Unilateral Joint Pain Overview
The joint pain is one of the most common problems in the world today. There are around 54.4 million American adults that are diagnosed with arthritis today, and this figure is expected to grow to 78 million by 2040, according to the statistics. You may have already experienced some sort of joint pain previously, or you may be suffering from the joint pain now, but, have you experienced aching joints in the whole part of your left or only right side?
If you have experienced it in the past, or youre experiencing this type of pain now, then there is a high chance that it is the unilateral joint pain. This type of joint pain is really annoying, and it can significantly hamper your quality of life. The unilateral joint pain is the type of joint pain that leads to soreness and tenderness on only one part of the body. The pain on the right knee, ankle, or wrist is some of the examples of the unilateral joint pain.
What Is ‘sudden Arthritis’ Exactly
The term sudden arthritis refers to inflammation and swelling in the joints with a quick onset, Nicole M. Cotter, MD, a physician board-certified in rheumatology and integrative medicine at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
According to the CDC, the primary symptoms of arthritis in general are:
- Joint pain
- Redness andstiffness in the joints
Some additional symptoms, such as fever and fatigue, can also occur with arthritis.
There are a few possible explanations when the condition seems to appear out of the blue.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis affects everyone differently. In some people, joint symptoms develop over several years. In other people, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms progress rapidly. Many people have time with symptoms and then time with no symptoms .
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Pain, swelling, stiffness and tenderness in more than one joint.
- Stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods.
- Pain and stiffness in the same joints on both sides of your body.
Important Considerations For People With Arthritis Of The Hip
There is no cure for arthritis. Typically, it starts gradually and worsens over time. Eventually, all forms of arthritis of the hip may permanently damage the hip joint. While osteoarthritis is more common in older people, there are forms of arthritis that affect younger people.
Fortunately, there are things that can be done to help minimize the effect of arthritis, and we are glad to discuss these option.
- 22% of the U.S. population in 2010 reported some form of arthritis
- Among adults over 65, 50% have some form of arthritis
- The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis
- Weight loss of just 11 pounds can reduce a womans risk of developing knee arthritis by 50%
- Of working age people , one-third of those who had arthritis reported it limited their ability to work
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Who Gets Rheumatoid Arthritis And Why
About one out of every 100 adults has rheumatoid arthritis. For most people, it begins between 30 and 50 years of age. Women are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than men. Smokers are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than nonsmokers. No one knows what causes rheumatoid arthritis. Some infections may cause it, and it may run in families.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Osteoarthritis
Researchers suspect that osteoarthritis is caused by a combination of factors in the body and the environment. The chance of developing osteoarthritis increases with age.
Putting too much stress on a joint that has been previously injured, improper alignment of joints, and excess weight all may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
Symptoms Of Ra Include Some Or All Of The Following:
- Swollen, tender, or warm joints
- Symmetric swollen joints , such as in both your right and left wrists
- Swollen joints in the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand
- Other swollen joints such as the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet
- Feeling tired and having low energy
- Pain and stiffness that lasts for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest
- Symptoms that last for many years
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When Should I See My Doctor
Joints get sore and swollen for many reasons. It could be due to an injury, overuse, or doing a new type of physical activity.
See your doctor if you have pain and stiffness that starts with no clear reason, lasts for more than a few days, and also causes swelling, redness and warmth. It is important to start treatment as soon as possible to prevent the condition from getting worse and causing long-term damage.
Some People Experience Fatigue And Other Flu
Up to a third of patients have more systemic symptoms before or along with joint pain and inflammation. This can include fatigue, muscle pain, mood changes, and low-grade fever. As the digital arthritis community CreakyJoints puts it, “Some patients describe the symptoms of RA as being ‘flu-like’ that general yucky feeling you get when you are on the verge of getting sick.”
Although these symptoms can be an early sign of RA, because they overlap with other illnesses, RA usually isn’t the first thing the doctor considers, especially without joint pain.
Other symptoms many don’t realize can also indicate RA include rashes, easily bruising, itchy and dry eyes, and sharp chest pain brought on my irritation of the costosternal joints, which connect the ribs to the breastbone.
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Causes Of Morning Stiffness From Arthritis
Feeling stiff when you first wake up in the morning is a common problem associated with arthritis. Morning stiffness causes you to hurt all over as you get out of bed. As you take your first steps, your joints and muscles ache so much, you want to crawl right back into bed. In fact, morning stiffness can be the most severe pain you feel all day and it can impair or interfere with your ability to function and perform routine tasks and activities of daily living.
Paying attention to the duration of your morning stiffness will help both you and your healthcare provider decide how to deal with it. Morning stiffness that lasts more than an hour and in some cases up to several hours is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory types of arthritis. Morning stiffness that is less prolonged is more likely to be osteoarthritis or another non-inflammatory, musculoskeletal condition. In spite of having a regular treatment regimen, morning stiffness is a persistent problem for many people with arthritis.
Causes Of Sudden Arthritis Symptoms
“Sudden arthritis” is not a real medical condition, but the symptoms of arthritis â namely, joint pain and swelling â can develop very abruptly in some people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
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Arthritis can also come and go, so you could feel tip-top one day and wake up feeling sore and achy the next.
Here’s more on why arthritis might seem to come on all of a sudden, including when you should call a doctor about your symptoms.
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How Osteoarthritis Is Treated
Medical treatment for OA is fairly straightforward, primarily consisting of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen to control pain and inflammation. Steroid injections in an affected joint can sometimes provide relief.
There arent as many disease-modifying agents for OA as there are for inflammatory arthritis, says Dr. Shadick. There arent as many medications that can stop osteoarthritis dead in its tracks. The race to discover or develop medications dubbed DMOADs disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs that would halt or reverse joint degeneration is currently a very active area of research.
Right now theres no way to reverse the joint damage that has occurred as a result of osteoarthritis. But theres still a lot that can be done to reduce the pain and disability, says Dr. Shadick, citing physical therapy, joint-strengthening exercises, support , and pain control.
The progression of osteoarthritis can be slowed with lifestyle changes, too. Theres been some very interesting work done on a healthy diet a diet thats not high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fast food and how its actually shown been shown to slow the progression of OA, says Dr. Shadick. A so-called anti-inflammatory diet, which may help all types of arthritis, includes fatty fish, healthy fats like canola oil, flaxseed, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and green leafy vegetables.
What Are The Treatments Methods
Do not try to treat yourself without consulting a doctor. It is because there are varieties of treatments available for your joint pain, and its crucial to choose the right treatment method for you depending on the cause of the pain. Just choosing the treatment method randomly without consulting is one of the dumbest things you can do.Most of the people sadly make this mistake and choose one of the treatment methods randomly. By doing this silly mistake, you will be wasting your time and money, and you wont get rid of your pain as well.
Among many treatment methods available to treat your joint pain, physical therapy is the most common one that is recommended for most of the patients. Being active in physical therapy and doing mild exercises on a regular basis can help in enhancing the range of motion of your body, and your joint supporting muscles will also be strengthened.
The study conducted by American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to check out the impact of physical therapy on osteoarthritis patients showed that regular physical therapy was able to significantly improve their mobility, reduce their pain, and improve overall condition.
Another popular treatment method is corticosteroid treatment. This treatment method can help you get rid of inflammation and pain from the affected joint.
Like I said before, the treatment method depends on your condition. There are many treatment methods for you, so do not worry.
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How The Body Feels Pain
Pain works in mysterious ways. Actually, pain works in a couple different ways when it comes to the signals received by the brain, but Im sure you dont want a biochemistry 101 course, so this is the simplified version.
There are two types of pain receptors. One receptor reports injuries to the brain, and the other reports everything else. Because of these two types of receptors, pain also comes in two types :
- First Pain: This pain sensation is quickly transmitted. It is a sharp pain, similar to a pinprick. It is usually a localized pain as well meaning it comes from a specific area of the body, like your finger, or lip .
- Second Pain: As its name suggests, second pain typically follows first pain. It has a slower onset but is longer lasting. Typically diffusely localized, it is usually a dull, throbbing, or burning sensation and continues after the stimulus that caused the pain is removed.
Our central nervous system has the ability to modify its perception of pain. This is why when you are working out, you dont feel the back injury you just inflicted on yourself. You feel it the next day instead. This is also the brains gateway mechanism for pain. For example, if you have chronic pain in your leg, and you smash your hand with a bust of George Washington, your brain will register the pain in your hand, but your leg wont hurt anymore.
Now that we know a little bit about the different pain receptors, lets look at the different types of pain medications.
Can Arthritis Cause Numbness
Numbness is often a symptom of nerve involvement. For instance, numbness in the arm may be related to nerve irritation in the neck. In such a situation, turning or bending the head to the involved side may increase the symptoms. For example, a pinched nerve in the right side of the neck may cause numbness in the arm and hand when a person attempts to look back over the right shoulder. If nerve irritation becomes more severe, the arm and hand may become weak. A physical examination X-rays and an MRI of the neck and electrodiagnostic tests may be useful in establishing the diagnosis.
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Other Types Of Joint Disease
Two factors that may affect the symptoms of osteoarthritis, but arent a direct cause of it are the weather and diet:
Many people with osteoarthritis find that changes in the weather make the pain worse, especially when the atmospheric pressure is falling for example, just before it rains. Although the weather may affect the symptoms of your arthritis, it doesnt cause it.
Some people find that certain foods seem to increase or lessen their pain and other symptoms. However, your weight is more likely than any other specific dietary factors to affect your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Read more about osteoarthritis of the spine.
What’s New In Arthritis Research
Progress is so fast in some areas of arthritis research today that the media often report new findings before the medical journal with the information reaches your doctor’s office. As a result, you need to know how to evaluate reports on new arthritis research.
Arthritis researchers are looking at four broad areas of research. These include causes, treatments, education and prevention.
Researchers are learning more about certain conditions. For example in osteoarthritis, researchers are looking for signs of early destruction of cartilage and ways to rebuild it. For rheumatoid arthritis and other types that involve inflammation, researchers are trying to understand the steps that lead to inflammation and how it can be slowed or stopped. An initial study suggests that fibromyalgia affects more older people than originally thought and often may be overlooked in this group. Your doctor can tell you about other new research findings. If you would like to take part in arthritis research, ask your doctor for a referral to a study in your area.
Many people help make arthritis research possible. The federal government through its National Institutes of Health is the largest supporter of arthritis research. Drug companies do the most research on new medications.
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The Chicken Or The Egg
If strength and volitional control is so poor in several muscle groups bilaterally in patients with knee arthritis, the classic which came first, the chicken or the egg question comes to mind. Does knee arthritis have such a dramatic impact on muscle impairments of the body or did these impairments precede, and potentially facilitate, the develop of knee arthritis?
There have some studies published that prospectively showed that weaker quadriceps strength was correlated to the development of knee arthritis. This makes sense to me, as it certainly appears that several of the above factors could be related to general deconditioning of the patient.
Perhaps there is a reason that we see bilateral deficits with the involved knee showing greater impairments. Maybe knee arthritis begins with a certain level of weakness, imbalances, and overall deconditioning. Then overtime, this deconditioning is superimposed with inhibition from the natural consequences of knee arthritis, such as effusion, pain, and inflammation.
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Injections For Shoulder Arthritis
There are currently two types of injections that can provide pain relief for shoulder arthritis. The first type is cortisone shots. Typically, cortisone is mixed with a numbing agent that provides immediate pain relief and helps your doctor know if the injection is in the right place. Once the numbing medicine wears off, the joint may be sore until the cortisone kicks in. Its important to ice the shoulder for a day or so after the shot.
Cortisone shots dont damage the shoulder, but most surgeons limit them to no more than a few a year in most cases of arthritis. Cortisone shots may increase the risk of infection if you undergo a total shoulder replacement soon after the shot. If you are considering the surgery, consider avoiding cortisone shots a few months prior.
The other medicine that can help with shoulder arthritis is synthetically manufactured hyaluronic acid. Its a naturally occurring lubricant in the human body. This liquid substance has been injected into arthritic knees for many years. This injection sometimes helps with the pain for up to two years, but it is unusual for it to take all the pain away for an extended period of time.
The current recommendation is not to have shoulder replacement surgery within three months of having a cortisone shot in the shoulder. If you are considering surgery, it is best to avoid cortisone shots until you have discussed it with your doctor.
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Other Pain Relief Treatments
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
A TENS machine sends electrical pulses to your nerve endings through pads placed on your skin. It produces a tingling sensation and is thought to relieve pain by altering pain signals sent to the brain. The research evidence on the effectiveness of TENS is mixed, but some people do find it helpful. A physiotherapist will be able to advise on the types of TENS machine available and how to use them. Or they may be able to loan you one to try before you buy.
Hyaluronic acid injections
Hyaluronic acid, or hyaluronan, is a lubricant and shock absorber thats found naturally in the fluid in your joints. Injections of hyaluronic acid have sometimes been used as a treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The treatment isnt currently available on the NHS because research evidence on its long-term effectiveness is mixed. The treatment is, however, available privately.