Pain in all joints of the body

causes of joint pain

Joint problems often occur locally when a person has pain in a specific joint and can pinpoint the exact location of the pain. But sometimes joint pain cannot be localized, because all joints or several at the same time hurt. Talking about rheumatoid arthritis in this case is premature, because, in addition to this pathology, there are other diseases in which pain covers all joints of the musculoskeletal system.

An attentive doctor who will analyze the patient's complaints and identify cause-and-effect relationships can identify the reasons why all joints hurt at the same time. It is far from always so easy to determine the diagnosis, and with the most common general symptoms, it is not possible to single out a specific pathology immediately, after a series of examinations. Therefore, if systemic joint pain occurs, do not delay the visit to the doctor.

If all joints of the musculoskeletal system are severely ill, there may be the following reasons:

  • Pathologies of autoimmune origin and systemic allergic reactions.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Chronic fatigue, increased physical activity.
  • Intoxication of the body.
  • Blood diseases.

When pain appears in several or all joints, one must remember at once that such a situation is only a reaction to certain diseases, but not independent diseases. The only exceptions can be pathologies such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, when the immediate cause lies in damage to the cartilage itself.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The disease refers to chronic autoimmune pathologies in which joints throughout the body are primarily affected. A distinctive feature of rheumatoid arthritis is the involvement of many joints in the pathological process.

At the same time, cytokines, metalloproteinase and chemotactic cytokines play a key role in the inflammatory process. These are anti-inflammatory elements that activate the activity of the human body's own immune cells. As a result, they move to the site of inflammation, that is, to the joints of the human body, and provoke a typical inflammatory response.

A typical manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis is damage to the peripheral joints, and symmetrical. When the disease worsens, pathology affects the larger joints. Pathology affects mainly women, in men it occurs three times less often. It is diagnosed between the ages of thirty and fifty, but sometimes it can also appear in adolescents - this disease is called juvenile arthritis.

Despite the fact that scientists have clarified the immune nature of the disease, it has not yet been possible to determine the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis - why do anti-inflammatory cells acquire such pathological activity. To date, a genetic predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis has been proven, it is also indicated that negative factors such as smoking, transmission of viral diseases, and so on, influence the appearance of pathologies.

The course of the disease is caused by the activation of immune complexes, which are produced by the synovial membrane and are found in the blood vessels. A rapid reaction to them is rheumatoid factors - antibodies produced to these complexes. And in some cases, they appear on their own, without the presence of provoking factors.

HELP!At an early stage of the development of pathology, macrophages migrate to the affected areas, after a while the number of lymphocytes increases there. The release of inflammatory mediators and provokes the development of the pathological process throughout the body.

If a chronic lesion of the synovium occurs, then instead of its usual thickness it becomes denser and coarser, grows and folds in the form of villi are formed on its surface. The cells of the synovial fluid produce stromelysin and collagenase, which contributes to destructive processes in the cartilage tissue. The inflammatory process is enhanced by the production of prostaglandins, fibrin deposits and necrotic processes appear.

Overgrown synovial tissue provokes inflammatory mediators that contribute to the destruction of not only cartilage, but also bone tissue, ligaments and joint capsule. In the joint fluid itself, the number of leukocytes increases.

Small joints of the body become covered with characteristic rheumatoid nodules, when the joint changes shape and becomes ugly in appearance. The contents of such rheumatoid nodules are the necrotic part of macrophages, fibroblasts and plasma cells. Similar nodules can be found in internal organs.

The disease progresses gradually. Patients suffer from general and local articular manifestations - there is a characteristic stiffness in the joints in the morning, fatigue is observed, appetite is lost, body temperature rises to subfebrile. The condition of the joints becomes much better about an hour after waking up. The joints are affected symmetrically and usually rheumatoid arthritis affects the following joints:

  • Wrist.
  • Second and third metacarpophalangeal.
  • Shoulder.
  • Knees.
  • Ankles.
  • Hip.
  • Elbows.

In fact, the disease threatens any joint of the musculoskeletal system. The distal phalangeal joints, as well as the elements of the axial skeleton, are least often involved.

rheumatoid arthritis as a cause of joint pain

The joints remain sore, swollen and reddened, and become hot to the touch. To minimize painful sensations, patients try to keep their joints bent - this way they ache less. The progression of the disease occurs in the first 5–6 years after the onset of the first pathological changes. And already ten years after the development of the pathology, irreversible changes appear in patients.

During this time, patients develop significant joint deformities, and instability may occur. When the nerve branches are compressed, patients suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, and with rheumatoid arthritis of the knee joint, patients are threatened with Baker's cyst, deep vein thrombosis, and so on.

In parallel with articular changes, extra-articular manifestations of the body are observed, which develop with the progression of pathology in every third patient. An example of such manifestations can be rheumatoid nodules in the lungs, vasculitis, Felty's syndrome, myocarditis.

Diagnosing the disease is not that difficult. The blood demonstrates typical clinical criteria for rheumatoid arthritis, an increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate, a significant amount of C-reactive protein and rheumatoid factor.

The state of health of patients is specified on an X-ray image, which is done if rheumatoid arthritis is suspected. The disease is differentiated from osteoarthritis, sarcoidosis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis developed against the background of hepatitis C.

IMPORTANT!When making a diagnosis, it is necessary to take into account that the disease has a rather high lethal outcome, but in rheumatoid arthritis it is associated not with joint damage, but with pathological changes in the heart, internal bleeding.

Treatment of the disease is carried out with supportive therapy, as well as powerful NSAIDs. It is recommended to give only an adequate load on the joints, add exercise therapy. If necessary, surgery is performed.


Osteoarthritis is another common pathology that can affect both large and small joints. Various factors can provoke osteoarthritis, which, first of all, have a negative effect on the cartilage tissue of the joint. Cartilage tissue throughout the human body performs several functions and primarily becomes a shock absorber in the process of various movements. Constant stress leads to increased wear on the cartilage.

If people with good health and strong immunity have a chance to restore damaged tissues, then in aged patients, as well as in patients with increased stress on the joint, synthesis of new fibers almost does not occur, and cartilage tissue is not restored. Traditionally, osteoarthritis is considered to be a consequence of mechanical action on tissues, but now doctors consider previously transferred inflammatory diseases as factors in the development of systemic osteoarthritis.

A typical symptom of the disease is pain in all joints, as the matrix loses extremely important substances - glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. The deficiency of these elements leads to the so-called dislocation of the joint, that is, cracks of various depths appear in the cartilage tissue.

Inflammatory processes can also disrupt the normal structure of cartilage tissue, therefore, when localized in the subchondral part of the bone, doctors often diagnose microfractures in patients. The edges of the bone in the joint are covered with growths - osteophytes. They serve to compensate for the worn-out part of the cartilage, but in fact they bring even more negative sensations to patients.

osteoarthritis as a cause of joint pain

Women of menopause are most susceptible to osteoarthritis.

Since the real cause of osteoarthritis has not been clarified, doctors identify several factors that contribute to the development of the disease:

  • Congenital insufficiency of cartilage tissue, in which it is very easy to injure. For example, patients with such a pathology develop flat feet, dislocations are often diagnosed - complete and incomplete.
  • Gender is also one of the factors in the development of the disease, since, according to statistics, osteoarthritis is twice as common in women as in men.
  • Age feature - the disease usually develops in patients over forty-five years old, in women it coincides with the period of menopause.
  • Obesity.
  • Metabolic problems.
  • Increased sports load on the joints.
  • Traumatic joint injuries.

Disease develops in any joint, but usually the starting joint is the one with the greatest physical activity. It can be localized in the knee joints, hip, elbow, and so on.

The symptomatology of the disease is very obvious, so osteoarthritis cannot be missed. In a person, with an increased load, the joints immediately begin to hurt, while the strength of the discomfort can be different: from a slight whining in the joint to the strongest sharp pain in the joint. With movement, the pain increases, and at rest it becomes less pronounced.

In parallel with soreness, patients suffer from cracking in the joints, the appearance of stiffness. Patients have limited movement. Especially at the moments of disease progression, when reflex muscle spasms are added to the pathology.

At a later stage of the development of the disease, patients develop a characteristic joint blockade - this is a sharp pain when the joint suddenly stops moving due to the appearance of severe pain in the joint. This is due to the ingress of fragments of cartilage tissue into the cavity, blocking movement. If the disease is accompanied by inflammation, then there is swelling of the synovium, which is easy to visualize.

The development of osteoarthritis is quite individual. In some patients, the x-ray shows signs of the progression of the pathology, but according to the sensations, the picture of the disease does not change. At the same time, other patients feel severe pain, inflammation and limited movement, when the joint itself in the picture looks satisfactory, according to the stage of development of the pathology.

Diagnosis of the disease is based on X-ray data and clinical signs of the disease. In parallel, you can do an ultrasound scan or magnetic resonance imaging if there is a need to assess the presence of complications.

Doctors try to treat the disease taking into account the maximal preservation of mobility in the joint and the ability of the patient to work by profession. Therefore, in therapy, it is extremely important to stop the progression of the disease, eliminate pain in the joint and relieve inflammation.

At the moment, the possibilities of treating osteoarthritis are not unlimited and the treatment tactics are difficult to recognize as successful, because it is not possible to restore the joints. The disease goes into a chronic stage and you need to fight it constantly.

TIP!Nevertheless, such unhappy forecasts do not doom patients to disability - with successful therapy, you can learn to live with osteoarthritis and even maintain physical activity.

For treatment, doctors use the following groups of funds:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Glucocorticosteroids.
  • Chondroprotectors.
  • Means for activating blood circulation.
  • Muscle relaxants.

The therapy of the disease is primarily made up of drugs that can maximally restore cartilage tissue and establish metabolic processes in the joint. Therefore, the main emphasis is on chondroprotectors, the use of which begins immediately after the removal of inflammation. Treatment with chondroprotectors is long-term and the best result appears only with timely treatment started.

Other diseases

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the most common pathologies in which joints ache and ache throughout the body. But, besides the leaders in morbidity, there are other conditions that provoke pain in the articular joints.

what diseases cause joint pain

Joint pain can be a manifestation of leukemia.

Sore joints can be a manifestation of blood disorders. Hematological pathologies today are the most difficult not only in diagnosis for the attending physicians, but also in therapy. Often they are joined by an oncological factor and diseases acquire a completely different meaning for the patient. Usually joints throughout the body hurt with leukemia - acute and chronic. At the same time, patients do not even suspect what this means, since the blood test results do not show abnormalities.

Arthralgia is not isolated, not only articular elements are affected, but also bones and muscles. Therefore, doctors advise patients with long-term painful sensations, it is imperative to consult not only an orthopedic traumatologist or surgeon, but also a hematologist who may suspect a pathology and send the patient for additional research.

Intoxication of the body is another reason for joint pain. The fact is that the joints react extremely sharply to the intake of toxins into the body, and if the joints begin to hurt and twist, then the influence of occupational hazards, intoxication with household waste, tobacco smoking and alcoholism may be to blame. Patients suffer from extremely unpleasant symptoms - all joints ache, as if with the flu, the general condition of the body suffers.

Improvement of patients' health condition is possible after diagnosis. Detoxification therapy is carried out, the blood is purified, and, consequently, the joint fluid from toxins.

Most Important

Pain in all joints of the body is not always associated with the pathology of the joints themselves. If the joints of the body are affected, then usually rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis is the cause. Symptoms are rapidly increasing, and the pathological process in the joints progresses.

In other cases, when joint pain is not associated with damage to the joints, discomfort can be a manifestation of systemic diseases, for example, blood leukemia, as well as osteoporosis, intoxication of the body, infection. Coping with diseases is not so easy, but it is much more difficult to diagnose the disease. Patients with the appearance of pain in the joints should contact the clinic in a timely manner in order to start treatment at an early stage.