June 2023 | Eurobio


Joint discomfort may affect the function of the joint, and can limit a person’s ability to do basic tasks. Arthritis and arthralgia are related terms but have distinct differences. Both are related to joint pains and can affect the quality of life. In this post, we will be discussing the signs and symptoms of these two conditions, what causes them and also what are their similarities and differences. 

What is arthralgia?

Arthralgia is made up of two Greek words, arthro (joint) and algos (pain), and it means pain in a joint. It is not a specific medical condition but rather a symptom that can occur due to various medical conditions. Generally arthralgia is used to describe joint pain not caused by inflammatory diseases like arthritis. When you have pain in several joints, it is called polyarthralgia. 

Why is knowing about arthralgia important?

Arthralgia can cause pain and discomfort in our daily life. Besides affecting daily activities, it also affects our mobility, sleep, and overall well-being. Understanding arthralgia can help us to recognise and describe the signs and symptoms to healthcare professionals accurately. This will enable a more accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan. 

 Besides treatment, it is best to take preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of developing arthralgia or worsening of the symptoms. This may include maintaining a healthy weight, adopting proper posture and avoiding overuse or repetitive strain on our joints. 

What are the symptoms and signs of arthralgia? 

Arthralgia can affect one or more joints in the body. The symptoms associated with arthralgia can vary depending on the underlying cause and the specific joint affected. The pain may be constant or intermittent and can vary in intensity. Some of the symptoms may include: 

  • Dull, aching or sharp pain 
  • Mild ache or soreness 
  • Limited joint motion 
  • Swelling and stiffness 
  • Locking of the joint 
  • Weakness 

Some symptoms may appear only when taking part in certain activities such as exercising, and at certain times, the symptoms may also appear for no reason. 

signs and symptoms of arthralgia

What are the common causes of arthralgia?

Arthralgia can have many different underlying causes. Some of these can be mild while some causes may require medical attention or medication. Conditions that may cause arthralgia may include:

  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Osteoarthritis commonly caused by cartilage damage in the joints 
  • Infections 
  • Gout, which are crystals formed in the joints 
  • Injury, such as fractures 
  • Allergic reaction to food or medication 
  • Overuse of a joint such as excessive exercise 

What is arthritis? 

Arthritis is a broad term used to describe inflammation of the joints. Arthritis can affect one or more joints in the body and can be chronic or acuteThere are many types of arthritis with different types of cause and treatment. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

What are the symptoms and signs of arthritis?

The symptoms of arthritis can vary depending on the type of arthritis and the joints that are affected. A few of common signs and symptoms are listed below: 

  • Joint pain 
  • Joint stiffness 
  • Hot and swelling joint 
  • Joint redness 
  • Limited motion on a joint 
  • Deformed joint 

It is important to know that arthritis is a complex condition therefore, the symptoms can vary from person to person. 

What are the common causes of arthritis? 

There are several types of arthritis, with the most common ones listed below: 

  • Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis is more common in older people as it is caused by natural wear and tear of joint cartilage over time. Aging, repetitive joint use, joint injuries, obesity, and genetic factors are the most common risk factors of osteoarthritis. 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis 

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune form of arthritis where the immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy joint tissues. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

  • Gout 

    Gout occurs due to the building up of uric acid crystals in the joints. It usually affects the joint in the big toe but it may affect other joints as well. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body, mainly associated with dietary factors, genetic predisposition, and certain medical conditions. 

  • Infectious arthritis 

    Some infections will cause arthritis such as bacterial or viral infection, which can cause joint inflammation and joint damage.

  • Psoriatic arthritis 

    Certain individuals with psoriasis can develop some form of arthritis. It is believed to be an autoimmune condition, where the immune system attacks healthy joint tissues. 

How are arthralgia and arthritis diagnosed

Both arthralgia and arthritis can be diagnosed through a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, laboratory tests, and imaging studies. Scans may be done to check for joint inflammation and damage and this information can be used to help tell the difference between types of arthritis and can be used to monitor how your condition is progressing over time. There may also be joint fluid analysis in cases where joint swelling is present. 

How are arthralgia and arthritisis treated? 

The treatment for arthralgia and arthritis depends on the underlying cause, severity of symptoms, and the specific type of arthritis. Common treatment options are listed below:  

  • Medication as prescribed by doctors 
  • Over the counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation of the joints 
  • Physical therapies and exercises 
  • Proper technique and low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling, and walking can help to improve joint mobility and reduce pain without placing excessive stress on the joints.
    swimming can help improve joint mobility
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce burden on our joints and reduce the risk of further joint damage. 
  • Taking fish oil supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids can also help to manage inflammation in arthritis. Other supplements like glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate can help to slow down the osteoarthritis progression and manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis. 
  • Applying heat or cold packs to the affected joint can help to relieve the pain and inflammation on the joint. 
  • Using canes, walkers, or other assistive devices can also help reduce joint stress and improve mobility.
    canes and walkers can help reduce joint stress
  • In certain serious joint damage, surgery might be needed such as joint replacement surgery.  

What are the complications of arthralgia and arthritis?

Both arthralgia and arthritis can lead to several complications, and especially if they are left untreated and ignored. Chronic inflammation in arthritis can lead to progressive joint damage and erosion of cartilageThis can result in joint deformities, restricted range of motion, and functional impairment. Chronic pain and limitations in mobility experienced by individuals suffering from arthralgia or arthritis will significantly reduce their quality of life. They may have to be more dependent on others and this may lead to decreased productivity and emotional distress. Depression, anxiety, and decreased overall well-being are common in individuals with joint problems. 

What are the differences and similarities?  

Although both share many similarities, arthralgia refers to joint pain irrespective of the cause, and does not always mean that arthritis is present. Arthritis involves inflammation of one or more joints. It’s important to note that arthralgia can be a symptom of arthritis, but not all cases of arthralgia necessarily indicate the presence of arthritis. If you do experience signs or symptoms of joint discomfort, do pay a visit to a healthcare professional to evaluate the symptoms, conduct appropriate tests, and receive accurate diagnosis and treatment. 



  1. Joint Pain. Pennmedicine.org. (n.d.). https://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/patient-information/conditions-treated-a-to-z/joint-pain 
  2. Rob S Williams, M. (n.d.). Arthralgia (joint pain): Causes and solutions. Arthralgia (Joint Pain): Causes and Solutions. https://www.coastalorthoteam.com/blog/arthralgia-joint-pain-causes-and-solutions#:~:text=If%20your%20joints%20are%20aching,allergic%20reactions%20or%20food%20intolerances.  

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Sleep apnea syndrome is a common yet prevalent sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Sleep apnea syndrome if left untreated will impact both physical and mental well-being. Therefore, it is important to understand sleep apnea syndrome to help individuals to recognise the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea syndrome and seek appropriate diagnosis and treatment. In this post, we will be discussing what sleep apnea syndrome is, discuss its symptoms, explore the common causes and provide some management and prevention tips for sleep apnea syndrome. 

What is sleep apnea syndrome?

Sleep apnea syndrome, also known as sleep apnea, is a sleep disorder characterized by recurring episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep. You might have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and still feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. Sleep apnea can have a significant impact on a person’s health and well-being and if left untreated, may lead to more serious problems. 

What are the types of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is typically classified into three main types: 

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

    This is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleep, which leads to the partial or complete blockage of the airway. This type of sleep apnea causes breathing interruptions, resulting in reduced oxygen levels and fragmented, nonrestorative sleep. OSA is often characterized by loud and disruptive snoring, gasping or choking sounds, and frequent awakenings throughout the night which leads to excessive daytime sleepiness. 

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

    Central sleep apnea is less common and differs from obstructive sleep apnea in its underlying causes. CSA occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles responsible for controlling breathing during sleep. This lack of drive to breathe during sleep results in insufficient ventilation and compromised gas exchange and a temporary cessation of respiratory effort. Unlike OSA, there is no physical blockage or obstruction in the airway. 

  • Treatment-emergent central sleep apnea

    Also known as complex sleep apnea, this is a combination of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. It occurs when a person initially presented with obstructive sleep apnea, but developed into central sleep apnea after receiving treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Complex sleep apnea can be more challenging to manage as it requires addressing both the blockage in airways as well as the central control of breathing.

Sleep apnea can also be classified based on severity, ranging from mild to severe. 

Why is knowing about sleep apnea important?

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can have significant implications for an individual’s health. People with sleep apnea are associated with an increased risk of various health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, stroke and diabetes.  

Sleep apnea will also significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Without sufficient rest due to the interrupted sleep throughout the night, it can impair alertness and increase risk of accidents, especially performing tasks that require high levels of concentration. Excessive daytime sleepiness can also lead to decreased vigilance, slower reaction time and impaired decision-making abilities. 

Knowing about sleep apnea is important to help individuals identify the risk factors and take preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of developing the condition. Individuals can also explore treatment options to improve their quality of life. 

What are the symptoms andsigns of sleep apnea? 

Sleep apnea can present a variety of symptoms, which may vary in severity among individuals. Symptoms of sleep apnea mainly happen while you sleep and may include: 

  • Loud snoring 

    Intense and frequent snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea. This type of snoring may be loud and disruptive, which are sometimes accompanied with gasping, snorting or choking sounds. 

    loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea

  • Pauses in breathing 

    These pauses can last for a few seconds to a minute and are usually followed by a loud snort or gasp as breathing resumes. 

  • Waking up a lot

    Sleep apnea disrupts the normal sleep pattern, causing frequent awakenings throughout the night. People with sleep apnea may experience a sense of restlessness and a feeling of exhaustion despite spending an adequate amount of time in bed. 

Due to these sleep disruption, sleep apnea may also result in discomfort during the day, such as: 

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness 

    Feeling excessively tired or drowsy during the day even after a full night’s sleep is a common symptom of sleep apnea. Individuals may find it hard to stay awake or concentrate on tasks in various situations. 

    excessive daytime sleepiness is a common symptom of sleep apnea

  • Morning headaches 

    Having a headache when you wake up, especially in the morning can be a symptom of sleep apnea. The blockage in their airway prevents our body from getting enough oxygen during sleep which leads to oxygen deprivation, therefore leading to headaches upon waking up. 

  • Irritability and mood swings

    Due to sleep deprivation, individuals may experience mood swings due to restlessness and feeling irritable, which will lead to  a variety of psychological problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. 

  • Dry mouth or sore throat

    Breathing through the mouth due to airway obstruction during sleep can cause dry mouth or a sore throat upon waking. 

It is important to note that while the above signs and symptoms may indicate the presence of sleep apnea, a proper medical diagnosis is still necessary for confirmation.  

What are the common causes of sleep apnea?

Many conditions can cause sleep apnea, and often multiple factors contribute to its development. The common causes of sleep apnea include: 

  • Obesity and overweight

    This is a common cause of sleep apnea. People who are obese or overweight have increased fat deposits in their necks. This accumulation of fat can narrow the airway, making it more prone to collapse during sleep. 

  • Age and gender

    Sleep apnea can happen to anyone at any age, but it becomes more prevalent as individuals age. Besides building up fatty tissues, normal changes in how your brain controls breathing during sleep may increase your risk of sleep apnea as you age. Generally, sleep apnea is also more common in men. 

  • Anatomical factors

    Certain structural abnormalities in the upper airway can increase the risk of sleep apnea, such as large tongue, narrow upper airways and large tonsils. 

  • Family history and genetics 

    Individuals with a family history of the condition are more likely to develop it themselves. Besides, your genes can affect how your brain controls your breathing during sleep. 

  • Health conditions

    Various health conditions or underlying medical conditions such as nasal congestion, allergies, heart diseases, neurological diseases and even changes in hormonal level can cause sleep apnea. 

  • Smoking and alcohol consumption

    Smoking can increase the inflammation in your upper airway, contributing to sleep apnea. The use of alcohol and sedatives will relax the muscles in the throat, making the airway more prone to collapse during sleep. It also affects how your brain controls sleep and the muscles involved in breathing. 

How is sleep apnea diagnosed? 

Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history evaluation, sleep assessments, and diagnostic tests. Physical examinations may also be conducted to assess anatomical factors that could contribute to sleep apnea, such as neck circumference, nasal congestion, or enlarged tonsils.  

Sleep study, also called polysomnography, is a painless test that measures how well you sleep and how your body responds to sleep problems.  It is a common test to diagnose sleep apnea. It is usually conducted overnight and records the brain waves, heart rate, muscle activities and oxygen level in your blood during a full night of sleep. This information helps to identify the presence and severity of sleep apnea. 

How sleep apnea is treated and managed? 

Sleep apnea can be managed with various treatment approaches but the time it takes to feel improvement can vary among individuals and depends on factors such as the severity of sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes and making certain lifestyle modifications play a big role in managing sleep apnea. These may include losing weight if overweight or obese, avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime, sleeping on your side instead of your back, and practicing good sleep hygiene. 

Breathing devices such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machines is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. The CPAP machine delivers a continuous stream of pressurised air which helps keep the airway open and prevents breathing interruptions. In some cases, surgery may be carried out to remove the obstruction that causes the block of the airway. 

Besides adhering to treatment, we can also incorporate fruits and vegetables that are rich in nutrients in our diet to manage the symptoms caused by sleep apnea. Taking enough B vitamins in our diet ensures our body gets additional support to combat the tiredness and fatigue due to the sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea. 

In conclusion, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or specialist if you think you experience symptoms of sleep apnea, to get an accurate diagnosis. Proper diagnosis can allow appropriate treatment to be carried out at the early stage to effectively manage sleep apnea and improve overall sleep quality and health.  


  • The dangers of uncontrolled sleep apnea. The Dangers of Uncontrolled Sleep Apnea | Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2022a, November 1). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-dangers-of-uncontrolled-sleep-apnea#:~:text=People%20with%20sleep%20apnea%20might,can%20be%20significant%2C%20Jun%20says.  
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.-a). Causes and risk factors. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep-apnea/causes  

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