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.
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.
What Type Of Doctors Treat Arthritis
Part of your treatment plan may involve working with different health-care specialists. Some common health-care professionals and their role in your treatment are described below. Most doctors make referrals to one of a group of health professionals with whom they work. But you too can ask your doctor to request medical services you think might help you.
Your family doctor may be an excellent source of medical care for your arthritis. Besides having your medication records, your family doctor already has your medical history, is familiar with your general physical health and knows of any past illnesses or injuries. All these facts will give your family doctor a head start in prescribing a treatment plan most suited to your needs.
If your arthritis affects many joints or other parts of the body or seems resistant to treatment, you may benefit from seeing a rheumatologist. This is a doctor with special training and experience in the field of arthritis. Your family doctor, the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation or the county medical society can refer you to a rheumatologist. You can also search for a rheumatologist on the American College of Rheumatology web site.
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.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Arthritis
Pain from arthritis can be ongoing or can come and go. It may occur when you’re moving or after you have been still for some time. You may feel pain in one spot or in many parts of your body.
Your joints may feel stiff and be hard to move. You may find that it’s hard to do daily tasks you used to do easily, such as climbing stairs or opening a jar. Pain and stiffness may be more severe during certain times of the day or after you’ve done certain tasks.
Some types of arthritis cause swelling or inflammation. The skin over the joint may appear swollen and red and feel hot to the touch. Some types of arthritis can also cause fatigue.
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Musculoskeletal Pain And Arthritis
Learn more about the connection between musculoskeletal pain and arthritis and where you may experience this type of pain in your body.
Structures in the musculoskeletal system besides bones, cartilage and synovium can cause pain if you have arthritis.
Where you can experience musculoskeletal pain caused by arthritis:
Muscles.Muscle pain is a main symptom in some types of arthritis-related diseases, such as fibromyalgia, myositis and polymyalgia rheumatica. Your muscles may also ache if they are weakened due to lack of use or when trying to support joints with arthritis.
Ligaments.Joints are held together with tough bands of tissue connecting two bones. Ligaments can become torn, stretched or weakened when you have arthritis.
Tendons.These strong bands of tissue connect muscles to bone. Tendinitis occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed or irritated due to arthritis or overuse.
Bursae.These fluid-filled sacs pad the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis happens when bursae become inflamed or irritated due to arthritis or overuse.
Soft-tissue Musculoskeletal Damage
Athletes may have specific kinds of soft-tissue damage. Tennis elbow and golfers elbow are painful conditions that involve inflammation of the tendons holding the muscles of the elbow together. Runners may get a condition called plantar fasciitis when the thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed.
Neuropathic Musculoskeletal Pain
Changes In Surrounding Joints
In patients with advanced thumb base arthritis, the neighboring joints may become more mobile than normal.
Thumb extension deformity. This patient has lost mobility at the base of the thumb due to arthritis. The next joint closer to the tip of the thumb has become more mobile than normal to make up for the arthritic joint. Normally, the thumb does not come to a right angle with the rest of the hand.
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Whats The Outlook For Someone Living With Arthritis
Since theres no cure for arthritis, most people need to manage arthritis for the rest of their lives. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right combination of treatments to reduce symptoms. One of the biggest health risks associated with arthritis is inactivity. If you become sedentary from joint pain, you may face a greater risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other serious conditions.
Your Arthritis Healthcare Team
A range of health professionals are able to help you manage your arthritis, including:
- general practitioner your GP is central to your care and will help you manage day-to-day, as well as helping you access other health professionals and services
- rheumatologist a doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions
- physiotherapist will use physical means, including exercise, to help keep your body moving and functioning as well as possible
- dietitian will provide information and advice on food and nutrition
- occupational therapist can help you learn better ways to do everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, cooking, working, eating or driving
- exercise physiologist will help to improve your health and fitness through exercise programs tailored to your specific situation
- podiatrist will assess, diagnose and treat any foot and lower limb problems you may have
- pharmacist can help you with information and advice about medications both prescription and over-the-counter
- psychologist can help you to work through your feelings, particularly if you are feeling anxious or depressed.
What Is The Outlook
Some types of arthritis are short-lived and don’t leave you with any problems. Examples are reactive arthritis, which usually goes away by itself and juvenile arthritis which clears up usually without any long-term problems. Other types come and go, like gout. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to stay with you for the long term, but can be controlled with medication. And osteoarthritis is a consequence of getting old, but can be solved if it’s suitable to have a joint replacement.
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.
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Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Muscle Pain
To work properly, your joints require muscles. Together, they are essential elements to support your movement. Rheumatoid arthritis or RA can affect the muscles in the involved joints, causing muscle pain. The bad news, the pain could be widespread.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms how do they progress?
Typically, the symptoms of this autoimmune disorder of arthritis develop gradually. The occurrence can take several weeks until you notice the first symptom.
It usually starts with stiffness in one joint such as wrists, soles of feet, or hands particularly in the morning and will improve by mid-day. This symptom may be vague for a while or may come & go at first, but it will become a regular occurrence as the disease gets worse. It will be followed with other classic symptoms of joint problem such as pain and swelling. Then other joints such as knees, elbows, or ankles could be affected, too.
Another interesting fact, the symptoms of RA tend to affect the joint symmetrically. For instance, once you have it in the left wrist, you are more likely to also have it in your right wrist. See also the differences between RA and OA in this section!
However in a few cases, the occurrence of the symptoms could be slightly different, these include:
And each case can be unique and different. Sometimes RA is off for several months or even years, but in a few cases it can be constantly progressive.
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.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Arthritis
Some factors make you more likely to develop arthritis, including:
- Age: The risk of arthritis increases as you get older.
- Lifestyle: Smoking or a lack of exercise can increase your risk of arthritis.
- Sex: Most types of arthritis are more common in women.
- Weight: Obesity puts extra strain on your joints, which can lead to arthritis.
How Does Arthritis Affect The Joints Of The Leg
When someone suffers from arthritis, inflammatory enzymes are secreted in excess. These can have a negative impact on the health of the joints, whether big or small.
If the inflammation lasts for a long period of time and the condition becomes chronic, additional symptoms such as pain and reduced range of motion can occur.
A vicious cycle occurs the inflammatory process triggers the symptoms, preventing the patient from using the affected joints. Due to the lack of movement, the inflammation becomes worse.
The joints are affected by favoring factors as well, such as the aging process and physical injuries. A predisposition towards rheumatologic conditions can favor the appearance of arthritis and the subsequent leg pain.
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Disk Degeneration And Bone Spurs
As the disks in the spine age, they lose height and begin to bulge. They also lose water content, begin to dry out and weaken. This problem causes settling, or collapse, of the disk spaces and loss of disk space height. Eventually, the cushioning qualities of the disks begins to decrease.
As the facet joints experience increased pressure, they also begin to degenerate and develop arthritis, similar to what may occur in the hip or knee joint. The smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers and protects the joints wears away.
If the cartilage wears away completely, it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, your body may respond by growing new bone in your facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, this bone overgrowth called bone spurs may narrow the space for the nerves and spinal cord to pass through . Bone spurs may also lead to decreased range of motion in the spine.
Side view of a healthy cervical vertebra and disk. A disk that has degenerated and collapsed.
What Is Arthritis Pain
When your pain comes from a body joint like the knees, ankles or fingers, it is called arthritis pain. There are many types of arthritis , but the most common type is known as arthrosis. This is a degenerative disease of the joints that results in the cartilage wearing down. It normally develops as we grow older, and causes a pain that returns often.
If you suffer from arthrosis, you may find:
- that this pain appears following a period of inactivity
- a tenderness when you touch the joint
- joint stiffness
- discomfort during fluctuations in temperature.
Other types of arthritis, as with rheumatoid polyarthritis, also cause inflammation in addition to pain.
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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.
What Are Bone Spurs
Bone spurs are of two basic types. One is the kind that arises near a joint with osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. In this situation, the cartilage has been worn through and the bone responds by growing extra bone at the margins of the joint surface. These “spurs” carry the formal name “osteophytes.” They are common features of the osteoarthritic shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle. Removing these osteophytes is an important part of joint replacement surgery but removing them without addressing the underlying arthritis is usually not effective in relieving symptoms.
The second type of bone spur is the kind that occurs when the attachment of ligaments or tendons to bone become calcified. This can occur on the bottom of the foot around the Achilles Tendon and in the coroacoacromial ligament of the shoulder. These spurs often look impressive on X-rays, but because they are in the substance of the ligaments rarely cause sufficient problems to merit excision.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Drain Your Brain And Mood
The fear that comes with living with any chronic illness, as well as dealing with daily pain and limited mobility, can take a toll on emotional wellness. But when it comes to RA, depression may be more than just an emotional response to the disease. There is a clear link between RA and depression, says Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, the chief of the clinical sciences section in the division of rheumatology at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston. We dont yet understand how much of the depression is from a reaction to the disease and how much is the inflammation of the disease, but they both contribute somehow.
What experts do know is that treating RAs inflammation helps quell the inflammation associated with depression. The opposite may also be true: Treating depression may lessen the pain of the disease. According to research presented in early June 2021 at the annual congress of the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology , catastrophizing about pain makes it worse, and it can actually physically impact the chances of RA remission.