About Polyarthritic Joint Pain

Polyarthritic joint pain refers to arthritis pain that affects multiple joints in the body. Diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and osteoarthritis are mostly likely to cause polyarthritic pain. The most common areas for joint pain includes wrists, knees, hips and ankles.

  1. Causes

    • Joint pain occurs when cartilage, which is the hard substance on the ends of bones that allow them to slide over each other, is damaged. Osteoarthritis is the wearing down of cartilage from use over the years. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of joints from the body's immune system attacking healthy tissue. The inflammation eventually destroys cartilage.


    • Symptoms of polyarthritic joint pain include redness, stiffness, pain and swelling of the affected joints. Tenderness and difficulty moving joints may also be experienced. Other symptoms that accompany certain types of arthritis include fatigue, fever, dry eyes and mouth, night sweats and weight loss.


    • Risk of developing polyarthritic joint pain increase with certain factors such as a family history, obesity and advanced age. An injury to a joint from an accident or sports injury can also lead to joint and cartilage pain.


    • Blood and urine samples will be taken to confirm the type of arthritis. X-rays reveal bone spurs and cartilage damage. An MRI reveals soft tissue damage to the tendons and ligaments in the affected joints. An anthroscopy is a procedure in which your doctor inserts an instrument called an anthroscope into the joint area. The device then sends an image of the joint to a monitor.


    • Medication for polyarthritic joint pain includes pain relievers such as Tylenol and Percocet. Advil and Motrin can reduce pain and inflammation in joints. Creams containing capsaicin rubbed on the affected joints may intercept pain signals sent to the brain. Anti-rheumatic drugs such as Trexall may stop the immune system from attacking healthy joint tissue. Corticosteroids such as prednisone may be injected into the painful joint area or taken by mouth, and offers relief from pain and inflammation.

    Other Treatments

    • Physical therapy exercises designed to strengthen muscles surrounding painful joints may aid in relieving pain. Joint replacement surgery may be an option if significant joint damage has occurred. The surgery replaces your knee or hip joint with an artificial one. Smaller joints may benefit from joint fusion surgery which removes cartilage and fuses the two bones together forming one solid bone.

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