As pain management specialists, the expert providers at LA Pain Doctor understand that swollen, painful joints can limit your life. Joint pain can prevent you from doing the things you need to do and the things you enjoy doing. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are treatments and lifestyle interventions that can decrease the severity of your symptoms so that you can get on with your life!
Arthritis: more than one disease
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Some are caused by wear and tear, others are genetic, some develop following an injury, and some are autoimmune disorders. Regardless of the type of arthritis, you feel the pain in your joints and you may find that you have less mobility than before.
Although there are many forms of arthritis, some are more common than others. Osteoarthritis is the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease, and rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common.
Osteoarthritis is sometimes called “wear and tear” arthritis. It’s a chronic, degenerative condition that causes the soft tissues in your joints to break down. Your joints are where two bones meet, and at each one there are cartilage, ligaments, and lubricating fluid that helps your bones move against each other smoothly to give you range of motion and mobility.
As you get older, your body may produce less of the lubricating fluid in your joints and the cartilage that protects your bones can begin to break down and wear away. Without that important lubrication and protective tissue, your bones rub against each other, leading to inflammation and pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disorder. Although rheumatoid arthritis also involves the soft tissues in your joints, it’s not a wear and tear disorder. Instead, it occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints. The attack causes chronic inflammation, pain, and can cause damage to your joints.
Arthritis can develop in any of your joints, but is most common in your knees, spine, wrists, and hips. There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are effective treatments that lessen the severity of your symptoms and may also slow the progression of the disease.
Symptoms of arthritis
Some of the early symptoms of arthritis are more difficult to identify than later ones. For example, if your joint makes a clicking sound when you move it, you may just think it’s a quirk of your body. But it could be an early sign of arthritis.
Some other early warning signs of arthritis may include:
1. Stiffness early in the day
Joint stiffness that’s not necessarily painful when you first wake up is often a sign of the early stages of arthritis. This stiffness may only last a few minutes, until you get moving, or it could last for several hours. Either way, if you find it difficult to move your joints when you first wake up, consider seeing a specialist.
2. Joint swelling
Swollen joints are a classic symptom of arthritis. Pretty much everyone has had a swollen ankle at some point or other; but if your joints are swelling and you haven’t had an injury, or if they feel warm to the touch, it could be a sign of developing arthritis.
In the beginning, your joints may only swell once in a while, and it may last just a few hours or for several days . As your condition worsens, the swelling becomes more painful.
Fever isn’t a well-known symptom of arthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis can cause a low-grade fever. If you have a fever and joint pain, it can be an early warning sign of arthritis.
4. Numbness and tingling
The swelling that is associated with arthritis can cause pressure on your nerves. The pressure of the swelling tissues can make your nerves send unusual signals. You may feel a tingling or numbness, or may also feel burning sensations in other parts of your body when you move your joint.
5. Chronic fatigue
Chronic fatigue is associated with many different conditions, but one that not very many people know about is arthritis. As your joints wear down, you may feel unusually tired. Fatigue can occur before other more obvious signs of arthritis begin.
If you have any of these symptoms, you may be at risk of developing arthritis. Schedule an appointment at LA Pain Doctor. We can assess your situation, conduct diagnostic tests, and make suggestions for either intervention or treatment.