What are the Most Common Arthritis Symptoms?

Madeleine A.
Madeleine A.
An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis.
An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis.

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.

Swelling is a common arthritis symptom.
Swelling is a common arthritis symptom.

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.

Pain, inflammation, decreased mobility, and deformity are the most common arthritis symptoms.
Pain, inflammation, decreased mobility, and deformity are the most common arthritis symptoms.

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.

Joint replacement surgery may be prescribed to treat severe arthritis symptoms.
Joint replacement surgery may be prescribed to treat severe arthritis symptoms.

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.

Treatment for arthritis symptoms depends on the severity of the condition.
Treatment for arthritis symptoms depends on the severity of the condition.

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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    • An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis.
      By: peterjunaidy
      An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis.
    • Swelling is a common arthritis symptom.
      By: Denis Pepin
      Swelling is a common arthritis symptom.
    • Pain, inflammation, decreased mobility, and deformity are the most common arthritis symptoms.
      By: hriana
      Pain, inflammation, decreased mobility, and deformity are the most common arthritis symptoms.
    • Joint replacement surgery may be prescribed to treat severe arthritis symptoms.
      By: JASON WINTER
      Joint replacement surgery may be prescribed to treat severe arthritis symptoms.
    • Treatment for arthritis symptoms depends on the severity of the condition.
      By: maska82
      Treatment for arthritis symptoms depends on the severity of the condition.