Each year many people are sidelined by joint pain. If the pain is mild, many just "tough it out," but find that the problem gets worse year by year. Severe joint pain can incapacitate people, making it impossible for them to exercise or live the life they want to live. Most people with joint pain are diagnosed with arthritis, which is a general term for a number of different conditions that involve swollen, painful, and/or stiff joints. The two most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, which affects more than 6.5 million people in the United States alone; and osteoarthritis, which is an age-related degeneration of joints, affected 1 in 7 Americans.

In Australia, anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly prescribed for arthritis. In Asia, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, are the major health care modalities used to fight joint and musculo-skeletal disorders including arthritis.