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What Does Arthritis Do To Your Body

How To Treat Water Retention & Stiff Joints Naturally

Rheumatoid arthritis – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Joint stiffness can occur for many reasons. For the majority of people, stiff joints are a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. In the United States, an estimated 1.3 million adults deal with the problem. Caused by an abnormal immune response, this condition causes the soft tissue that surrounds the joints to become inflamed.

Key Points About Septic Arthritis

  • Different types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi can infect a joint.
  • Symptoms include fever, joint pain, swelling, redness, and warmth.
  • Quick treatment with antibiotics is needed to halt the risk of joint damage.
  • Other treatments include medicines for pain and fever, drainage of the joint, physical therapy, and a splint.

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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.

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What Are The Conventional Treatments For Arthritis

Conventional treatments for arthritis begin with protecting the joint from progressive joint degeneration, increasing joint movement, and providing pain control so that the individual can maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. When pain and disability from arthritis increase, surgery is an option.

Treatments that focus on pain control include:

  • Acetaminophen. The American Pain Society has recommended the use of acetaminophen for mild to moderatearthritic pain.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the preferred drugs for moderate to severe pain. When NSAIDS are used as long-term therapy for arthritis there is a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Narcotics and opiate analgesics can be safely used in treating patients withsevere arthritic pain resistant to nonopioid medications.
  • Joint Injections. Corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid medications can be injected into the joint.

When pain from arthritis cannot be controlled with medication, surgery is sometimes an option. The most common surgeries done for arthritis are:

  • Arthroscopy. Arthroscopic surgery is sometimes recommended to repair or shave the cartilage or remove floating pieces of cartilage that may be causing joint pain,
  • Total Joint Replacement. In individuals with advanced osteoarthritis, chronic pain and marked limitation in joint mobility, total joint replacements surgery can be very effective in helping an individual resume an active lifestyle.

Nonsurgical Treatments For Hip Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis swelling: Causes and treatment
  • Activity modifications may help reduce painful flare-ups. Avoid activities that aggravate hip arthritis, such as running, jumping and other high-impact exercises.
  • Lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss, can help reduce stress on the hip joint.
  • Physical therapy exercises can help improve strength in the hip. Engaging in low-impact exercises and activities, such as swimming and cycling, and remaining physically active are key to managing hip arthritis symptoms.
  • Heating pads can help soothe inflammation in the hip.
  • Medications and injections, such as corticosteroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, vitamin and mineral supplements, and immunosuppressive or biologic medicines can help control pain and inflammation. Which medications will work best depends on the type of arthritis.
  • Walking aids such as a cane or walker provide support when walking.
  • Your knee locks or sticks when its trying to move.
  • Warm skin.

Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis of the knee. Some treatments might reduce the severity of your symptoms or even stall the progression. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of knee arthritis.

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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?

Take-home points:

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.

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What Is The Knee Joint

Three bones come together to form your knee joint. They include the:

  • Shinbone .

A smooth substance called cartilage covers the ends of each bone. Its a cushion between the bones that keeps them from rubbing together. The synovial membrane, a type of tissue that surrounds the joint, lubricates the cartilage.

Arthritis of the knee causes pain and swelling in the joint

How Osteoarthritis Pain Affects Your Body

What Is Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis pain hits the knees especially, but many people with osteoarthritis also have it in their hips, hands, and elsewhere. You can help control osteoarthritis pain by losing weight and exercising.

Whatâs the cause of your creaky, stiff joints? For millions of adults, the answer to that question is arthritis and pain from osteoarthritis, the most common form, is a major cause of work disability in the United States.

Osteoarthritis pain is caused by the loss of cartilage that protects the ends of bones on both sides of your joints. Osteoarthritis pain is activity related, meaning it gets worse when you use the joint, and better when you rest it.

According to Jason Koh, MD,an orthopedic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, âOsteoarthritis pain is usually characterized by start-up pain , but over time can become constant. Other types of arthritis typically have more of an inflammatory component, and often have significant joint swelling.â

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Primary Osteoarthritis Versus Secondary Osteoarthritis

In primary OA, the disease is of idiopathic origin and usually affects multiple joints in a relatively elderly population. Secondary OA usually is a monoarticular condition and develops as a result of a defined disorder affecting the joint articular surface . or from abnormalities of joint eg acetabular displasia. Pistol grip deformities are seen in some cases, mostly linked with slipped upper femoral epiphysis. Although seen as a specific condition, it is often linked with metabolic abnormalities.

  • Aggravated movement when hip is loaded wrong or too long cold weather
  • Eased with continuous movement
  • Commonly in groin/thigh, radiating to buttocks or knee. According to new systematic review published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, thigh/groin pain and constant back/buttock pain are better indicators of hip OA than stand-alone tests.
  • End-stage: Constant pain, night pain
  • Stiffness:
  • Morning stiffness with end-stage osteoarthritis, usually eased with movement
  • Locking of hip movement
  • Crepitis with movement. Research suggests reported hip crepitus is a strong indicator of intra-articular hip pathology.
  • Gait abnormalities short limb gait, antalgic gait, trendelenburg gait, stiff hip gait
  • Leg length discrepancy
    • Joint space narrowing on x-rays
  • self-reported squatting as an aggravating factor
  • active hip flexion causing lateral hip pain
  • scour test with adduction causing lateral hip or groin pain
  • Physical examination:
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    What Are The Parts Of A Joint

    Joints get cushioned and supported by soft tissues that prevent your bones from rubbing against each other. A connective tissue called articular cartilage plays a key role. It helps your joints move smoothly without friction or pain.

    Some joints have a synovial membrane, a padded pocket of fluid that lubricates the joints. Many joints, such as your knees, get supported by tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscles to your bones, while ligaments connect bones to other bones.

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    What Are The First Signs Of Psoriatic Arthritis

    Most people notice symptoms of psoriasis, particularly dry, scaly skin plaques, before symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. If you have already been diagnosed with psoriasis, the first signs of psoriatic arthritis typically include joint pain, warmth, and swelling, especially in the hands and feet nail changes such as pitting and separation and accompanying fatigue.

    Talk To Your Doctor About Surgery Options

    Arthritis symptoms: Most common signs

    If pain is unrelenting or there is loss if function in the hands, your rheumatologist may refer you for a surgical evaluation, particularly when theres an anatomic defect that can be corrected, says Dr. Albayda.

    Surgery may involve removal of inflamed joint linings, tendon repair, joint fusions, or joint replacements. Depending on the joint involved, the degree of damage, and other factors, you hand surgeon will determine the most appropriate treatment to help correct deformities, relieve pain, or improve function.

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    What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body.

    RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness , and deformity .

    RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.

    How Is Arthritis In The Hand Treated

    Treatment options depend on the type of arthritis, stage of arthritis, how many joints are affected, your age, activity level, the hand affected and other existing medical conditions.

    Goals of treatment are to:

    • Improve mobility and function.
    • Increase your quality of life.
    • In the case of rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, to slow the progression of the disease.

    Treatment options include splinting/bracing, medications, injections, non-drug approaches and surgery.


    Splits or braces support and protect the affected joint, reduce deformity, provide joint stability, lessen strain, and promote proper joint alignment. Your healthcare provider, occupational therapist or hand therapist will discuss splinting/bracing options, how and when to wear them and how long to wear them .


    Steroid injections

    Steroids reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Steroids are usually used if medications dont control inflammation or if the inflammation is limited to a few joints. Injections are administered directly into the affected joint. Because steroids can weaken tendons and ligaments, injections are repeated only a few times.

    Other management strategies

    A complete treatment plan for arthritis of the hand includes these additional approaches:


    If nonsurgical treatments no longer provide relief and the cartilage at the ends of your bones has worn away, surgery may be an option. There are several approaches:

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    Pain And Tender Points

    Almost all people with fibromyalgia ache all over. It can feel similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis, but its over your entire body. This is usually what makes you go see your doctor.

    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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    Who Should You See To Treat Arthritis

    What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? | RA Awareness Day 2017

    A good place to start is your general practitioner or primary healthcare provider. Arthritis can be a little tricky to diagnose initially, but if your GP suspects this enough, he or she may refer to a rheumatologist who specialises in joint, muscle and bone function .

    A rheumatologist will test and evaluate as appropriate, make a diagnosis and implement the most beneficial treatment plan possible, including home management on a daily basis.

    In some instances, an orthopaedic specialist or joint surgeon may also be able to assist with evaluation, looking at the physical or mechanical causes of joint symptoms, in order to make a diagnosis. For the most comprehensive evaluation, a rheumatologist is usually best.

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    Infectious And Reactive Arthritis

    Infectious arthritis is an infection in one of your joints that causes pain or swelling. The infection can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. It can start in another part of your body and spread to your joints. This kind of arthritis is often accompanied by a fever and chills.

    Reactive arthritis can occur when an infection in one part of your body triggers immune system dysfunction and inflammation in a joint elsewhere in your body. The infection often occurs in your gastrointestinal tract, bladder, or sexual organs.

    To diagnose these conditions, your doctor can order tests on samples of your blood, urine, and fluid from inside an affected joint.

    The fingers are most commonly affected with psoriatic arthritis , but this painful condition affects other joints as well. Pink-colored fingers that appear sausage-like, and pitting of the fingernails, may also occur.

    The disease may also progress to your spine, causing damage similar to that of ankylosing spondylitis.

    If you have psoriasis, theres a chance you could also develop PsA.

    Ra Diet And Other Therapy

    There is little scientific research on the role of herbs, natural products, and nutritional supplements in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. High-dose fish oil has been shown in small studies to reduce rheumatoid arthritis disease activity, and in some cases, fish oil supplementation may allow patients to discontinue NSAIDs. People with rheumatoid arthritis are using turmeric with varying degrees of success in reducing inflammation.

    Other dietary changes that some people with rheumatoid arthritis can find helpful including increasing hydration for the dry mouth of Sjögrenâs syndrome, increasing fish intake for fish oil supplementation to reduce inflammation, and taking anti-inflammatory medications with food to avoid stomach irritation . As described above, some research has suggested that a fish-grain diet can decrease the chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis while a Western high-fat diet might increase the chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis. There are currently no particular foods that are universally recommended that people with rheumatoid arthritis avoid, but dietary discretion is individualized based on patientsâ own experiences.

    A variety of complementary approaches may be effective in relieving pain. These include acupuncture and massage.

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    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.

    How Rheumatoid Arthritis May Affect Your Mouth

    10 Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis You Should Never Ignore

    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.

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    Expert Q& A: Just Dealing With Chronic Pain

    Why itâs important to get proper treatment for chronic pain.

    Q: With both fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, I have constant pain. Even with treatment, it never goes away completely. Ive just been dealing with it. Is that OK?

    Chronic pain is not a problem you should just put up with in fact, you should be dealing with chronic pain in ways that are effective. This is important because an increasing number of studies show serious consequences of having chronic pain. It may cause damage to certain areas of the brain, just as chronic stress does. Chronic pain also may lead to psychological problems, such as depression social problems, such as isolation or decreased earning potential and functional problems, such as decreased activity or disability.

    Medications can also be helpful. For moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis , the supplement glucosamine may provide some relief, as may the right combination of analgesics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . There are three drugs specifically approved for use in fibromyalgia, as well as many drugs that have been shown to be effective but are not specifically approved.

    Tell your doctor that the treatments you tried previously are not resolving your chronic pain, and then work with him to find the right combination of treatments for you. It may take some time, but the result will be worth the effort.

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