Do you think you know all there is to know about joint pain? Whether you've had it for years or just recently, whether it's severe and chronic or minimal and fleeting, it never hurts to brush up on the facts and myths involving this all-too-common condition:

Myth #1: Joint pain is not preventable.

Fact: Although you may have inherited a gene that predisposes you to arthritis and other conditions, you don't necessarily have to develop joint pain. While the exact causes of joint pain may not be obvious, scientists do know that it can occur after a joint injury or following overuse of the joint, such as with marathon running. Being overweight is a significant contributor to joint pain.

Myth #2: I can't exercise because I have joint pain.

Fact: Exercise is good for people with joint pain! It helps get rid of pain and stiffness, strengthens the muscles surrounding the joint, and keeps the joint flexible and able to move. Moderate exercise such as stationary biking, walking, or swimming is recommended over more vigorous pursuits such as running, and a regimen of weight training is beneficial as well.

Myth #3: My joint pain is not treatable.

Fact: Since your joints can become stressed if they're carrying too much weight, losing even a few extra pounds can help ease joint pain. It's also important to follow a moderate exercise program as outlined above, building in plenty of rest between workouts. Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers may help also, as may heat treatments or alternating heat and cold sessions. Studies also have shown that massage, chiropractic, and reflexology can give significant relief to people suffering from joint pain.

Myth #4: My joint pain is definitely arthritis.

Fact: Yes, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis with which you can be diagnosed, but having achy, painful joints does not mean you have the disease. Your pain could be caused by a soft-tissue injury, bursitis, some type of infection, or even depression. Only a visit to a doctor will help you know for sure what the cause is.

Myth #5: My joint pain won't lead to other medical problems.

Fact: Studies have shown that people experiencing chronic pain often have severely compromised lives and can fall prey to depression and other psychological disorders as a result. Therefore, it's very important to seek treatment for your joint pain as soon as possible.