Surprising causes of joint pain

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Your achy shoulder, stiff back or sore hip may not mean what you think it does. While the common culprits behind joint pain are typically caused by aging or arthritis, tendonitis or bursitis, some of the possible causes behind your joint pain might surprise you.

Shoulder

That old baseball injury might not be the source of the ache you feel. Shoulder pain can be a symptom of developing heart disease or even heart attack. It can also signal that your gallbladder is on the fritz.

Shoulder pain can also be caused by a hiatal hernia. In general, if you move your shoulder and the pain gets worse, it’s probably a joint issue. If the pain persists, make an appointment to talk about it with your doctor.

Back

With so many moving parts, it’s no wonder our backs get sore from time to time. But our vertebrae, disks, muscles and tendons aren’t always the culprits. Kidney stones, pregnancy and childbirth can put a lot of strain on your back, especially the tailbone. The sacroiliac (SI) joint can also create issues between the lower spine and pelvic bones.

Even your race is a factor that affects patients with back pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, black women are two to three times more likely than white women to have part of the lower spine slip out of place.

Hip and Knee

Hobbling around is no fun. But there’s no reason to think that hip or knee pain is just another sign of aging. There are several other reasons your hips or knees could be hurting, for example, a hernia, endometriosis and sciatica. An underactive thyroid, infection, lupus, Crohn’s disease, Lyme disease, gout and even a reaction to certain antibiotics can cause your joints to hurt. Common illnesses such as influenza can as well.

Your first line of defense against joint pain is staying healthy. Keeping your joints moving helps them stay lubricated and ready to go, so be sure to work exercise into your day. Eating a healthy diet and including the right amount of calcium and vitamin D can also keep you on the right track to healthy bones and joints.

Of course, it’s best to talk to your doctor about any pain you might be having that won’t go away within a couple weeks. At your appointment, try to pinpoint when the pain began, what you were doing and what, if anything, provides relief.

The future of orthopedics begins today at Beaumont. With specialists knowledgeable in both surgical and non-surgical treatments for hip, knee and shoulder pain, we can give you a multitude of options to meet your specific orthopedic needs. If you’re considering surgery, trust the specialists who perform more joint replacements than anyone else in Michigan.


Information provided by Marc Milia, M.D., Beaumont orthopedic surgeon.

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