Sudden Onset Joint Pain is almost always a cause for concern, and likely a medical concern.
Most joint pain is chronic. When you're fine one day and then have sudden onset arthritis symptoms or sudden multiple joint pain...that's a problem.
Sudden joint pain isn't a naturally occurring event. If your doctor isn't concerned, you should probably find a new doctor.
There are two primary categories of sudden onset joint pain:
New Joint Pain Issue
Impact injury from car accident, sports injury, etc are obviously sudden onset. But if you're here, that's probably not what you're looking for.
You're looking for why you were fine yesterday, and then for no apparent reason, today you suddenly have joint pain.
If you really were fine yesterday, and you have sudden joint pain in one or more joints, then you are suffering from a NEW issue (as opposed to a chronic issue mechanism that has been in play but not causing you any pain symptoms.
These problems cause sudden joint pain:
Yep. That's it. Impact injury, or infection.
Everything else that causes sudden joint pain is a function of an underlying, already existing issue that finally passed a threshhold and now you feel pain.
Infection can include 'septic arthritis', which is joint pain from REALLY BAD infection.
Flare Up Of Chronic Issue
If you aren't suffering from an impact injury or a newly introduced infection, then you are suffering from a pre-existing problem that just wasn't causing pain before.
Let's talk about what it could be:
Tendonitis is a function of too tight muscles and connective tissue. That tightness can compress joints.
Over time, compressed joints get irritated and damaged. That leads to ache and pain, and then damage. See 'Osteoarthritis' below.
With Tendonitis, you can be pain free one day and then have joint pain the next. While that might seem like sudden onset joint pain, really it's just that the problem has slowly progressed over time, and now your brain is sending your consciousness a pain signal.
See: What Is Tendonitis?
Arthritis - Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a function of a joint being compressed and grinding on itself over time a chronic process of inflammation, and damage to the joint lining.
This is a slow process, it doesn't show up over night. So while you might have what seems like sudden joint pain today and didn't yesterday, it just -seems- like it's sudden.
Really, it's been progressing towards pain for a long time.
Arthritis - Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a function of a damaged gut ecology and resulting auto-immune response.
Sudden onset arthritis symptoms from RA is really just a 'flare up' of symptoms.
The auto-immune response is always active as long as the gut ecology is damaged. Pain may come and go, but the CAUSE of the pain is ever present.
Chronic infection can be bacterial, viral, or fungal.
Infection is bad. Chronic infection is bad if only because it can suddenly get worse for any of a variety of reasons...for instance, if your immune system function decreases.
So if you didn't have pain yesterday, but suddenly have joint pain today, and it's from infection, it's either a new infection, or it's a chronic infection that suddenly got stronger.
You absolutely need to see a good doctor in both these scenarios. Doctors don't know what to do for rheumatoid arthritis or Lupus, but they do know what to do for infection.
I highly advise you avoid Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin, Levofloxacin, Cipro, Ciprofloxacin, Avelox, Norfloxin, etc because of Levaquin Side Effects. Bad, bad news.
Sudden joint pain from gout isn't really sudden.
Gout is an ongoing condition that grows crystals in joints. Sooner or later, that's going to hurt. Once it starts hurting, you'll definitely know it.
But again, Gout is a chronic condition (until you fix the problem). People experience 'flare ups' where their pain levels jump up.
No fun, but technically, not sudden onset joint pain.
Lupus (Or other auto-immune issue that's not Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Lupus is one of many auto-immune diagnoses that is, like Rheumatoid Arthritis, fully reversible.
Pain from Lupus arrives suddenly. But again, it's not fair to call Lupus symptoms 'sudden onset', because Lupus is a chronic, ongoing issue with symptomology that gets better or worse, depending.
Flare ups can be sudden, certainly, but you weren't 'fine' yesterday and hurting today. Your body was hurting yesterday too, you just weren't (as) aware of it.
Humans have this bad habit of thinking that pain will go away eventually. Sometimes it does.
But joints aren't supposed to hurt. And when they do, suddenly and out of the blue, then you better start paying attention.
Obviously if were in a car accident that caused joint pain due to impact injury, that's problematic but not life threatening (or you'd already be in the hospital).
If the pain is from a new infection, it's a whole different story.
Is sudden onset joint pain due to infection dangerous?
Absolutely, yes it is.
A new and sudden infection, in your joint, is a BIG and potentially life threatening problem.
Go see a doctor ASAP. Right now.
Joint infection can turn septic, which is VERY dangerous. Left unchecked it can kill you, or result in loss of limb.
If you're saying 'My joints hurt all over', that can be a non-life threatening issue like rheumatoid arthritis, or it can point to a systemic infection.
Unless you know enough about your situation to not be worried, sudden onset muscle and joint pain should be a major cause of concern.
Sudden multiple joint pain is most often just a flare up of a pre-existing issue like Lupus, RA, or even osteoarthritis.
Even severe joint pain all over can just be a bad flare up of a pre-existing issue.
In that case, you probably don't need to worry about the 'sudden' part. But you should absolutely worry about fixing the problem and getting your body working correctly again, even if your doctor has told you that there is no cure, no hope of getting better.
An effective rheumatoid arthritis treatment can get rid of RA. Unfortunately, your doctor believes RA to be incurable.
If you have pre-existing issue, then you're probably familiar with flare ups. Maybe they show up quickly, maybe they're even severe, but they're definitely not 'new' they're not 'sudden joint pain'. It's just more of the same, it's not 'new pain'.
Remember, there is no such thing as sudden onset arthritis symptoms....because arthritis is neither sudden nor 'new'. Arthritis is chronic and has slowly been getting worse over time.
Infection though...infection is a dangerous and life threatening cause of sudden onset joint pain.
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