Arthritis Causes, Symptoms, and Pain Management

Woman watering plants

There are many types of arthritis, and all can cause daily pain. They all have different causes, symptoms, health effects, and treatments. We’ll focus on the most common type — osteoarthritis1 — here.

More About Arthritis

Arthritis generally refers to joint pain and diseases that occur in your most commonly used joints. You can experience arthritis pain in joints throughout your body. And anyone can get arthritis, regardless of age, race, or gender.2

Arthritis is not just about wear and tear on your joints — it’s a disease of the joint. It first starts with abnormal joint pain when the cartilage between the bones of joints wears away. The joint degradation causes pain and general movements become tough to perform. It might start with a stiff feeling in your knee when you get out of bed, or in your hands when you’re signing a receipt. Over time, it can worsen until everyday movements become difficult and painful. Later, it can advance to bone damage3 that causes constant daily pain.

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis starts when cartilage — the smooth cushion between bones — breaks down. Which means there’s progressively less of a buffer to soften the friction between bones. Joints become aggravated, swollen, and hard to move. And as time goes on and degradation continues, symptoms can worsen.

  1. Age – Everyday wear and tear can take its toll. As you age, your cartilage can diminish.
  2. Injury – Injuries may heal, but over time can lead to arthritis, especially repeated injury.
  3. Overuse – Typical of sports injuries, using the same joint over and over makes cartilage wear down. Think about a marathon runner.
  4. Weight – Excess weight puts extra pressure on joints. Fat cells also promote joint inflammation.
  5. Weak muscles – When muscles aren’t strong enough to support you, joints take on the excess stress.
  6. Genes – Arthritis is hereditary, so if it runs in your family, it could impact you later in life.
  7. Gender – Women are more likely to develop arthritis than men.

Some causes of arthritis can’t be controlled, and some courses of action can ease the uncomfortable pain. But we’ll get to those later.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Joint pain.1

This can occur in many joints and at different times. Could be the stiffness you feel in your joints when you wake up in the morning. The concerning ache in your elbow that gets worse during your morning stretches. Or the cracking sound in your knees when you bend down to tie your shoes.

Sometimes mild. Sometimes nasty. Annoyingly persistent.

You might experience:

  • Swollen joints
  • A grating or scraping feeling in your joints
  • Bony growths (spurs) at the end of joints causing swollen fingers and toes
  • Bones may even change shape, texture, and get bumpy

Unfortunately, cartilage doesn’t grow back. If you feel daily pain in your joints or any of these symptoms relate to you, contact your healthcare provider for a medical diagnosis.

Action Plan

People living with arthritis can experience daily pain. And like most diseases, outside factors can impact the severity of symptoms.

An active older couple getting ready for a bike ride.

Although it can interfere with your everyday activities, there are some lifestyle changes that you can make to help with arthritis pain:4

  1. Manage your weight – If overweight or obese, losing weight will help lessen the impact that general movements have on your joints. 
  2. Get exercise – Keep your joints moving, strengthen your muscles, and help manage your weight. Try low-impact exercises like walking, yoga, or water aerobics.
  3. Try holistic remedies – Some have stated that acupuncture, meditation, and hot and cold therapy help with arthritis pain.

Although these methods can help with arthritis pain, it is a disease and you should discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.

Get More Help

There is no cure for arthritis, and symptoms can feel unpleasant. You might need to get additional help.

Here are some more steps to relieve your arthritis pain:

  1. Try a topical anti-inflammatory gel – You can conveniently keep NEW Aspercreme® Arthritis in your bag or purse and use it as directed to treat your arthritis and relieve your pain.
  2. Join an advocacy group for help
  3. See a doctor – If you feel like you need more help, see a doctor. There are prescription medicines and assistive devices that may help you. As a last resort, there are surgical options you can speak to your doctor about.

Aspercreme® Arthritis Is Here To Get You Back To Your Everyday Life

Don’t let pain get in your way. Understanding the causes and symptoms of arthritis is the first step to finding relief.

And when you need extra help, NEW Aspercreme® Arthritis topical gel with diclofenac is available in full-prescription-strength as an OTC pain reliever.
Don’t just mask arthritis pain. Treat arthritis pain.

  1. Arthritis Foundation. April 2021. Osteoarthritis. 
  2. Arthritis Foundation. April 2021. What Is Arthritis?
  3. Osteoarthritis Research Society International. December 1, 2016. Osteoarthritis: A Serious Disease. 
  4. Editors for the American College of Rheumatology. 2019 American College of Rheumatology/Arthritis Foundation Guideline for the Management of Osteoarthritis of the Hand, Hip, and Knee.