Tags: Arthritis | joint | pain | arthritis

Joint Pain: How to Tell If It's Arthritis

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Aug 2015 06:53 PM

A doctor can identify and confirm whether joint pain is caused by arthritis following tests, X-rays, and by taking a patient history.

Early diagnosis is critical to arthritis treatment and may prevent serious damage and permanent disabilities from joint damage.

More than 100 forms of arthritis have similar, yet different, signs and symptoms, according to The Arthritis Foundation. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which may cause joint pain, stiffness, inflammation, or swelling.

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Osteoarthritis symptoms often appear in the hips, knees, spine, and hands, while the hands and wrists are most often affected with rheumatoid arthritis.

Typically, your primary care doctor will refer you to a rheumatologist, who specializes in treating arthritis, to find out if the symptoms you have are from arthritis. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine areas of your body for signs of the condition.

Tests and X-rays may be conducted and it could take more than one visit before the doctor reaches a diagnosis.

Blood tests may provide clues to what is going on in a patient’s body. Doctors might also take samples of urine and joint fluid or examine tissues of skin and muscle, according to The Arthritis Foundation.

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Measuring the level of an antibody in the blood helps to determine if rheumatoid arthritis is the cause. A skin biopsy could reveal psoriatic arthritis. Joint fluid tests might find signs of joint inflammation. There are many lab tests a doctor can use to make a diagnosis.

If it is determined the joint pain is from arthritis, the doctor can then set you on a path for treatment, which might include medication, an exercise plan, and proper diet for your specific condition.

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A doctor can identify and confirm whether joint pain is caused by arthritis following tests, X-rays, and by taking a patient history.
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