If you have pain and stiffness in your joints, it could be a sign that you are developing arthritis. Waiting too long to get any type of treatment could mean that the joint damage is permanent, and it could be very difficult to correct, even with surgery. While you may not feel you need to see a doctor yet, there are certain “telltale signs” that it is time to get help from a professional. Lets look at some of the reasons that you should get in touch with a doctor.
What Should You Watch For?
If you only have some pain and stiffness in one of your joints, and you havent had issues with your joints in the past, it might not be arthritis. You may simply need to rest and take it easy for a while. However, when you notice that the pain, stiffness, and the swelling are affecting more than one joint, it could be a sign that you are developing arthritis. Its a good idea to get in touch with the doctor at this point, as catching and treating the problem early is the best option.
If you notice that the joints are red and warm when you touch them, it is another potential sign of arthritis. Those who start to notice that it is more difficult to do all of their normal daily activities because they are having issues with their joints will want to contact their doctor.
When the symptoms last for three days or longer without dissipating, and when you have more than one or two arthritic episodes over the course of a month, you need to talk with a doctor as soon as you can.
Ultimately, you dont have to wait to see a doctor, even if the symptoms seem mild. Its better to talk with the doctor and learn more about whats happening to your body as early as possible. Whenever you have any doubt or concern, make an appointment.
Understand Your Type of Arthritis
More than 100 different types of arthritis exist. While they may share some similarities in their signs and symptoms, they are different and may require different approaches to treatment. A specialist will let you know whether you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or any other type of arthritis. The will also be able to discuss your different treatment options so you can start to find ways to relieve your pain and stiffness.
In the beginning, they will likely want to try different types of nonsurgical treatments to see whether they help. If the pain is infrequent and mild, for example, some lifestyle changes and pain medication might be all you need. However, surgery is an option for some patients.
When it comes to arthritis, you might start out going to your primary physician, but you will eventually want to work with a specialist who can provide you with more detailed information about your condition and what you need to do to limit or eliminate the pain and stiffness.