Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Is joint pain a sign that I may be falling ill?"


The last time I had the flu I fell asleep with joint pain and woke up with the flu. Now I am experiencing mild joint pain and worry it could be the flu again. What else causes joint pain?


Joint pain can be very frustrating because of the way in which it disrupts the activities of daily life, including work, sleep, and athletic activities. If you have concerns about your joints or about specific aches and pains, the best place to start is with your primary care physician. He or she can take a thorough history to find out if you have any additional changes in your health or home medications, as well as evaluating your family history.

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A physical exam is also an important part of evaluating joint pain. It is hard to say exactly what is causing your joint pain, but in the absence of fever, chills, muscle aches, contact with someone with the flu, or other similar symptoms, it is unlikely to be influenza. The list of things that can cause joint pain is rather extensive, and this is why it is important to have your concerns evaluated by someone who can put your symptoms in the context of your overall health. Overuse injuries from sports or even daily activities can cause joint pain, as can arthritis (of which there are several different kinds). Autoimmune diseases as well as infections can also cause joint pain. Overall, joint pain is something you want to have evaluated so you can get back to enjoying your life, but is also something that is very common and is not often caused by serious illness. Best of all, many kinds of joint pain can be treated very effectively! Again, talk to your primary care physician for more information.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.