When Should You See A Doctor
Advanced arthritis can make mobility difficult, including the ability to perform everyday activities. Ideally, you would see your physician before your condition is in the advanced stages. Thats why its important to know about this condition, especially if youre at risk for it.
Some general recommendations for when to see your physician include:
- difficulty moving a particular joint
- joint swelling
- warmth at the affected joint
Your doctor will listen to your symptoms and evaluate your medical and family history. A doctor may order further testing, such as blood, urine, joint fluid tests, or imaging studies . These tests can help determine what type of arthritis you have.
Your doctor may also use imaging tests to identify areas of injury or joint breakdown. Imaging tests include X-rays, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging scans. This can also help rule out other conditions.
Your doctor may prescribe medication, recommend surgery, and encourage you to do physical therapy. At home you can ease arthritis pain by taking a warm shower, doing gentle stretching exercises, and using an ice pack on the sore area.
Prepare For The Journey Of Arthritis
Many people who are newly-diagnosed want the quick fix or cure for arthritis. For most people with arthritis, however, there is no cure. There have been significant advances in treatment options over the years, but finding the right course of treatment can be a journey. It is not uncommon to start one course of treatment and have to change several times before you find what works best.
Also, it is important to realize that what brings relief to one person may be totally ineffective for you. There are many things to try, including exercise, so try to be patient as you go through the process of finding what works for you. Even after you have been treated for a period of time, it’s very important that you talk to your healthcare provider about new or persistent symptoms. It may be time to change your treatment if your response is no longer satisfactory.
Arthritis Treatment: Occupational Therapy
Protecting your joints is an important part of arthritis treatment. With the help of an occupational therapist, you can learn easier ways to do your normal activities. An occupational therapist can teach you how to:
- Avoid positions that strain your joints
- Use your strongest joints and muscles while sparing weaker ones
- Provide braces or supports to protect certain joints
- Use grab bars in the bath
- Use modified doorknobs, canes, or walkers
- Use devices to help you with tasks such as opening jars or pulling up socks and zippers
You May Like: Arthritic Knee Symptoms
Why Do Other People’s Perceptions Matter
Many people think of arthritis as an old person’s disease or something that causes minor aches and pains. At the other extreme are those people who believe that nothing can be done for arthritis and that those who get it can expect to end up in a wheelchair. You may be accused of making too much of your arthritis or viewed with pity by people who think you’re on the verge of becoming totally disabled. You may feel put down if you’re told what you can’t do by an uninformed public or a well-meaning family member who just wants to protect you.
The negative perceptions of others may be among the most difficult challenges you have to face. When family and friends misunderstand you they may not be able to provide the support you need.
Misconceptions held by employers and the public can make it more difficult for you to work or get the services you need.
But you don’t have to accept other people’s ideas about you or your illness. Learn as much as you can about arthritis so you can have a realistic attitude about your condition. Then deal with people’s misinformed notions in a positive fashion. At times you may want to ignore comments from misguided friends. At other times you will want to explain your condition as soon as you become aware that someone has misconceptions. In a matter-of-fact way talk about arthritis and how it affects you. By educating others you can help promote a better understanding of arthritis.
What Kinds Of Arthritis Can Occur In The Knee
In the case of knee pain, one of the most common culprits is arthritis. There are three types of arthritis that can occur in the knee, and it is not unheard for patients to have multiple arthritic conditions present at the same time. The three kinds of arthritis that often develop in the knees include:
- Osteoarthritis : A slow-acting, progressive wear-and-tear process that deteriorates joint cartilage. Middle-aged and older patients are the most likely group to develop OA.
- Rheumatoid arthritis : RA can occur at any age. This inflammatory process can be marked by painful swelling in the joints.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: Patients who have a significant knee injury, such as a fracture, torn ligament, or torn meniscus, may develop post-traumatic arthritis. This can occur many years after the injury itself.
Also Check: Can Arthritis In The Knee Be Cured
Stop Eating An Unhealthy Diet
What’s your diet got to do with arthritis? Eating well and maintaining your ideal weight is especially important if you’ve got arthritis. Excess pounds can put lots of stress on weight-bearing joints, which is likely to make arthritis pain worse. Even moderate weight gain can stress joints that are already burdened by arthritis.
How Do People With Arthritis React
Everyone is unique. Personalities abilities past experience reactions and concerns vary a great deal from person to person. Some people appear to handle all of their problems well while others have difficulty coping with a variety of challenges. Arthritis can be one of those challenges both physically and emotionally.
When people find out that they have arthritis they often feel a sense of shock disbelief or helplessness. After they learn more about arthritis and its treatment they may feel overwhelmed or angry. At some point most people with arthritis realize that the disease is indeed a fact of their lives. With this awareness they may become depressed.
In a sense one could compare this sequence of emotions to the grieving process. People with chronic diseases actually do “grieve” over the person they were prior to the time they were affected. In fact the grieving process often is necessary in order for people to accept change and get on with their lives. People with arthritis can take comfort knowing that the range of emotions they experience is perfectly normal.
Don’t Miss: Rheumatology Knee Pain
Joint Pain Is A Common Denominator
Arthritis can be separated into two types: inflammatory, such as rheumatoid arthritis , versus mechanical disease , such as osteoarthritis. Both are often characterized by joint-related symptoms. Pain involving joints knees, hips, wrists indicates the problem is arthritis, explains Andrew D. Ruthberg, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at Rush Medical College in Chicago. Back pain, neck pain, and joint swelling are also markers of arthritis.
What Symptoms Look And Feel Like And What To Do If You Can’t Shake The Ache
by Michelle Crouch, AARP, Updated December 20, 2021
En español |It’s not unusual to experience pain in your joints on occasion, especially if you’re active and participate in high-impact activities such as running. That unwanted ouch can be caused by injured muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joint or by tendonitis, a sprain or a strain.
But if you start experiencing aching, pain and stiffness on a routine basis and particularly if the pain is right at the joint you may be developing arthritis, says rheumatologist Uzma Haque, M.D., codirector of clinical operations at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center in Baltimore.
Your risk of arthritis increases as you age, and its a leading cause of disability in the U.S., affecting around 58.5 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
You May Like: Over The Counter Medicine For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gout And Calcium Crystal Diseases
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause painful swelling in joints. It typically affects the big toe, but it can also affect other joints in the body.
Joints affected by gout can become red and hot. The skin may also look shiny and can peel.
Its caused by having too much urate, otherwise known as uric acid, in the body. We all have a certain amount of urate in our body.
However, being overweight or eating and drinking too much of certain types of food and alcoholic drinks can cause some people to have more urate in their bodies. The genes you inherit can make you more likely to develop gout.
If it reaches a high level, urate can form into crystals that remain in and around the joint. They can be there for a while without causing any problems and even without the person realising they are there.
A knock to a part of the body or having a fever can lead to the crystals falling into the soft part of the joint. This will cause pain and swelling.
There are drugs that can reduce the amount of urate in the body and prevent gout attacks. Examples are allopurinol and . If youre having a gout attack, youll also need short-term pain relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as paracetamol can be good drugs to try first.
Men can get gout from their mid-20s, and in women its more common after the menopause. Taking water tablets can increase the risk of gout.
There are also conditions that cause calcium crystals to form in and around joints.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Arthritis In Fingers
The Benefits Of Involving Your Doctor
Based on your condition, you and your doctors can develop a joint treatment plan to minimize your symptoms, help you preserve joint function, and improve your quality of life by enabling you tostay as active as possible, says Dr. Brown.
When the signs of osteoarthritis begin to limit your daily activities, its time to take action and call your doctor.
And staying active provides you at least two additional benefits:
- Extra pounds raise your risk for serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Extra pounds also add stress on weight-bearing joints and contribute to arthritis.
- Physical activity strengthens your muscles and helps you maintain better balance. The Arthritis Foundation reports that people with osteoarthritis have as much as a 30 percent higher risk of falling and a 20 percent greater risk of fractures. Seeking treatment for osteoarthritis can help you stay on your feet.
Making Daily Activities Easier
Cooking and cleanup
- Plan meals ahead to lessen last-minute tasks.
- Use electric appliances such as can openers, mixers, crock pots, microwave ovens, and dishwashers to get the job done with less energy and stress on your joints.
- Place a mixing bowl in the sink while stirring. A damp cloth underneath will help keep it from slipping. Hold the mixing spoon like a dagger to take stress off your hands.
- Hammer rustproof nails through a cutting board to secure vegetables while cutting.
- Use a French chef’s knife which keeps hands in good position for cutting slicing and chopping.
- Use disposable aluminum baking pans for easier cleanup.
- Spray a non-stick product on pans or line with foil before baking or frying. Use lightweight baking dishes, plates, pots, and pans and serve from them. Use a wheeled cart to move heavy items from place to place. Sit on a high stool while cooking or washing dishes. Store appliances within easy reach. Use long-handled reachers.
Laundry and housecleaning
In the bathroom
In the bedroom
- Keep files and supplies within easy reach.
- Use vertical files on your desk for current work.
- Install work assist arms or wrist rests at your keyboard.
- Use a glare screen and paper holder on your monitor.
- Use lateral file cabinets for easier access.
You May Like: Arthritis Drugs Side Effects
What Do I Do If I Think I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
If youre experiencing joint pain and inflammation, its important that you discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Getting a diagnosis as soon as possible means that treatment can start quickly. Early treatment will help you to control the inflammation, manage pain more effectively and minimise the risk of long-term joint damage and disability.
If youre diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or suspected of having the condition, you may be referred to a medical specialist known as a rheumatologist for further investigations and medical treatment.
Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means your immune system attacks the cells that line your joints by mistake, making the joints swollen, stiff and painful.
Over time, this can damage the joints, cartilage and nearby bone.
It’s not clear what triggers this problem with the immune system, although you’re at an increased risk if:
- you are a woman
Find out more about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis.
Read Also: Best Pain Reliever For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Medication For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some of the medications you may take include:
- pain relievers , such as paracetamol, for temporary pain relief
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications , such as ibuprofen, to control inflammation and provide pain relief
- corticosteroids, such as prednisolone, to quickly control or reduce inflammation
- disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs , such as methotrexate, to control your overactive immune system
- biological and biosimilar medicines , such as infliximab these are biological disease-modifying drugs that work to control your immune system, but in a much more targeted way.
Depending on your particular symptoms, and how much pain and inflammation you have, you may take one medication or a combination of different medications.
What We Want You To Know About Living With Ra
We want you to know what Rheumatoid Arthritis really is. We want to correct the myths and misunderstandings about RA. And, we want you to understand whats different about life with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Think for a moment: Have you ever have tendonitis? Or tennis elbow? How about a sprained ankle? Maybe a dislocated finger? Heel spur? Torn rotator cuff? Broken bone? Jammed toe? Or a ganglion cyst? Maybe you have a bit of osteoarthritis in your knees? If you have, then you have a better ability to understand than you knew. Imagine that you had that painful incapacitating condition in every joint.
If you do not read any further, and you re-read the last paragraph, we will have made progress. That was not hyperbole. Rheumatoid Arthritis progresses at different rates, so your loved one may not have involvement in every joint, but you can still get the idea.
I may offer an ever clearer picture, add a bad case of the flu that to the cocktail. You are getting close.
Do you know which joints are involved with your loved one? Are you sure?
We also want you to see why we cannot forget about the RA for very long. Even though you cannot see it, it is eating us alive. Literally. And we are not able to make our hands or our feet do what we tell them anymore. So, if we can put it out of our minds for a few seconds, it comes back in again when we try to move.
Recommended Reading: Rheumatoid Psoriasis Skin Rash
How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated
Today, there are many treatment options for psoriatic arthritis. A treatment plan often includes several of the following:
Therapy : These therapies can reduce pain. They can make it easier to move and do everyday tasks. If therapy can help, your doctor will write a prescription for the type of therapy you need. Your therapist will work with your doctor and report your progress.
Patient education: Learning about psoriatic arthritis is important. The more you know, the better you can control this disease. Take time to learn the signs and symptoms. Ask your doctor what you should do when the arthritis flares. Learn about arthritis-friendly exercises and exercises that you should not do, at least for a while.
Exercise and rest: Each plays an important role. Arthritis-friendly exercises can help reduce pain, make it easier to move, and sometimes restore lost movement. Rest is important when psoriatic arthritis flares.
Devices to protect joints: Braces, splints, and supports can protect affected joints and prevent further damage. They offer support for painful areas and can stop painful movements. You should not buy one without first talking with your doctor. The device must fit you properly. It must support the area that needs support. Your doctor may recommend that a physical or occupational therapist fit you.
When psoriatic arthritis is mild, patients usually can reduce signs and symptoms with:
Tip: Take medicine after a meal
Use Splints And Supports
Wearing splints can often help to ease the strain or pain in your joints. There are two types of hand and wrist splints.
- Working splints provide more flexible support to help reduce pain while youre working.
- Resting splints consist of a custom-made cradle with straps to hold it in place. These can help if you have pain at night which affects your sleep or if you need to rest your hands for a short time during the day.
Some people find that compression gloves are also helpful in reducing pain and swelling and are easier to wear. These can be worn day or night, when working or resting.
A hand therapist can explore the options with you.
You May Like: Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain At Night