Joint Pain or Nerve Pain: What’s the Difference?

Pain can manifest in numerous ways, and while some are easily recognizable, others may be more elusive. Two common types of pain many encounter are nerve pain and joint pain. Let’s delve into the distinctions between them.

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy? We can help.

man holding his knee in pain, concept of joint pain

Joint pain: The basics

Joint pain is discomfort that occurs in the junctions where bones meet. This type of pain can arise from a plethora of conditions and ailments, from viruses to injuries, and yes, arthritis—with over 100 different types of this disease known.

Primary causes of joint pain:

  • Osteoarthritis: Often referred to as a “wear and tear” condition, this is the most prevalent type of arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): This autoimmune disorder sees the body attacking its tissues, primarily affecting the joints. RA may also cause peripheral neuropathy, a complication stemming from nerve damage due to RA-induced inflammation.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the sacs cushioning the joints.
  • Gout: A form of arthritis mainly affecting the big toe.
  • Physical Injuries: Strains, sprains and other injuries can be a root cause.

Symptoms of joint pain:

  • Swelling or inflammation
  • Warmth at the joint
  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion
  • Soreness after certain activities or severe pain with minor movements

Who’s at risk?

Joint pain is especially prevalent among the elderly, those who are overweight, those with prior joint injuries or chronic health conditions, and even those experiencing stress, depression or anxiety.

Nerve pain: Digging deeper

Nerve pain or neuropathic pain, as opposed to nociceptive pain (pain from physical damage), stems from a damaged or malfunctioning nervous system. It’s a more direct and acute kind of pain, usually chronic in nature.

Common causes:

  • Diabetes: Over half of diabetics will experience peripheral neuropathy.
  • Multiple sclerosis, stroke, HIV and cancer: These conditions can contribute to nerve pain.
  • Phantom limb pain: This unique kind of nerve pain is felt even if the painful or injured body part isn’t present, such as after an amputation.
  • ChemotherapyThis type of nerve damage can occur as a result of cancer treatment.

Symptoms of nerve pain:

When to seek medical attention

Both types of pain have their unique challenges, but it’s crucial to address them promptly. If you’re experiencing intense pain, sudden inflammation, joint deformities or loss of joint function, it’s time to see a doctor. Remember, timely treatment can prevent long-term damage, especially in conditions like RA.

In the end, understanding the kind of pain you’re feeling is the first step to effective management and treatment. Whether it’s the chronic burn of nerve pain or the stiffness of an aching joint, proper diagnosis is the cornerstone of relief.

WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions that are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our companyour drug and subscribe to our newsletter.

Sources

FAQs

What is joint pain?

Joint pain is discomfort that occurs in the junctions where bones meet. This type of pain can arise from a plethora of conditions and ailments, from viruses to injuries, and yes, arthritis—with over 100 different types of this disease known.

What is nerve pain?

Nerve pain or neuropathic pain, as opposed to nociceptive pain (pain from physical damage), stems from a damaged or malfunctioning nervous system. It's a more direct and acute kind of pain, usually chronic in nature.

What are symptoms of joint pain?

Swelling or inflammation
Warmth at the joint
Stiffness and reduced range of motion
Soreness after certain activities or severe pain with minor movements

What are symptoms of nerve pain?

Burning or stabbing sensations
Numbness or tingling
Heightened sensitivity to touch or temperature changes
Muscle weakness, especially worsening at night

Who's at risk for joint pain?

Joint pain is especially prevalent among the elderly, those who are overweight, those with prior joint injuries or chronic health conditions, and even those experiencing stress, depression or anxiety.

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