Joint pain

How to live with joint pain - Pain management and treatment options for arthritis and other types of joint pain

Joint pain, ranging from mild discomfort and stiffness to debilitating pain, is increasingly common as we age and affects a huge number of adults. Joint pain can be acute or chronic, and is generally treated with medication, physical therapy, support to make lifestyle changes, and alternative treatments.

Ledvärk - Täcke av moln

What is joint pain?

Joints are what connect different parts of your skeleton and allow you to move. The main joints in your body are your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles.

Joint pain is caused by illness or injury and results in painful movement, discomfort, and soreness. It is increasingly common as we age. Joint pain ranges from mild discomfort to debilitating pain, and can be acute, meaning that it is temporary and fades away after a few days or weeks, or chronic, meaning that it lasts for three months or longer.

The most common type of joint pain is knee pain, but joint pain can affect any joint in the body, including the smaller joints in your fingers and toes. Joint pain often comes with swelling, inflammation, stiffness and loss of mobility, and is managed with medication, physical therapy, and alternative treatments.

Causes of joint pain

A number of conditions can lead to joint pain, including:

  • Osteoarthritis - the most common type of arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis - an autoimmune disease
  • Bursitis - an inflammation of the fluid sacs that help to cushion your joints
  • Lupus - a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any organ in your body, including your joints
  • Gout - a form of arthritis that most commonly affects your big toe joint
  • Infectious diseases such as mumps, influenza, hepatitis
  • Strains, sprains and other injuries
  • Chondromalacia - a breakdown of the cartilage in your kneecap
  • Tendinitis - an inflammation of your tendon
  • Infections of the bones or joints
  • Other illnesses such as cancer, osteoporosis, rickets, sarcoidosis, etc
Artros i fot

What causes arthritis? Types of arthritis and arthritis symptoms

The most common cause of joint pain is arthritis. Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in one or more joints. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, including children, but it’s more common in people above the age of forty. 

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Hand med ledsmärta

Osteoarthritis - symptoms and causes of degenerative arthritis

Osteoarthritis, also called “degenerative arthritis, is a “wear-and-tear disease”, and the most common type of arthritis. It usually develops in middle age (mid 40s) or later, but can result from an injury and occur at any age. It’s more common in women and in people with a family history of the condition.

In the course of normal life, the joints in our bodies are constantly exposed to low levels of damage. Usually our bodies are able to repair the damage. But in osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage around the ends of our bones eventually breaks down. It’s not known exactly what causes this, but it may be due to:

  • Age - the risk of developing osteoarthritis increases as we age
  • Being female - osteoarthritis is more common in women than in men
  • Genetics - osteoarthritis can run in the family, although it’s not clear how
  • Injury - overuse of a joint that has not had time to heal properly after an injury or operation
  • Weight - obesity strains joints, especially knees and hips
  • Secondary arthritis - joints that have sustained severe damage from other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout may develop osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis most often affects the joints in the hands, hips, knees and spine, and the main symptoms are difficulty moving the joint, pain and stiffness. Additional symptoms include swelling and a grating or cracking sound when the affected joints move.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and causes

Similarly to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis usually appears between the age of 40 and 50 years old and is much more common in women than in men, but rheumatoid arthritis is not caused by wear and tear. This type of arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that it occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues of your own body and causes chronic inflammation resulting in painful swelling, bone erosion and joint deformity. 

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint in your body, but the smaller joints in your hands and feet are often the first to be affected. Usually, the same joints on both sides of the body are affected at the same time and to the same extent. For example, you would feel equally in both knees. But this is not always the case. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of your body beside the joints, such as your lungs, heart, blood vessels, skin and eyes.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Pain - a throbbing, aching pain in your joints that is often worse when you first get up in the morning, or when you have been still for a period of time.
  • Stiffness - affected joints may feel stiff and lose range of motion making them difficult to bend. Stiffness is often worse in the morning or after being still. Unlike the morning stiffness associated with osteoarthritis, that usually wears off after around 30 minutes, morning stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis usually lasts longer.
  • Swelling, warmth and redness - inflammation around the lining of the joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis can cause the joints to swell and feel hot and tender to touch. Rheumatoid nodules, firm swellings that develop around affected joints, can also appear.
  • Other symptoms such as general tiredness and lack of energy, an increase in metabolic rate that can result in a fever, sweating, loss appetite and weight loss, as well as dry eyes (if the eyes are affected) and chest pain (if the heart and lungs are affected).

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is aimed at relieving pain, reducing inflammation, slowing down joint damage and maintaining functionality for an active life. Such treatment is usually overseen by your GP and several different types of specialists. Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, medication, surgery, alternative treatments and lifestyle changes, can all help to limit joint damage and lessen the symptoms you experience. A digital pain coach such as Paindrainer for example, can give you customized personal advice about how to optimize your daily activities so that you have energy to do what is of value to you.

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis affects some people who suffer from psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Psoriatic arthritis causes your joints to swell, causing stiffness and pain. The condition is chronic and often worsens progressively over time, but if diagnosed and treated early, the progression can be slowed and permanent joint damage can be prevented or minimised.

Arthritis in the hands

Pain, swelling and loss of function in the hands or wrists can be particularly challenging as it can become increasingly difficult to carry out everyday tasks that we tend to take for granted such as personal care, getting dressed, cooking and writing as well as holding and gripping something. Arthritis in the hands, wrists and fingers can be caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, and while it is not possible to prevent arthritis in the hands, it is possible to manage the symptoms to maintain as much movement and function as possible.

Sacroiliac joint pain

Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is caused by damage or injury to the sacroiliac joint between the spine and the hip, causing pain that is felt in the lower back and buttocks. Since sacroiliac pain is close to hip pain or the feeling of a herniated disc, it’s important to get a correct diagnosis. Symptoms are managed with the help of physical therapy, pain medication, joint injections and sometimes surgery to fuse the joint.

Hip joint pain

The hip joint is your body’s largest “ball and socket” joint. Although it is a durable joint, able to withstand a lot of wear and tear over a lifetime, the cartilage supporting this joint can wear down and become damaged with age and use. When that happens, we experience hip joint pain.

Hip joint pain can begin from an injury such as a fracture, or come from other conditions such as arthritis. If hip pain appears suddenly and the pain is intense, or you can’t put any weight at all on your hip or are having trouble moving your hip or leg, seek medical help right away.

Managing joint pain

dvancements in chronic pain management can also help you to optimise how you live with your joint pain while maintaining an active lifestyle.


An overview of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis


An overview of Osteoarthritis

What do know about Joint Pain

Pain Management Guide: Joint Pain

Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment

Degenerative Arthritis

How do you identify and manage arthritis in hands? 

Psoriatic Arthritis

Paindrainer is proven to help you manage your pain

Data for individuals with chronic back and neck pain using Paindrainer for 12 weeks.

Improved physical function*
Decreased pain intensity*
Decreased pain interference*
Increased daily capacity to work*

*Barreveld A.M.,et al,. Pain Med. (2023) Apr 27

User reviews

Many satisfied users benefit in understanding their pain and managing their daily lives

"By using Paindrainer, I've gained an understanding of what negatively affects my pain and what I need to do to take care of myself.

I've realized how important it is to sleep well, do things I enjoy, and incorporate rest into my daily life. It makes me feel better. Mentally, it's positive because I notice that days vary, and it gives me hope when the pain is at its worst.

Paindrainer is easy to use and has become like a friend I carry in my pocket, reminding me to be kind to myself."

- Maria

"Paindrainer has truly helped me create a more balanced daily routine and make conscious decisions to prioritize what is valuable for me and improve my well-being.

After just a week of using Paindrainer, I received recommendation to prioritize more sleep. Now, I've increased my sleep from 6 to 7 hours per night, which has really benefited me. In addition to sleep, Paindrainer made me aware that longer workout sessions were increasing my pain. As a result, I've adjusted my training to shorter sessions of no more than 20 minutes and added an extra training day per week instead, which suits me much better.

- Cecilia