Everyone has joint pain or stiffness now and then, which can be due to strain, injury or a number of other reasons. However, these symptoms may also be an early sign of developing arthritis. According to WebMD, there are over 100 different types of arthritis, and although they share many of the same symptoms, some have other symptoms or may require different types of treatments.
See a Doctor Early
Arthritis is a degenerative disease that will progress if not treated properly. Some forms of arthritis can already be doing damage to a joint before the person even notices symptoms. This makes it difficult for both patients and doctors to recognize arthritis in its early stages. But it is still wise to get a physical exam by a doctor at the first hint of discomfort so he or she can try to determine the reason for your joint symptoms and start you on a course of treatment if necessary.
The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain or stiffness in the joints, inflammation, swelling, redness, and even joints that feel warm to the touch. Not everyone experiences the same arthritis symptoms, and having even one of these symptoms can signal trouble. Also, not all joint pain is related to arthritis. People that do jobs requiring manual labor or physical activity such as squatting and lifting may experience pain due to strain or injury. However, the reason for the pain should be determined by a doctor as soon as possible.
Who is Likely to Get Arthritis?
As we age, our chance of getting arthritis increases due to joint overuse and our body’s decreased ability to heal itself properly. Most cases appear in adults over 50 years old. However, arthritis is not just an older person’s disease. There are about a quarter million children in the US that have rheumatoid arthritis, often called juvenile arthritis.
Since your arthritis may be treated differently depending on its origin and severity, a proper diagnosis from a doctor is a must. There are medications available, both over the counter and prescription, to treat the symptoms and reduce pain and discomfort, and sometimes doctors will recommend an exercise regimen or physical therapy. If the case is severe or has progressed too far, sometimes surgery is necessary to repair damage to the joint or to replace it entirely.
The Last Word
The main take away from this article is that ignoring any type of joint pain can lead to more complicated issues or permanent damage. A doctor needs to assess your symptoms and determine the reason for your pain, so proper treatment can be administered. Don’t ignore joint pain because you think it will get better on its own or because you are too busy to see a doctor. If so, you may have a much bigger problem on your hands down the road.