Joint pain

A joint is the part of the body where two or more bones meet to allow movement. Joint pain affects many Australians daily. Joint pain is mainly caused by pain and swelling. The most common joints affected include in the elbows, wrists, shoulders, spine, hips, ankles and knees.

Common causes of joint pain include: 

  • Arthritis inflammation that causes stiffness and pain in the joints (rheumatoid arthritis or gout) or degeneration (osteoarthritis) 
  • Bursitis  inflammation of the bursae (fluid-filled sacs that cushion and pad bones) 
  • Infection within the joint 
  • Tendonitis  inflammation, irritation and swelling of a tendon that is attached to the joint. 
  • Injury  including sprain or strain of a ligament or nearby tendon or muscle, or bone fracture. 

Arthritis is a general term that refers to over 150 different conditions. The accurate term for this group of conditions is musculoskeletal conditions, as they affect the muscles, bones and joints.

Arthritis affects people in different ways and each condition will have specific symptoms. However, common symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Swelling, redness and warmth in a joint
  • Muscular aches and pain
  • Stiffness or reduced movement of a joint
  • General symptoms such as fatigue and feeling unwell.

There are several common conditions that fall under the banner of arthritis are osteoarthritis, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, gout, polymyalgia rheumatica, lupus and ankylosing spondylitis.

Living with arthritis can be different from person to person, and symptoms can vary from day to day. Treatment and management options vary with the type of arthritis, its severity and the parts of the body affected.

There is no cure for arthritis. Management options can include medical treatment and medication, physiotherapy, exercise and self-management techniques.


Where to get help:

  • Your GP (doctor) 
  • Rheumatologist 
  • Exercise physiologist 
  • Physiotherapist 
  • Dietitian 
  • NPS MedicineWise Medicines Line Tel. 1300 633 424 
  • Independent Living Centres Australia Tel. 1300 885 886 
  • Musculoskeletal Australia. Tel. 1800 263 265 



Source: Better Health Channel,

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Other support services

Community Groups

Run by Arthritis NSW, most meet monthly. Visit Arthritis NSW or call 1800 011 041 to find a group running near you.

Cost: Free, may have small contribution

Pain Australia

Have a range of different support groups and online community groups that are established or facilitated by people who live with joint pain.

Visit Pain Australia

Cost: Varies

Musculoskeletal Australia

Provide a range of peer support groups in several different locations.

To find out more information visit Musculoskeletal Australia

Cost: Free

Warm Water Exercise classes

Organised by Arthritis & Osteoporosis NSW, these water aerobics classes are available at locations across the Sydney Metropolitan and Wollongong areas. For further details and to find out if a class runs near you or call 02 9857 3300

Cost: $15 for members per class and $20 for non-members per class

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