Are you experiencing painful inflammation and stiffness in your joints? Maybe you were recently diagnosed with arthritis and you want to know how this will impact your daily life. There is no cure for arthritis, but treatments have drastically improved in recent years. Our doctors at St. Paul Rheumatology can help you through an arthritis diagnosis and help you live a healthy life.
What Causes Arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t a single condition — there are many different types. Osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and spondyloarthritis are just some of the different kinds of arthritis. For more information about the different kinds of arthritis, click here for an in-depth look.
When Should I See a Doctor?
What is the difference between early signs of arthritis and normal pain or stiffness? Most people experience some kind of aches and pains in their muscles every once-in-a-while, after all. How do you know if you should see a doctor?
If you are experiencing pain in your muscles or joints after strenuous exercise, the pain should go away within a few days. If the pain doesn’t go away, or if you have a swollen joint that isn’t linked to an injury, you should see a doctor. Try to see a doctor right away for your symptoms. The earlier you catch an arthritis diagnosis, the faster you can reduce your pain and make healthy lifestyle changes.
How is Arthritis Diagnosed?
Doctors may use a range of tests and exams to determine if you have arthritis. They will usually ask if you have any family history of arthritis before moving onto a physical exam. Depending on these, your doctor may order tests.
X-rays are the most frequent test a doctor will order to determine if you have arthritis. Sometimes they will order an ultrasound or MRI. Your doctor might also request a nerve test to determine if the electrical activity in the nerves has been disrupted.
Blood tests aren’t used to diagnose all types of arthritis, but they can help narrow down the choices. Your doctor might also do fluid or tissue tests.
How is Arthritis Treated?
Your doctor may prescribe a range of treatments for your arthritis, depending on the case. Some medications like painkillers, NSAIDs, and corticosteroids can help reduce your pain and/or inflammation.
Physical therapy can provide relief for some types of arthritis. Specific exercises can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints.
Your doctor may suggest surgery if medicine and therapy don’t help.
If you think you might have arthritis, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today. You can click here to request an appointment or have your primary care doctor fill out this referral form
Arthritis. Versus Arthritis. (n.d.). https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/arthritis/.
Diagnosing arthritis. (n.d.). https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/diagnosing-arthritis. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2019, July 19). Arthritis. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350777.