Why Do All My Joints Ache?

Reviewed on 8/24/2021

25 Conditions that Commonly Cause Joint Aches

Joint aches and pains (arthralgia) are common and usually due to arthritis, but there are many possible causes. These include arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis), gout, bursitis, inflammation, ligament damage, joint fusion, and others.
Joint aches and pains (arthralgia) are common and usually due to arthritis, but there are many possible causes. These include arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis), gout, bursitis, inflammation, ligament damage, joint fusion, and others.

Joint aches and pains (arthralgia) are common and often result from forms of arthritis but there are numerous possible causes for joint aches.

25 Conditions that commonly cause joint aches all over the body include: 

Less common causes of joint aches include: 

Rare conditions that may cause joints to ache to include: 

  • Behçet's syndrome 
  • Henoch-Schönlein purpura 
  • Hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy 
  • Sarcoidosis

What Are Symptoms of Joint Aches?

See a doctor right away if you have joint aches or pains accompanied by any of the following symptoms that may be signs of a serious condition: 

  • Joint swelling, warmth, and redness
  • New skin rashes, spots, or purple blotches
  • Sores in the mouth or nose or on the genitals
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • New or severe cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Chills 
  • Sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Eye redness or pain

How Are Joint Aches Diagnosed?

The cause of joint aches and pains are diagnosed with a patient history that includes questions about:

  • The severity of the pain 
  • Whether the aches and pain came on suddenly or gradually
  • If the symptoms have changed over time
  • What worsens or relieves the pain

A physical examination of the joints is also performed which includes:

  • Checking joints for swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, and noises that occur when joints are moved (called crepitus)
  • Joints are moved through the full range of motion, both by the patient without assistance (active range of motion) and then by the doctor (passive range of motion)

The physical examination will also include checking other body parts which can present signs that can help determine the cause: 

  • The eyes, mouth, nose, and genitals are checked for sores or other signs of inflammation
  • The skin is examined for rashes
  • Lymph nodes are felt 
  • Lungs and heart are examined
  • Nervous system function is tested in order to detect disorders of the muscles or nerves

Tests used to help determine the cause of joint aches and pains include: 

What Is the Treatment for Joint Aches?

Treatment for joint aches depends on the cause and involves treating the underlying condition. 

Treatments for joint aches may include: 

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) for pain and inflammation
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain without inflammation
  • Immunosuppressant drugs or corticosteroids for people with an autoimmune disorder (such as lupus
  • Immobilizing the joint with a splint or sling 
  • Applying heat may decrease pain by relieving spasm in the muscles around joints 
  • Applying cold may help relieve pain caused by joint inflammation
  • Physical therapy may help regain or maintain range of motion and strengthen surrounding muscles

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Reviewed on 8/24/2021
References
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/joint-pain/

https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/understanding-pain/causes-of-inflammatory-joint-pain

https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/symptoms-of-musculoskeletal-disorders/joint-pain-many-joints