If your joints, especially the hips, knees, and fingers experience a persistent aching, you could have arthritis. If you are unaware of the symptoms of this pain, it may continue to worsen while you remain oblivious to this debilitating autoimmune disease.
Body ache is quite common even among younger people today because of poor dietary choices and an unhealthy lifestyle. You know, sitting down all day and never exercising in the evening. That is not the person you want to be.
However, if you suffer from constant stiffness in joints and pain in the knees are clear-cut signs of arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this painful disease currently affects more than 54.4 million American adults!
Joint pain could merely be age-related, or it could be a sign of arthritis. Symptoms such as a sharp pain in the elbow, creaking knees, achy shoulders, stiff ankles, and sore hips are commonplace among the elderly. Astonishingly, the victims of joint pain include young adults and juveniles too, particularly if they have arthritis.
Steady joint pain is a sign of a degenerative joint disease called osteoarthritis. Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, commonly abbreviated as RA. This type of arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can damage anything from skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Back pain, neck pain, and joint swelling are also common symptoms of arthritis.
How can you and your doctor ensure that the symptoms you are currently facing are signs of arthritis and not something else? Just a persistent joint pain, swelling, or stiffness is no guarantee that you are suffering from this disease. A temporary illness such as viral fever or unexplained fatigue could also cause such symptoms. Here a few crucial points on how to get correctly diagnosed and receive the most appropriate treatment.
Here are some common signs of osteoarthritis that may help you understand your pain and better describe it to your doctor:
• The pain originates from a spot that feels like it lies deep in the joint.
• The pain goes down with rest.
• The pain may not be noticeable in the morning, but it increases as the day progresses.
• The pain might aggravate and radiate further into your buttocks, thighs, or groin areas.
• The joint pain adversely affects your posture, which might lead to limping.
• The pain causes your joints to swell up.
• You find yourself unable to move your joint as freely as you would want to.
• You feel that the bones are sensitive and there is grating or friction when they move.
• There is a sharp pain while performing certain activities, such as getting up after sitting for some time, sitting down after standing for some time, or even using the stairs.
• The pain interferes with your regular work, exercise and other routine day to day activities.
• The pain aggravates when the air is humid or during the rainy season.
• Joint stiffness might occur in the morning, and this continues to worsen as the day goes by.
• Stiffness occurs immediately after the joint is put into motion after a long period of inertia.
In case of rheumatoid arthritis or RA, medical researchers say that the pain often starts after you have used the joint to perform a physically demanding activity. For instance, if you have been gardening for an hour, or if you rapidly climbed a flight of stairs, the pain could get triggered in the joints.
Some people feel soreness in the joints first thing in the morning. Others report an achy feeling whenever the weather is rainy or there are fluctuations in humidity levels.
With RA, you may also encounter good days when your pain suddenly subsides or vanishes completely. Symptoms of RA often include more than joint pain, and it is easy to believe that they might not be associated with arthritis pain. Some of the key signs to watch out for include:
• The joint pain occurs on both sides of your body (for instance, both feet, ankles, wrists, or fingers).
• A significant degree of stiffness occurs in the morning for at least an hour or more.
• Body ache or muscle pain all over.
• Weakness in the muscles.
• A feeling of tiredness and bouts of depression.
• Involuntary weight loss, and poor or no appetite at all.
• Continued feverish tendency or a slightly high body temperature.
• Soreness and swelling in the glands.
• Painful joint stiffness and pains day after day, especially after prolonged sitting periods.
• Pain that eases out after some time and then suddenly worsens, rather than a consistent level of pain.
• Heat and soreness in the joints.
To determine if joint pain is due to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or any other form of arthritis, your physician is likely to question you thoroughly about the qualities of the pain as well as about how it affects your body. They may also question you about how it is impacting your everyday life, at what time of the day the pain occurs, how frequently it happens, and how bad it typically gets.
Many doctors will also ask you to rate your pain on a scale from 1 (almost no pain) to 10 (unbearable pain) in a given scenario. You can say that it is 10 out of 10 according to the pain rating spectrum. You need to answer these issues as accurately as possible to help the doctor determine the correct diagnosis.
e well-prepared for your arthritis appointment with the doctor. Try and describe your joint pain or other pains in an objective and clear manner as far as you can. You may like to familiarize yourself with the following terms and phrases that will be helpful for your doctor to evaluate your condition. These terms are the typical descriptions of arthritis pain:
• Pulsating or throbbing.
• Aching or pounding
• Sharp or shooting
• Hot or burning
• Grinding or grating
• Dull or mild
Patients suffering from all types of arthritis are required to stay in constant touch with their doctors and keep them informed all any change in symptoms.
Physicians often advise arthritis patients to maintain a journal or a diary on how they feel every day. Rate your pain at different times of the day and also any changes in pain that take place after specific activities. Write down all about whether you feel better or worse during or after every single significant activity in your day.
Keep your journal regularly updated and share details with your GP. Make sure to share with your doctor about what you can or cannot do due for your pain. For instance, mention whether driving your car on a particular day was comfortable, but it was tough to hold a fork in place.
Your doctor might also want to know about any seemingly unrelated symptoms that you may be experiencing. These could include fever or rashes on your skin, which also might point towards other forms of arthritis.
The long-term impact of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis on a patient’s health may vary on an individual basis. Timely diagnosis and effective treatment are essential as the symptoms can be successfully addressed with appropriate medical attention. Managing arthritis symptoms effectively is not only vital for your physical health, but also for your emotional well-being.