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What are the Most Common Arthritis Symptoms?

Article Details
  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The most common arthritis symptoms include pain, inflammation, and limited movement. In addition, joint deformity, redness, and stiffness often occur as well. Stiffness that accompanies arthritis symptoms typically occurs in morning, or upon awakening, and usually improves as the day wears on. Arthritis affects the joints, and common affected areas include the fingers, knees, and hips. The neck, feet, and spine are also common areas that can be affected with arthritis.

Although osteoarthritis is the most common form, rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis can also occur. Typically, osteoarthritis affects only the joints, where rheumatoid arthritis affects people systemically. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include pain and swelling in joints, along with feelings of fatigue, weakness, and sometimes fever. It is also an autoimmune condition, where patients are susceptible to flares and remissions.

Treatment for arthritis symptoms depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications work well to suppress inflammation and reduce pain. If these medications are not tolerated by the patient, acetaminophen can be taken to reduce the risk of stomach upset or gastrointestinal bleeding. Although acetaminophen is an effective pain reliever, it does not help reduce the inflammation that accompanies this condition.

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In moderate to severe arthritis symptoms, joint deformity and pain may be disabling to the patient. In these cases, more extreme treatments might be necessary. Sometimes surgery such as joint replacement might be needed to improve function. Common joint replacements include hips and knees, and the results of the surgery can be dramatic in terms of restoring mobility and reducing pain.

Other remedies for arthritis symptoms can also be useful in reducing symptoms. These include applying ice to the affected area and taking warm baths. The warmth of the water can be soothing to inflamed joints and can help improve range of motion. Ice packs work to reduce swelling, however, they should never be applied directly to the skin because of the risk of an ice burn.

Occasionally, the physician might recommend a course of physical therapy sessions. Typically, the physical therapist will recommend a series of non-weight-bearing exercises that can help improve mobility and decrease pain. Also, some physical therapy clinics have whirlpools that help stimulate blood flow to the arthritis area, improving arthritis symptoms. Since arthritis is a chronic, and sometimes progressive condition, the patient needs to work closely with the physician on an effective treatment plan and lifestyle modifications that can help slow or maintain the condition.

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