Joint Muscle Pain – Arthritis or Bursitis


There are many causes for joint muscle pain. Injuries, strains, medical conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, or infectious diseases like mumps or rubella, all of these conditions may cause joint muscle pain. However, in elderly patients the most common causes of joint muscle pain are arthritis and bursitis. But how is a patient to know the difference? Is it possible to have Joint Muscle Pain from both arthritis and bursitis? Is there a different in the pain felt between these two conditions and do differences exist between the treatments of these two ailments?

Joint Muscle PainJoint muscle pain from arthritis stems from strain and stress to the muscles surrounding affected joints. The wearing down of cartilage and other soft tissue causes more work for the muscles surrounding the joint. This can increase joint muscle pain, especially when muscles are already weakened. In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, where the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissue around the affected joint, more muscle damage may occur and thus increase the severity of Joint Muscle Pain. In osteoarthritis, painful bone spurs may develop which can also play a role in the level and severity of joint muscle pain experienced by patients.

Joint muscle pain stemming from bursitis is equally bothersome, but is the result of a different set of circumstances. Bursitis involves the inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning and padding around joints. These sacs, called bursae, allow the proper movement of muscle over bone. If bursae are inflamed, muscles cannot flow smoothly over bony prominences, resulting in joint muscle pain. Bursitis is a treatable condition, and while it is reoccurring, with proper care joint muscle pain may not worsen or increase in severity like commonly seen in arthritis related joint muscle pain. As with arthritis, the pain from bursitis does often limit a patient’s mobility during an attack.

Whether Joint Muscle Pain is caused by arthritis or bursitis, the most common treatment options are very similar. Joint muscle pain in both conditions often responds well to anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medications such as NSAIDs such as aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen. Patients may also gain relief from joint muscle pain through exercise and proper stretching of the muscles around the affected joint. Exercise and stretching helps prevent painful stiffness in arthritis and increases circulation in bursitis. There are also dietary supplements which may be beneficial in providing joint muscle pain relief to patients suffering from arthritis or bursitis, or even both conditions.