Degenerative or mechanical arthritis, Soft tissue musculoskeletal pain, Connective tissue disease and Back pain

Joint inflammation is commonly known as arthritis.It is associated with several conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue.

Updated: November 4, 2019


Joint inflammation is commonly known as arthritis.It is associated with several conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue.

Degenerative or mechanical arthritis:

A group of conditions that mainly involve damage to the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones is called as degenerative or mechanical arthritis. Usually, the cartilage helps in joint movement so that the joints glide and move smoothly. This type of arthritis causes the cartilage to become thinner and rougher. The body begins to remodel the bone to restore stability in order to compensate for the loss of cartilage and changes in joint function resulting in undesirable bony growths.This condition is called osteophytes leading to osteoarthritis where joint become misshapen. Osteoarthritis can also result from previous damage to the joint such as a fracture or previous inflammation in the joint.

Soft tissue musculoskeletal pain:

Soft tissue musculoskeletal pain occurs in tissues rather than the joints and bones. The pain often originates from the muscles or soft tissues supporting the joints and affects a part of the body following injury or overuse, such as tennis elbow.
If the pain is more widespread and associated with other symptoms, it may indicate fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia can cause widespread pain, sleep disturbance, fatigue, depression and problems with thinking and remembering. There may also be tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, pain in the jaw, and digestive problems. It is more common among females and usually starts during middle age or after. But it can affect children as well.
The risk factors that have been associated with it can include

  • stressful or traumatic events
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • having lupus, RA, or chronic fatigue syndrome
  • illness, for example viral infections
  • injuries due to repetitive movements
  • obesity
  • family history

Connective tissue disease (CTD):

Connective tissues support, bind together, or separate other body tissues and organs which include tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Joint pain and inflammation are main symptoms of CDT. Beside joints the inflammation may also occur in the skin, muscles, lungs, and kidneys.
Some of the examples of CTD include:

  • SLE, or lupus
  • scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis
  • dermatomyositis

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE):

SLE, commonly known as lupus, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system produces antibodies to cells within the body. This can lead to widespread inflammation and tissue damage. It can appear at any age, but onset is most likely between the ages of 15 to 45 years. Genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors can contribute to this type of arthritis.
Lupus can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, and other tissues. Fatigue, pain or swelling in joints, skin rashes, and fevers are the most common symptoms.

Scleroderma:

It refers to a group of diseases that affect connective tissue in the body. Patches of hard and dry skin are the signs of scleroderma. It can also affect the internal organs and small arteries. Scar-like tissue builds up in the skin and causes damage. It may occur with other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus. Mostly people between the ages of 30 to 50 years gets affected. The complications include skin problems, weakness in the heart, lung damage, gastrointestinal problems, and kidney failure.

Infectious arthritis:

When a bacterium, virus, or fungus enters a joint causing inflammation that is called as infectious arthritis.
Organisms that can infect joints include:

  • Salmonella and Shigella, spread through food poisoning or contamination
  • hepatitis C, a blood-to-blood infection that may be spread through shared needles or transfusions
  • chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

This type of arthritis can be cured with antibiotics. However, the arthritis can sometimes become chronic as joint damage is irreversible if the infection has persisted for long time. 

Back pain:

Back pain can arise from the muscles, nerves, ligaments, discs, bones, or joints. It can also be a result of referred pain which may originate from problems with organs inside the body.
Osteoarthritis can also be a reason for back pain. When it occurs in the spine, it is called spondylosis . Imaging tests or a physical examination can detect this.
A slipped disc is another cause of back pain. Osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones can also be another reason for back pain.
It is often described as non-specific pain if a doctor cannot identify the exact cause of back pain.


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