painful-jointsJoint pain is often a symptom of another disorder, usually one that isn’t located in a joint at all. For instance, urethritis, an inflammation of the ureter, causes joint pain. Therefore, determining the cause of the pain is the first step in choosing the appropriate treatment.

1 Evoke if a tick has bitten you within the past year and if you had a rash around the bite. Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, causes debilitating joint pain along with fatigue, headache and weakness. The treatment is a series of antibiotics, sometimes given intravenously. Your doctor may prescribe a sequencer including steroids for pain.

2 Plaid if your doctor suspects rheumatic fever is the cause of your joint pain. If you recently suffered from a bout of strep throat, and you’re running a fever, you’ll receive corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medications, along with bed rest, until the fever subsides.

3 Start an estrogen replacement program if you’re a woman with painful joints and you just finished chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy leaches estrogen from your body and may result in temporary joint pain. Ask your doctor about estrogen replacement therapy if the pain persists longer than two weeks.

4 Consider joint replacement surgeries if your pain is a result of arthritis or misaligned joints. If exercise, weight loss and diet changes do not offer relief, your doctor may recommend joint replacement. Be aware, however, that there are other, minimally invasive procedures, such as arthroplasty, that may correct the problem before going under the knife.

5 Schedule a cortisone injection if you suffer from degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. These conditions are a result of an injury to the joint that damaged the cartilage. Before your doctor recommends surgery, he may prescribe cortisone shot for immediate relief of the joint pain. If the pain returns, however, he may schedule surgery to repair your ligaments.

6 Get a second opinion if your doctor suggests surgery and you want to try alternative methods to relieve your joint pain before resorting to surgery. Be aware that joint replacement surgery is not a permanent treatment and may need repeating after a certain number of years.

7 Undergo complete blood tests, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and urinalysis, along with a complete physical exam, to determine the cause of your joint pain. Until you know why your joints hurt, you can’t choose a medical treatment.