ZocdocAnswersWhy do I almost always have joint and back pain?

Question

Why do I almost always have joint and back pain?

I am a 21 year old female. I have had lower back pain for over 5 years. In the past year, I've been experiencing increasing pain in all of my joints. I have been tested for Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis with negative results. I have also had x-rays done on my lower back, which came back normal. I have tried several exercises and stretches, as well as many prescriptions with no relief. What could be the problem?

Answer

Based on your description of joint and back pain that has been going on for five years, there is a large differential diagnosis related to these complaints, which are beyond the scope of this discussion. In general, with regards to the symptoms you are describing, it is best to be evaluated by a primary care physician who will be able to assess your medical history and presenting complaints and decide upon the appropriate work up. Your prior work up for lupus and rheumatoid is appropriate, and there are other autoimmune diseases that they may want to test you for as well. It is not in the description but obesity is a major cause of low back pain as well as chronic joint pain. A diet an exercise regimen and a moderate amount of weight loss may help you improve the pain symptoms you are having. There are other degenerative diseases within the spine itself, such as degenerative disc disease which at your young age are unlikely, may still be a possibility. Imaging studies will be best to evaluate for issues related to the spine itself, and this may be necessary if you appear to have clinical symptoms related to this.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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