Over time, the persistent inflammation not only causes pain, it breaks down the joint and damages it permanently. RA inflammation can also affect internal organs like the liver, heart, spleen and eyes. When RA affects children, it is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. This disease can be particularly severe and damaging to young joints.

People with RA often have flares of pain, or sudden onsets of severe inflammation that may last for days or weeks. To treat RA pain, doctors often prescribe drugs to stop the malfunctioning inflammatory response. These medications include disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) which, as the name implies, halt the processes that cause inflammation and biologic response modifiers (biologics), a subset of DMARDs that work at the cellular level. By stopping the body’s out-of-control inflammation, the pain can be controlled. People with RA may also take NSAIDs or analgesics in addition to the disease-modifying drugs that address their immune system problems.

Fibromyalgia

Unlike other arthritis-related diseases that involve damage to or disease within the joints, fibromyalgia pain affects the body’s soft tissues, including muscles, rather than the bones and joints.

Originally, fibromyalgia mystified doctors because they couldn’t see any physical evidence of disease or injury in the painful joints. In time, research showed that people with fibromyalgia may have imbalanced levels of certain chemicals in their bodies, including serotonin. These substances may cause the brain to sense pain more intensely, or interfere with the person’s ability to sleep deeply, leading to a reduced ability to recover and an increased sensitivity to pain.

People with fibromyalgia sense pain in and around areas of the body called tender points. At these sensitive spots, often near joints, increased sensitivity to stimuli and intense, aching pain can occur. To address fibromyalgia pain, doctors often prescribe drugs to address imbalances in serotonin or other key neurochemicals. Drugs for treating fibromyalgia pain include antidepressants like selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and anticonvulsant drugs like pregabalin (Lyrica), the first drug specifically approved to treat fibromyalgia pain.

Gout

Most form of arthritis pain develop and intensify slowly over time. With gout, however, you can go to bed feeling fine and wake up with excruciating pain and tenderness. Gout usually strikes in the large joint of the big to, but can also affect other joints such as the feet, ankles, knees, elbows, hands, wrists, elbows and sometimes even soft tissues and tendons.

Gout pain results from a condition called hyperuricemia, which simply means you have a high level of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid forms when the body breaks down waste products called purines, which are found in plant- and animal-based foods. Some people’s bodies produce an excess of uric acid; other people don’t overproduce too much acid, but their kidneys can’t eliminate the amount they do produce quickly enough.

When uric acid isn’t eliminated, it can form crystals in the fluid that lubricates joint linings, and that results in painful joint swelling and inflammation. If gout goes untreated, these crystals can form tophi – lumps in the affected joints or surrounding tissues.