Joints are the point where two bones articulate and move. Our bodies have between 250 and 350 joints, connecting many bones and allowing us to be mobile! Read on to learn about the different types and some common causes of joint pain.

Types of joints

Joints are bound by connective ligaments. Smooth cartilage covers the end of bones to prevent friction. Some have a fluid-filled membrane around them known as a joint capsule. And many joints also have fluid-filled pockets located close by to where tendons and muscles attach. These are called bursae (individually ‘bursa’). These also allow for smooth movement of a joint.

There are three types of joints based on their ability to move: synarthrosis or immovable; amphiarthrosis or slightly movable; and diarthrosis or freely moveable.

Here’s a rundown on each type in more detail:

  • Immovable: they are fixed or fibrous. This is when two or more bones are found close together and there is little to no movement at all (e.g. skull bones).
  • Slightly movable: known as cartilaginous. They are held tightly together, so have limited range of motion, e.g. the vertebrae of the spine.
  • Freely movable: these are enclosed by synovial fluid to lubricate the joint and allow smooth movement. They promote movement and are the most common type of joint in the body.

There are 6 types of freely moving joints – we’ll take a look at them in the next section.

Freely movable joints

Here are the six types of freely moving joints:

  1. Ball and socket: allows movement in all directions, e.g. your shoulder or hip.
  2. Pivot: or rotary joint. When one bone pivots inside a ring formed by the other bone, e.g. the upper neck.
  3. Saddle: for back and forth and side to side movement, e.g. base of your thumb.
  4. Hinge: open and close movement like a door hinge. Examples are the knees and elbows.
  5. Gliding: or the plane joint. This involves limited movement with two smooth surfaces slipping over one another, e.g. the joint in your wrist.
  6. Condyloid: movement without rotation – e.g. your jaw or fingers.

Joint disorders

There are different diseases and disorders that can affect the joints and cause pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a common condition that causes joint pain and stiffness. You can also experience injuries such as sprains and dislocated joints.

Can chiropractic treatment be used to treat joint pain?

Yes, chiropractic treatment can be used to treat joint pain. As chiropractors, we will assess your symptoms and condition and determine the most appropriate form of treatment. This may include joint mobilisation and soft-tissue therapies. We can also work on the tightness and spasms in surrounding muscles and tissue that may arise due to joint pain to get you moving freely without pain, and to restore function.

If you’re having any issues with your joints, come and see us! Give us a call on +61 3 5381 1892, or email us at info@back4life.com.au to book an appointment!