Generally caused by trauma, micro trauma or arthritis, joint pain most commonly occurs in the shoulder, hip or elbow.
A joint is constructed of 2 bones joined by a ligamentous capsule and is moved by several muscle attachments. Cartilage covers the ends of the bones. Cartilage is a firm but pliable material with no independent blood supply. The interior of the joint is lined by a thin layer of tissue (synovium), which generates and holds synovial fluid (which acts as the joint’s lubrication). When subjected to trauma, damaging the soft tissue structures, the joint gets altered from its normal mechanics. This altered mechanical functioning of the joint accelerates the normal wear and tear, increasing the thinning of the cartilage, eventually resulting in bone directly contacting bone.
Ligaments and tendons generally take longer to heal than muscles and skin. This is due to the fact that ligaments and tendons have a much more limited supply of blood (not vascularized). When microscopic or major tears occur in ligaments and tendons, inflammation sets in. As inflammation sets in and internal pressure and chemical agents irritate nerves in the region, pain is caused. Fibrosis, an overproduction of collagen and elastin, may also occur, further interfering with proper movement of the joint.
Treatment for disorders of the joint may include manual therapy, chiropractic adjustments of the extremity, light wave therapy, exercises and nutritional supplements.