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Arthritis Pain Explained


Updated May 22, 2014

3 of 10

Part 3 of 10 - Cause of Arthritis Pain

Sources of Pain

Arthritis pain may be related to different sources. The source of pain is often due to synovitis (inflammation of the synovial membrane that lines the joints), swelling around the joint, and damage within the joint (cartilage). Pain may also be linked to stress, strain, or inflammation of the tendons, ligaments, or muscles (structures that surround the joints).

A combination of factors may contribute to the intensity of the pain.

Pain Can Vary

The severity of pain varies greatly from person to person, for reasons that doctors do not yet understand completely.

In addition, certain activities affect pain differently. Some patients notice that joint pain is worse after first getting out of bed in the morning. Others have increased pain after prolonged use of the joint. Prolonged morning stiffness is usually characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis.

Pain Tolerance

Not all arthritis patients have the same tolerance of pain. Physical and emotional factors may intensify pain in some people.

Increased sensitivity to pain appears to affect individual pain perception.

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