Joint pain: is it arthritis or something else? How to know?

Virtually no one escapes the inconvenience of occasional body aches, especially as we age. But persistent joint pain and stiffness can be signs of arthritis. Joint pain is a common denominator.

Arthritis can be divided into two types: inflammatory, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and mechanical (normal wear and tear), such as osteoarthritis. Both are often characterized by joint-related symptoms. Joint pain: knees, hips, wrists, indicates that the problem is arthritis. Back pain, neck pain, and joint swelling are also markers of arthritis.

Diagnosis of different types of arthritis

How do you know if your symptoms are due to arthritis or something else? While joint pain and stiffness are the most common terms used to describe arthritis, the warning signs are quite specific. Here’s what you need to know to get the right diagnosis and the best treatment.

1 What it feels like to have pain due to osteoarthritis

Pain is pain, isn’t it? It just hurts. But in order for your doctor to determine if your joint pain is due to osteoarthritis, which develops as cartilage wears down, you need to know when the pain occurs, how severe it is, and how it affects you.

Here are some common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis that can help you identify and better describe your pain to your doctor:

– Pain that penetrates deep into the joint
– Pain that subsides with rest
– Pain that is not noticeable in the morning but worsens during the day.
– Pain that radiates to the buttocks, thighs or groin.
– Joint pain that affects your posture and gait and can lead to lameness.
– Pain that occurs after using the joint
– Swelling of the joint
– Inability to move the joint as much as usual
– Sensation of grinding or snagging of the bones when moving the joint.
– Pain with certain activities, such as getting up from a sitting position or using stairs.
– Pain interfering with work, daily activities and physical exercise.
– Joint stiffness on waking that improves over time.
– Stiffness after resting the joint

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The pain and discomfort sensations of arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis)

Symptoms of RA often include more than joint pain.

Since rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease, it progresses aggressively if not treated in time. Early diagnosis and treatment of RA can prevent or significantly slow the progression of joint damage in up to 90% of patients, preventing irreversible disability. All the more reason to recognize the pain symptoms of RA, many of which are not necessarily associated with arthritis pain. These symptoms may include:

– Joint pain that occurs on both sides of the body, for example in both feet, ankles, wrists or fingers.
– Severe stiffness in the morning, which persists for at least an hour.
– muscle aches throughout the body
– Muscular weakness
– feeling tired or depressed
– Weight loss and lack of appetite
– Slight fever
– Swollen glands
– Joint pain that worsens after prolonged sitting
– Pain that subsides for a while and then gets significantly worse, rather than constant pain.
– Heat and pain in the joints

Describe painful symptoms to your doctor

To determine if your pain is due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another type of arthritis, your doctor will ask you many questions about your pain, how it affects your life and your body, when it occurs and its intensity. Your doctor may ask you to rate your pain on a scale from 1 (almost no pain) to 10 (unbearable pain).

Before talking with your doctor, think about the words you want to use to describe your joint pain. Here are some terms that will help your doctor get an overview. Pick the ones that best describe how your arthritis pain feels:

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– Throbbing pain
– Acute or fulgurating
– Hot or hot
– Squealing

Take notes on the frequency, intensity and triggers of pain.

Try keeping a diary of your daily sensations, assessing your pain at different times and after different activities. Write down what relieves your pain and what makes it worse. Also share with your doctor what you can and cannot do because of your pain. For example, note if you can comfortably drive a car but have trouble holding a fork. Your doctor will also want to know if you have any other symptoms, such as a fever or a rash, that could indicate another type of arthritis.

The long-term impact of arthritis on your health varies greatly from person to person, as well as the type and severity of arthritis. Nevertheless, a diagnosis and treatment are not only important for your physical health, but also for your emotional health. Anxiety and depression can occur with almost any chronic disease. Arthritis is no exception to the rule.


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