Feature Archive

Joint Pain Not Inevitable with Age

Creaking knees, hips, and ankles aren't necessarily normal aches and pains that come with age. Your pain might be arthritis. Luckily, medicine has a lot to offer --- from exercise and alternative supplements to medications and joint replacement.

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson

Creaky, achy joints. A twinge in the knee. A sharp shooting pain from the shoulder to the elbow. No big deal, right?

Wrong. All too often, we assume joint pain is a normal part of aging that we just have to learn to live with. Nothing could be further from the truth, say experts, pointing to a wealth of treatment options from exercise and alternative supplements to medications and joint replacement surgery.

It's a serious problem, because pain can affect every aspect of your life. "Pain is not only the experience of hurting? it affects how you handle your life, your livelihood, your interactions with family and friends," Raymond Gaeta, MD, director of pain management services at Stanford Hospital & Clinic at Stanford University, tells WebMD.

Gaeta recently published a nationwide telephone survey with some stunning results: Nearly one in five (19%) had chronic pain like that caused by arthritis. Yet nearly half said they didn't know what caused their pain. The vast majority (84%) were taking over-the-counter drugs for their pain.