Joint Pain/Swelling/Stiffness

What Causes Joint Pain?

Joint pain can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose joint pain, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "joint pain" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Gluten Sensitivity
  • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Low Estrogens
  • Copper Toxicity

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
mouth sores
elevated liver enzymes
elevated ferritin levels
occasional sore throats
dry eyes
regular postprandial somnolence
severe fatigue after slight exertion
multiple painful cervical nodes
being lean or underweight
significant abdominal distension
frequent painful axillary nodes
history of hypoglycemia
... and more than 80 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of joint pain:
Cause Probability Status
Dermatomyositis 97% Confirm
Sjogren's Syndrome 26% Unlikely
Osteoarthritis 23% Unlikely
Gluten Sensitivity 4% Ruled out
Low Estrogens 1% Ruled out
Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) 1% Ruled out
Hemochromatosis 1% Ruled out
Copper Toxicity 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate joint problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have pain, stiffness or swelling in any of your joints that is not associated with a past injury or abuse?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Minor, in one or two joints
→ Minor in several joints, or moderate in one or two
→ Major in one or two joints, or moderate in several
→ Major, in several joints
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate minor joint pain/swelling/stiffness, joint pain/swelling/stiffness or major joint pain/swelling/stiffness, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Environmental Illness / MCS

Joint pain is a possible symptom of environmental illness.

Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Most patients with SLE have musculoskeletal symptoms.  The typical clinical manifestations are arthralgia, reported by 95% of patients, and arthritis (swollen joints) by 90%.  The joints most commonly involved are the index finger, wrist and knees.  Lupus is rarely accompanied by actual joint erosion.

Phosphorus Deficiency

If you constantly feel stiff, you may be suffering from phosphorus deficiency.  Phosphorus plays an important role in developing and maintaining not only healthy bones and teeth, but also joints.


Chronic arthritis (swollen and painful joints) could indicate sarcoidosis.

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