Arthralgia means joint pain. It can be a symptom of arthritis and other conditions. Arthritis is inflammation in the joints, which may cause joint pain and stiffness.

In this article, learn about arthritis and arthralgia, or joint pain, and the link between them.

We look at the treatment options available, including home remedies.

The article also discusses the risk factors for arthritis and arthralgia.

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Arthralgia refers to pain and discomfort in one or more joints. It is a symptom of conditions including arthritis. It often results from inflammation, although it may be too early for changes to show up on diagnostic tests.

When pain affects more than one joint, the medical name is polyarthralgia.

Arthralgia can be an early sign of arthritis, which involves joint pain due to inflammation. However, there are many forms of arthritis with a range of causes and symptoms.

Arthralgia can be an early sign of various diseases before other symptoms appear.

Conditions that may involve arthralgia include:

Inflammation may be present but subclinical. This means that laboratory tests cannot detect it. If inflammation becomes more severe, tests will be able to detect it.

Some health conditions can cause arthralgia without inflammation.

In bone marrow cancers, such as leukemia, the production of cancer cells leads to crowding in the bone marrow. This can cause arthralgia.

Joint pain can also be a side effect of some cancer treatments, including: Chemotherapy and hormonal treatments.

Why do all my joints hurt suddenly?

As well as RA and OA, the different types of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and gout. These can all feature:

  • joint pain
  • joint stiffness
  • a reduced range of motion

Arthralgia may be present before other symptoms of arthritis appear. As well as pain, a person may notice the following symptoms in their joints:

  • inflammation or redness in or around one or more joints
  • swelling and warmth
  • crepitus, or popping joints
  • joints that snap into place or lock instead of moving fluidly
  • skin changes, fatigue, and other symptoms depending on the type of arthritis

What are the causes, types, and symptoms of arthritis?

How arthritis affects the joints

Within a joint, changes that occur with arthritis will depend on the type. They may include:

  • a loss of cartilage or bone in the joint
  • a buildup of bone tissue, which can form bone spurs
  • changes in the shape of the joint
  • a buildup of uric acid crystal deposits in the joint in the case of gout

These features can contribute to joint pain, or arthralgia.

Risk factors

The risk factors for arthritis will depend on the type. However, people are more likely to experience arthritis if they:

  • are older adults
  • are female
  • experience certain infections
  • have certain genetic features
  • have a previous joint injury, such as a repetitive strain injury
  • do a job that involves repetitive actions, such as knee bending
  • have obesity
  • smoke tobacco
  • have an inflammatory condition, such as lupus or psoriasis
  • have a condition where the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the joints, which can lead to RA or PsA

Treatments for arthralgia and arthritis will depend on their underlying cause, but both will aim to address joint pain.


If other symptoms and diagnostic tests reveal an underlying cause for joint pain, a doctor will treat the cause.

If there is no clear cause, they may recommend over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications to manage the symptoms. They may also recommend pain relief alongside treatment for the main cause of arthralgia.

Medical options for pain relief include:

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If a person has arthritis, a doctor will recommend treatment to address both the pain and the underlying cause.

Here are some examples:

There are more than 100 types of arthritis, and the treatment will vary. However, most treatment plans will aim to reduce the pain and discomfort of arthralgia as well as addressing the underlying cause.

Learn more here

Learn more about arthritis in our dedicated hub, including symptoms, diagnosis, arthritis myths, and the latest research.

Home remedies for joint pain

Home, alternative, and lifestyle remedies may help manage joint pain. Options include:

What are some natural pain relief medications?

How can you lower uric acid naturally?

Arthralgia is joint pain. It is a symptom of arthritis and various other conditions.

It may be an early sign of arthritis that appears before inflammation is severe enough to show up on tests.

Arthralgia is joint pain and can be a symptom of arthritis.

It can also occur as a reaction to some infections, following an injury, as a symptom of leukemia, and during certain treatments for cancer.

If a person sees a doctor with arthralgia, the doctor may carry out tests to identify the underlying cause. They will recommend treatment according to the underlying cause and the severity of joint pain.

They may recommend lifestyle strategies such as exercise, weight management, and smoking cessation if a person is at risk of developing arthritis.