How Rheumatoid Arthritis May Affect Your Mouth
Research shows that people who have rheumatoid arthritis may be more likely to develop periodontal disease, which usually starts with a gum infection.
They are also more likely to have dry mouth, which can predispose them to tooth decay.
The flip side of this may be true too: Poor oral health may lead to the onset or worsening of RA. Experts believe that inflammation in the mouth may stimulate the immune system, and in a people predisposed to RA the inflammation may trigger the body to start making antibodies associated with the disease.
Researchers have been working to better understand the mechanism behind this, but the takeaway is that treating gum disease and preventing unnecessary gum infections is good for your RA, as well. Schedule frequent dental checkups to catch minor issues before they become major problems.
When Should I See A Doctor
Its a good idea to see your doctor if you have joint pain or swelling that starts for no clear reason and lasts for more than a few days, or if the joint is also red and warm.
How Neck Arthritis Is Diagnosed
Your doctor will start by taking a history and doing a physical exam. Theyll check the range of motion in your neck and test your strength, sensation, and reflexes to find out if there is pressure on your nerves or spinal cord. Theyll ask when your symptoms started, when the pain happens, and what makes the pain better and worse.
Your doctor may order an X-ray to assess alignment and look for arthritic changes, says Dr. Shah. If there is a concern of compression of spinal nerves or the spinal cord, you may need an MRI to look at the neutral structure and discs, says Dr. Shah.
A CT scan may be ordered to look at the bone more closely, especially to see if any bony outgrowths are causing compression. However, X-rays and MRIs are the tests that are usually ordered, says Dr. Shah. A CT scan with a myelogram may be used if an MRI cant be done.
An electromyography, or EMG, may be ordered to assess for nerve compression, says Dr. Shah. An EMG tests the electrical conduction of the nerves in the arms. This test would be helpful if you have multiple nerves being compressed or compression of nerves at the neck and in the arm, he says.
Your doctor may order blood tests to see if you have any antibodies or systemic inflammation that would reveal inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis.
Recommended Reading: What Really Causes Arthritis
Getting Insufficient Or Poor Quality Sleep
The vast majority of people who suffer from arthritis, approximately 80 percent, have difficulty sleeping. When your joints ache or you are experiencing joint inflammation or stiffness, it can make it harder to sleep. Researchers have found that the opposite is also true. If you suffer from sleep problems, they can actually make joint pain and joint symptoms worse. Sleep difficulties trigger inflammation, which may make joint pain and inflammatory conditions such as some kinds of autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, grout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis worse.
Evaluation Of Pain In Many Joints
In evaluating joint pain, doctors first try to decide whether joint pain is caused by a disorder of the joints or a serious bodywide illness. Serious bodywide disorders may need specific immediate treatment. The following information can help people decide when to see a doctor and know what to expect during the evaluation.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Arthritis Pain In Hands
What The Doctor Does
Doctors first ask questions about the person’s symptoms and medical history. Then they do a physical examination. What doctors find during the history and physical examination often suggests a cause for joint pain and guides the tests that may need to be done .
Doctors ask about pain severity, onset , how symptoms vary over time, and what increases or decreases pain . They ask about joint stiffness and swelling, previously diagnosed joint disorders, and risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and Lyme disease.
Doctors then do a complete physical examination. They check all joints for swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, and noises that are made when the joints are moved . The joints are moved through their full range of motion, first by the person without assistance and then by the doctor . This examination helps determine which structure is causing the pain and if inflammation is present. They also check the eyes, mouth, nose, and genital area for sores or other signs of inflammation. The skin is examined for rashes. Lymph nodes are felt and the lungs and heart examined. Doctors usually test function of the nervous system so that they can detect disorders of the muscles or nerves.
The following tests are the most important overall:
Tests of joint fluid
Blood tests for autoantibodies
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein
Evaluation Of Pain In Multiple Joints
Evaluation should determine whether the joints, periarticular structures, or both are the cause of symptoms and whether there is inflammation. Extra-articular symptoms and findings, which may suggest specific systemic inflammatory disorders, should also be sought and evaluated, particularly if there is joint inflammation.
You May Like: Is Banana Bad For Arthritis
Read Also: Can You Get Rid Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis Caused By Illnesses
Having arthritis certainly increases your risk for migrating joint pain, but that doesnt mean its the only cause of migratory arthritis. Rheumatic fever, an inflammatory illness, is a common cause of migratory arthritis. This fever stems from strep throat and can cause joint swelling and pain, among other complications.
Other inflammatory illnesses that may cause migratory arthritis are:
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Hurt Your Heart
These heart conditions can also be more fatal. In people with systemic inflammatory diseases like RA, heart attacks in those under 50 are twice as likely to be fatal as for people without an inflammatory condition, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in March 2021.
To lower your risk, youll want to get your RA under control and also reduce heart risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet will lower your risk of heart disease.
Finally, know that certain RA medications themselves have been linked to heart problems these side effects are rare, and are not a reason to skip drug treatment. The negative effects of not treating RA with medication are much, much worse than the side effects of RA drugs, cautions Greer.
Read Also: Rheumatoid Arthritis And Itchy Skin
Points To Remember About Arthritis
- “Arthritis” means joint inflammation. Although joint inflammation is a symptom or sign rather than a specific diagnosis, the term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints.
- There are many types of arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis, gout, juvenile arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Medications and surgery can treat arthritis.
- Activities that can help reduce symptoms at home include exercise hot and cold therapies relaxation therapies splints and braces and assistive devices.
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed
It’s important to find out if you have arthritis and what type it is because treatments vary for each type. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to help slow or prevent joint damage that can occur during the first few years for several types.
Only a doctor can tell if you have arthritis and what type it is. When you see your doctor for the first time about arthritis, expect at least three things to happen. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms examine you and take some tests or X-rays.
You can help your doctor by writing down information about your symptoms before your appointment. Bring your answers when you see your doctor.
Arthritis may limit how far or how easily you can move a joint. Your doctor may move the joint that hurts or ask you to move it. This is to see how far the joint moves through its normal range of motion. Your doctor may also check for swelling, tender points, skin rashes or problems with other parts of your body.
Finally your doctor may conduct some laboratory tests. These may include tests of your blood, muscles, urine or joint fluid. They also may include X-rays or scans of your body. The tests will depend on what type of arthritis your doctor suspects. They help confirm what type of arthritis your doctor suspects based on your medical history and physical exam and help rule out other diseases that cause similar symptoms.
You May Like: Are Eggs Bad For Arthritis
Migrating Joint Pain: Causes Symptoms And Treatment
In migrating joint pain, patients suffer pain in different joints in a random interval without any signs or warning. This type of condition is usually seen among the people suffering from gonorrhea. This condition is so strange that even researchers have not been able to find out the actual cause of it. Because the root cause of this pain is harder to find, treating this condition is often challenging at times. It might be challenging, but not impossible. Dont lose hope.
When To See A Doctor For Moving Pain In Body
A person suffering from moving pain in the body should consult a doctor if home treatments prove ineffective. Medical attention should also be sought if migratory body ache is persistent and intense, if it is caused by certain medications or tick bite, or if the moving pain is accompanied by symptoms like rash, constant fever, severe swelling or redness. Other symptoms that can accompany a moving body ache and need emergency medical attention are breathlessness, severe water retention, stiff neck, muscle weakness, inability to move the affected area, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, difficulty in swallowing, fainting, and seizures. If moving body pain persists for more than 2 weeks and the underlying cause cannot be determined, a person must consult a doctor regardless of whether any other symptoms occur or not. The doctor can help diagnose the exact cause of the migratory pain and ascertain if treatment is necessary.
|Written, Edited or Reviewed By:Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc.This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimerLast Modified On: August 29, 2018
Don’t Miss: Rheumatoid Arthritis Rash Itchy
Stop Ignoring Your Physical Limitations
Just as there are people with arthritis who aren’t active at all, there are those who push beyond their limits. The trick is to pace your activities. Overdoing it is just as harmful as underdoing it.
Pushing your limits can increase pain and put you at higher risk of joint damage. Respect pain and choose activities with your physical limitations in mind.
Carrying Heavy Backpacks Or Bags
Carrying a heavy load on your back, whether it is a backpack, purse, or messenger bag, can place a lot of stress and strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. When you carry a heavy load, it affects your balance and even the way you walk. This is especially true if you like to carry your backpack or bag on only one side. The result is that it stresses muscles and joints on that side of the body and overworks them so they experience more wear and tear. You may experience muscle pain, joint pain, and other symptoms. Lighten your load! Avoid lugging around unnecessary objects. Carry just what you need. Use a backpack over both shoulders to distribute the weight you carry more evenly. If you do carry a purse or messenger bag with one strap, switch sides to avoid placing undue stress on just one side of your body.
Also Check: Rheumatoid Arthritis Over The Counter Medication
What Is The Patient’s Role In Treating Or Managing Arthritis
The patient is the most important member of the health care team.
The patient plays an important role in his or her medical care. The patient can contribute to the success of a treatment plan by:
- learning about arthritis
- reporting progress and setbacks to health team
- keeping a positive attitude
- developing relationships with the rest of the health care team
Keeping a positive attitude, though sometimes difficult, is an important ingredient in overcoming arthritis. Asking questions and finding out as much as you can about of arthritis and its treatment is important. So talk over your concerns with your doctor. If you still need more information , ask the nurse, physical therapist, social worker, occupational therapist to help you find answers to your questions.
Food Can Cause Joint Pain
It is no mystery that food can contribute to pain and inflammation. A recent study published in the journal, Reumatizam, reports a case of migratory arthritis in a woman resolving within 4 months after implementation of a gluten free diet. Gluten is one of many foods that can trigger joint pain, but not the only. Remember that eating the wrong food can trigger it. Not eating enough of the right foods can trigger it. Lets take a look at some examples of things that can be ingested that can contribute to or help reduce pain and inflammation:
Natural Pain Reducers:
Reumatizam. 2013 60:32-6.
The following is a quote directly from the published article
Always looking out for you,
Read Also: Eggs Bad For Arthritis
What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Arthritis
Symptoms of spinal arthritis may differ from person to person. In general, they may include:
Back and neck pain, especially in the lower back
Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the spine, such as being unable to straighten your back or turn your neck
Swelling and tenderness over the affected vertebrae
Feeling of grinding when moving the spine
Pain, swelling and stiffness in other areas of the body
Whole-body weakness and fatigue
Pain and numbness in your arms or legs if the nerves are affected
Although back pain is a common symptom, not all people have it, even those with advanced spinal arthritis. On the other hand, some may experience pain even before arthritis can be seen on an X-ray.
In certain types of spondyloarthritis, eye inflammation may occur, causing pain, watery eyes and blurred vision.
Osteoarthritis And Inflammatory Arthritis: Similarities And Differences
Osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis share part of a name the word arthritis means joint inflammation but they are very different conditions. While rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the bodys own immune system attacks the joints and causes inflammation, osteoarthritis is a much more mechanical disorder.
Unfortunately, having one kind of arthritis doesnt confer any immunity against developing another. People with inflammatory arthritis are still at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Sometimes the same joints are affected with both types of arthritis, and sometimes different joints are targeted. There is an increased risk of developing OA in a joint already affected by RA. When this occurs, its called secondary osteoarthritis. Secondary osteoarthritis can also occur after a joint injury or other medical condition.
Thats why its extremely important to get early treatment and good treatment for RA or any inflammatory arthritis. This helps prevent secondary osteoarthritis, says Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, a rheumatologist at Harvards Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston. The good news, according to Dr. Shaddick, is that these days, because we have very good treatment for inflammatory arthritis, you dont see as much secondary osteoarthritis.
Also Check: Rheumatoid Arthritis Leg Pain At Night
That Doesnt Mean Youre In The Clear
We have to keep in mind here, everything Ive gone over is considering ideal circumstances. Going back to our book analogy, what if we place the screw not in the middle, but much closer to the top of the book?
We dont have nearly as much material to offset the strength of the screw. Despite too little strain being more a concern than too much, that picture above makes me very nervous.
We already do this with many screw placements due to necessity, such as where a bone is broken or where youre fixating a graft. Also, say your surgeon is having an off day and accidentally screws too high or too low. We start getting to where the level of concern may grow.
Another thing to consider is screw migration. A screw moving around on someone is a common enough occurrence. The screw may start off where there is enough bone to offset it, but it may migrate to where a stress riser occurs. That is, the stress from the screw moves to a point where theres not enough bone to counteract.
Why will a screw move?
Notice anything funky about the screws in this X-Ray?
One is bent:
This is one of the biggest issues with internal fixations: When you compound the strength of bone, with its ability to remodel, on top of having something like a 200 pound person walking, on top of thousands of cycles, even in something like steel, the material can start to deform and bend. It may even break.
The other aspect of a screw is its conical-like shape.
Look at the distal aspect of the screw: