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Common causes of joint pain

Joint pain is a problem that affects countless people in California and the rest of the nation. But not all joint pain is the same, nor should it be treated that way. Joint pain can occur because of a variety of different illnesses and conditions, so it's important to figure out what type of joint pain you are suffering from before you try to treat it.

Here is a brief description of three of the most common types of joint pain along with their typical causes:

Rotator cuff damage occurs when the tendons connecting the arm and shoulder are inflamed or bruised. The pain -- which can be persistent if left untreated -- is usually felt when performing overhead activities, sleeping on the affected shoulder or reaching behind your back.

Rotator cuff damage typically occurs as a result of injuries and repetitive stress, while the pain associated with it often results from normal use. It may be hard to believe, but close to 50 percent of people over the age of 50 have some rotator cuff damage, according to AARP.

Osteoarthritis is another common culprit behind joint pain, and it is also the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage around the joints degenerates or wears down. The pain associated with this type of arthritis is often chronic, but gets worse and night.

Osteoarthritis has been associated with long-term wear and tear on the joints as well as traumatic injuries, such as a car accident or a workplace accident. The condition is most common in people over the age of 50, AARP reported, and it has been genetically linked.

Bursitis is a lesser-known cause of joint pain, and it results from inflammation in the sacs of fluid in a joint, which help to absorb shock during movement. Bursitis typically begins with a dull ache, which can be made worse when moving the arm upward of to the side, away from the body.

Though it is not very well-known, bursitis is actually one of the most common causes of shoulder pain, AARP reported. The injury is often caused by repetitive motion, which can occur on the job or in sports. The condition can also develop spontaneously.

When joint pain prevents a person from working, the individual may be able to qualify for Social Secuirty Disability benefits to help supplement his or her income.

Source: AARP.org, "Ouch! 5 Common Causes of Shoulder Pain," Jodi Helmer, May 30, 2013

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