When To See A Doctor
Theres no single test that determines whether you have RA. Your doctor may run several tests to help confirm a RA diagnosis. These tests include:
- checking your blood for specific antibodies such as rheumatoid factor or anti-CCP antibody
- taking samples of synovial fluid to look for inflammation or infection
- looking for inflammation
- ordering imaging tests to look at your joints and bones or evidence of inflammation or joint damage
Sometimes, X-rays are ineffective in diagnosing the disease. An MRI or ultrasound can show abnormalities in your joints before X-ray changes appear.
Dont be afraid to get a second opinion if youre still experiencing discomfort from your condition. A doctor can prescribe new medications if the ones youre taking arent working.
RA usually appears in people between the ages of 25 and 50. If you arent in this age range, you should still see a doctor if you think youre experiencing symptoms of RA. In the case of RA, the earlier you receive your treatment, the better your outcome is.
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.
Arthritis Feels Like Failure
One of the most painful parts of having arthritis is feeling like you did something to cause all this pain or that youre not dealing with it the right way. So even if someone hasnt had arthritis, theyve certainly experienced those complicated feelings of failure, guilt, and helplessness.
When I first started showing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis my boss refused to let me take time off. His reasoning was that his former colleague could still work after going for chemotherapy, and arthritis is certainly not as bad as cancer, says Eileen, who lives in Malaysia. Sometimes I do wonder if Im overreacting. I feel I should be able to just tough it out. But at the end of the day, the pain is just too much to ignore, and I feel bad even though its not my fault.
Difficulty With Daily Tasks
The combination of joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue can make it difficult to carry on daily activities, and the loss of function can be extremely frustrating. Especially when the hands are affected, its hard to hold a toothbrush, do up buttons or a zipper, open a water bottle, type on a keyboard, says Dr. Bykerk. It can even be difficult to hold a grocery bag or a child. Not being able to function normally and deal with daily life understandably sends many people to the doctor to find out whats wrong.
What Are The Types Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are around 100 types of arthritis. The most common types that might affect your knees include:
- Osteoarthritis is the most common of the types on this list. Osteoarthritis wears away your cartilage the cushioning between the three bones of your knee joint. Without that protection, your bones rub against each other. This can cause pain, stiffness and limited movement. It can also lead to the development of bone spurs. Osteoarthritis gets worse as time passes.
- Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis. The cartilage starts thinning after trauma to your knee . Your bones rub together, and that causes the same symptoms as osteoarthritis: pain, stiffness and limited movement. Your knee arthritis symptoms might not start until years after the trauma.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. A healthy immune system causes inflammation when it’s trying to protect you from an infection, injury, toxin or another foreign invader. The inflammatory response is one way your body protects itself. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you have an unhealthy immune system that triggers inflammation in your joints even though theres no foreign invader. The inflammation causes pain, stiffness and swelling of the synovial membrane, which can also wear away your cartilage.
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How To Manage Symptoms To Slow Or Halt Ra Joint Damage And Diseaseprogression
Getting on medication right away is the No. 1 thing people can do to improve RA symptoms and stop the disease from progressing. Your doctor should start you on methotrexate, according to guidelines published in July 2021 by the American College of Rheumatology .
If this treatment alone doesnât yield the desired results, biologics should be added, the ACR advises.
âThere is a window of opportunity at the beginning of the disease when you have the best chance of treating with drugs to stop RA from causing damage and the earlier a person starts aggressive drug therapy, the better, says Dr. Greer.
Stage 1 Of Thumb Arthritis
In the beginning, you may feel a grabbing or sharp pain only when you start to use your thumb- such as picking up your coffee cup or pressing down on a remote control button or pen to write. You may find you dont feel as much pain once the activity gets underway- only for the pain to return when you stop doing it. This occasional pain is easy to ignore but it isnt advisable.
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What Is Toe Arthritis
Toe arthritis is caused by inflammation of the toe joint. The disease most often attacks the big toe, but the others may be affected as well.
Past injuries or traumas, such as a broken or sprained toe, can cause arthritis down the road. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout may also be to blame.
Risk factors include:
- being overweight
- a family history of arthritis
Women who wear tight, high-heeled shoes for much of their lives may also be at risk for toe arthritis.
Inflammatory Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis
Arthritis actually describes over 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. They fall into two main categories: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis .
Inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease in which the mechanisms that normally protect your body attack your own joints and tissues instead. The most well-known example is rheumatoid arthritis , which tends to be symmetrical, meaning you’ll have problems in the same joints on both sides of your body, like both wrists or both knees.
The second type of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis. A degenerative disorder, it’s caused by trauma or age-related wear and tear on your joints over time. OA is most likely to affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hip, lower spine or big toe, but it can also cause pain and stiffness in your thumb or finger joints.
Here are some early arthritis symptoms that should prompt you to see a medical provider.
1. Pain in a joint. Pain or aching in a joint that gradually becomes worse over time is a classic symptom of arthritis, says Lisa Cannada, M.D., an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Novant Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. The pain may be triggered by activity, or it may set in after activity or at the end of a long day.
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Causes Of Pain In Many Joints
In most cases, the cause of pain originating inside multiple joints is arthritis. Disorders that cause arthritis may differ from each other in certain tendencies, such as the following:
How many and which joints they usually involve
Whether the central part of the skeleton, such as the spine or pelvis, is typically involved
Whether arthritis is sudden or longstanding
Acute arthritis affecting multiple joints is most often due to
or psoriatic arthritis Psoriatic Arthritis Psoriatic arthritis is a spondyloarthritis and a form of joint inflammation that occurs in some people who have psoriasis of the skin or nails. Joint inflammation can develop in people who have… read more )
Chronic arthritis affecting multiple joints is most often due to
Some chronic inflammatory disorders can affect the spine as well as the limb joints . Some affect certain parts of the spine more frequently. For example, ankylosing spondylitis more commonly affects the lower part of the spine, whereas rheumatoid arthritis more typically affects the upper part of the spine in the neck.
The most common disorders outside the joints that cause pain around the joints are
Bursitis and tendinitis often result from injury, usually affecting only one joint. However, certain disorders cause bursitis or tendinitis in many joints.
Pain And Tender Points
The pain can be deep, sharp, dull, throbbing, or aching. You feel it in your muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the joints. For some people, the pain comes and goes. It could travel throughout your body.
You may also have tender points specific spots around your joints that hurt when you press them with a finger. If you press a tender point on a person without fibromyalgia, theyll just feel pressure. But that same pressure would be very painful for someone with fibro.
These tender points are in predictable places on the body. Theyre often under the surface of the skin, not in areas of deep pain. Its the tissue around the muscles and joints that hurts rather than the joints themselves.
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Not All Joint Pain Is Arthritis
As a rheumatologist, Im becoming an expert in evaluating all types of joint pain. My adult patients are wonderful at describing how their joints feel: burning, stabbing, pressure, stiffness, crushing, aching, throbbing. Children use more creative language: the joint feels like ice cream, like aliens are poking at them with needles from the inside, like bugs are crawling over them.
Pain in a joint is one of the most common reasons why patients are referred to a rheumatologist, often with the suspicion that the pain is due to arthritis. Although there are many causes of joint pain, one simple question can help to differentiate between arthritis and most of the other conditions.
Arthritis is a term that refers to inflammation of a joint. There are two basic types of arthritis: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis. Its easy to see inflammatory arthritis: it causes joint swelling, warmth, redness, and pain. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, does not cause much joint inflammation and usually only presents pain.
So how is one to tell the difference between all of the entities that cause joint pain? Just ask this question: when do your symptoms occur?
Ra In Hands: What Hand Joints Are Affected By Rheumatoid Arthritis
Its no fun waking up like this: your hands ache. Your fingers are stiff and sometimes twisted. They may even feel hot and tender to the touch. There is no good hand that isnt plagued by these symptoms. Its another flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis , a malady that can affect any joint in the body, but frequently settles in the hands.
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What Are Common Arthritis Treatments
There are many things that help reduce pain, relieve stiffness and keep you moving. Your care may involve more than one kind of treatment. Your doctor may recommend medications but there are many things you can do on your own to help manage pain and fatigue and move easier.
Finding the right treatment takes time. It can involve trial and error until you and your healthcare team or therapist find what works best. Be sure to let your doctor know if a treatment is not working. Your treatment may also change as your arthritis changes.
Treatments for arthritis can be divided into several categories: medication, exercise, heat/cold, pacing, joint protection, surgery and self-help skills. You can do things in each of these areas to help yourself feel better and move easier.
What Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain And Discomfort Feels Like
Rheumatoid arthritis can be like the old box of chocolates adage you never know what youre going to get, according to the blogger Katie Singh, 38, of Austin, Texas. Singh was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she 23 years old. Sometimes it feels like burning, other times it feels like throbbing throbbing so bad that you canât think about anything else, Singh explains. There are times Iâve almost considered wanting to cut off a foot or a hand, the pain is so excruciating.
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Effects On Your Daily Life
- See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
- If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.
Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.
If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.
You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.
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:
- 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.
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Depression And Mood Changes
According to the Mayo Clinic, RA and depression commonly occur together. Doctors dont know whether depression and anxiety in people with RA are a result of the physical symptoms, or if depression is itself a symptom caused by the chronic, systemic inflammation of the disease. But doctors do know that if the depression isnt addressed and treated, the treatment for the arthritis can be less effective.
If you suspect your symptoms could be rheumatoid arthritis, you should get to a doctor promptly. Your primary care doctor is usually a good place to start. If they suspect RA or a related disease, they may refer you to a rheumatologist for further testing. A rheumatologist is a specialist who treats musculoskeletal and certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions.
Ra Symptoms Often Include More Than Joint Pain
Since rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease, it will progress aggressively if not treated early on. According to a study published in a 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Early diagnosis and treatment of RA can avert or substantially slow progression of joint damage in up to 90 percent of patients, thereby preventing irreversible disability. All the more reason to recognize RAs pain symptoms many of which you might not associate with arthritis pain. These can include:
- Joint pain that occurs on both sides of the body, such as both feet, ankles, wrists, or fingers
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You Might Be Aware Of Joint Pain But Its Important To Be Aware Of The Other Ra Symptoms That Can Help Clinch A Diagnosis
Aches and pains are a common part of life at every age, and can occur for many reasons an especially tough workout, too much snow shoveling, lifting something the wrong way, dancing too enthusiastically, or engaging in repetitive hand motions like typing or knitting.
But pain is also the most common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis , a chronic, inflammatory disorder in which the bodys own immune system attacks the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. According to the American College of Rheumatology, RA is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million Americans 75 percent of whom are women. The disease usually strikes first between the ages of 30 and 60.
The symptoms of RA may be obvious or not, and can sometimes mimic other diseases, especially in the early stages. The most common symptoms of RA such as pain, swelling, and tenderness around the joints tend to come on gradually. People may discount minor pains or morning achiness as just a sign of aging or indication of an overuse injury. It may take a while before someone suspects that RA is the cause of their discomfort. But rheumatoid arthritis has many other symptoms as well, and recognizing what they are can help patients get diagnosed and treated as early as possible, so they can prevent or minimize permanent damage to the joints, and lead active, less-painful lives.