain can be miserable. When conventional treatments just aren’t helping or if you’re worried about dependence on pain medication, there are natural remedies that you can try.

CBD (Cannabidiol)

CBD, or cannabidiol, found in cannabis plants may help ease joint pain and ease inflammation without the side effects associated with conventional arthritis medication.

One study in rats found that topical CBD helped reduce joint swelling and markers for pain. Another review concluded that CBD may be an effective treatment option for osteoarthritis. 

CBD can be found in topical form as well as tinctures and edibles. For joint pain, topical creams are a great option because they provide localized relief.


Another natural option for joint pain is DMSO or dimethylsulfoxide. One double-blind study found that gels with a 25% DMSO concentration can help alleviate osteoarthritis pain.

When applied topically, DMSO can help alleviate inflammation and pain in the joints.

Exercise and a healthy diet can further help alleviate symptoms of joint pain. For many people, joint pain has simply become a part of life. But these natural remedies may help bring some relief or complement a conventional treatment plan.

Diet and Exercise are great but often it can take a while before you see results.  When you're experiencing joint pain, you need relief now, not in a few days or weeks.

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