Dear Doctor: My Joints Hurt. Do I Have Arthritis?

bigstock-man-holding-hands-sore-knee-48283817What is Arthritis?

Arthritis means inflammation (swelling, redness, pain, damage) around a joint. Arthralgias, on the other hand, means pain around a joint.

What causes Arthritis?

Joint pain does not always mean you have arthritis. Certain diseases like for instance, thyroid imbalance, Hepatitis C, fibromyalgia can cause “arthralgias” while certain diseases like Gout, Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Spondylitis can cause “arthritis”. These diseases that cause arthritis need to be diagnosed and treated soon so permanent deformities and disability can be avoided. What we think of as “old age arthritis” is usually secondary to osteoarthritis.

What are the symptoms of Arthritis?

Arthritis usually is manifested by swelling, redness, stiffness and pain in the joints involved. It can be accompanied by stiffness in the morning that lasts for greater than 30 minutes. The pain may wake you up at night and usually tends to improve with activity. If you have had skin rashes like psoriasis, eye inflammation like uveitis and now have joint pain then you should speak with your primary care to refer you to a rheumatologist.

What is the treatment for my arthritis?

The treatment depends on the underlying type of arthritis. This can be determined by taking a detailed history, x-rays and some blood work. Appropriate medications can then be started to improve or halt the pain and damage in the joint so you can continue enjoying life and your daily activities.

Dr. Kiran Farheen is a Board Certified Rheumatologist for the UT Health Science Center at Houston and provides patient care at UT Physicians at Cinco Ranch located at 23923 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy, TX 77494. To schedule an appointment, please call 713-486-5300