Over 50 million Americans have been doctor-diagnosed with some form of arthritis. Most of these cases have chronic joint pain associated with them, which is the typical reason for the doctor visit. There is a correlation between arthritis and chronic joint pain, but not all chronic joint pain is arthritis. Yet, the general public has been led to believe that arthritis is the primary reason for joint pain. Although sometimes true, not all joint pain should be equated to arthritis. In fact, a significant portion of joint related pain is not due to the joint at all.
Joint movement occurs because of muscle contraction. For instance, quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh extend the knee, while hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh flex the knee. When the quadriceps muscles are activated, the hamstring muscles deactivate to allow for reduced resistance during motion of knee extension. The opposite holds true such that hamstrings activate and quadriceps deactivate in knee flexion. This is Sherrington’s law of reciprocal inhibition.
When muscles are tight, the connected joint can get pulled in multiple directions. (See image for example of quadriceps muscle forces pulling on the knee joint.) The line of force on the joint is always along the length of the muscle. When severe enough, the unbalanced muscular forces can actually alter the movement of the joint and cause repetitive joint stress to the point of pain. This pain can mimic a plethora of arthritic conditions. The interesting feature of muscular-related joint pain is that the muscles don’t often exhibit pain themselves. Hence, the muscular spasm or tightness tends to escape detection as the true source of the joint problem.
Muscular-induced joint pain is the most common reason for joint pain. It is also the most-missed cause of joint pain for the reason stated earlier, in that a muscle will often cause joint pain before the muscle elicits pain itself. Differentiating arthritis from muscular-induced joint pain is key in determining the proper treatment solution for the patient. Otherwise, joint pain that can be fixed through non-invasive methods will either persist or worse, lead the patient towards an unnecessary surgical procedure.
The moral of the story here is that arthritis is just one component of joint pain. Muscles that are tight, overused, and/or imbalanced with its antagonist muscles cause joint pain as well and can resemble arthritis pain and other degenerative joint disease. Any doctor or medical professional who claims joint pain is completely due to arthritis or other rheumatic joint disease has missed a compelling piece of the diagnostic puzzle, the role of the muscle.
If one is looking for a natural muscle rub to help in treatment of muscular induced joint pain and arthritis, August Point Wellness carries the Sciaticare Brand Penetrating Muscle Rub. It is an all natural alternative to Ben-Gay, Tiger Balm, Icy Hot, and others.
- Misdiagnosis of Arthritis (augustpoint.wordpress.com)