What are the Causes of Chronic Joint Pain?

A large systematic literature review of chronic pain showed that the prevalence rate varies from 10% to 55% of the population. In the U.S., around 35% of the population has some type of chronic pain, which causes partial or total disability in 50 million Americans. There are 116 million people in the U.S. living with chronic pain, according to the Institute of Medicine. Chronic joint pain is inflammation and/or infection of one or more joints, which results in swelling, limited movement, stiffness, and pain, and it occurs due to many conditions.


Characterized by severe and sudden attacks of tenderness, redness, and pain in the joints, gout is a complex type of arthritis t

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hat can affect anyone. However, men are more at risk than women. A gout attack causes a hot and swollen joint, which is incredibly painful. The big toe is most often affected, but gout can occur in any joint.


Affecting the small, fluid-filled sacs of the joints (bursae), bursitis is a painful joint condition. The bursae become inflamed usually due to repetitive motion. The most common sites for bursitis are the shoulder, hip, and elbow, but it can also affect the knee, base of the big toe, and heel.


The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which produces serious chronic joint pain. Osteoarthritis affects millions of people, and the pain is the result of cartilage wearing away along with bone degeneration.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

An autoimmune disease that produces chronic inflammation of the joints is rheumatoid arthritis. This condition causes swelling, tenderness, warmth, and pain of the joints. In addition, rheumatoid nodules and joint deformities occur, causing problems with mobility. The chronic inflammation associated with this disease will produce permanent joint destruction.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease that results when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, organs, and structures. The joints are affected by lupus, which can produce serious pain and swelling.

Lyme Disease

Also known as Lyme borreliosis, Lyme disease is an infectious condition caused by bacteria. When a tick bites someone, he/she can become infected with the bacteria. Months to years later, the affected person can develop joint pain, headaches, and chronic fatigue. Even when treated with medications, around 15% of people develop chronic joint pain.

knee arthritisHemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis is an inherited condition that causes the body to absorb too much iron from food. Excess iron becomes stored in the organs, and this results in joint pain, weakness, and fatigue.

Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis causes swelling and joint pain due to an infection in another body area. The knees and ankles are most often affected with this condition. Also called Reiter’s syndrome, the inflammation can also affect the skin, urethra, and eyes.

Psoriatic Arthritis

A form of arthritis that occurs along with psoriasis is psoriatic arthritis. This condition causes serious joint pain and stiffness, along with swelling and loss of joint mobility. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body, even the fingertips and spine.


Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that can affect anyone. This condition results when bacteria spreads through the bloodstream to the bone. The symptoms often begin with fever, swelling and stiffness of the joint or affected bone, and irritability.

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