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Joint pain is the characteristic feature of arthritis. But this symptom often is ignored initially because people mistake joint pain as a sign of overexertion or old age. They either pop a painkiller or apply some balm, spray to get temporary relief. Ignoring joint paint due to arthritis can lead to complications and can further worsen your condition. Here are some signs that can help you to differentiate general joint pain from pain due to arthritis.
1. Stiffness in morning: One of the hallmark signs of early onset of arthritis is morning joint stiffness that lasts for 30 minutes to one hour. Initially stiffness decreases with increased movement as the day progresses. But as the condition progresses, stiffness lasts for a longer time with increased period of inactivity.
2. Minor tenderness and joint swelling: Inflammation is a characteristic feature of arthritis. Inflammation causes the joints to become tender. Mild swelling is seen around the affected joint which subsides as the inflammation reduces.
3. Pain on touching: Due to swelling and inflammation, the affected joint becomes painful. Pain can be excruciating, burning or radiating. Often the swollen joints may turn sensitive and start paining with a mere touch.
4. Reduced range of movement (ROM): Every joint can be moved to a defined limit through bending and stretching. This is called the range of movement that helps us to perform our daily activities. In early stages of arthritis, this range of motion gets affected. Due to stiffness and swelling, you may find it difficult to bend or straighten your joints normally for performing daily tasks. The ROM may be reduced for one or more joints.
5. Numbness: With mild inflammation, if you experience numbness, tingling sensation or cracking sound from your joints, it could indicate arthritis. Inflamed tendons in hands and feet build up pressure on the nerves causing numbness and tingling. Inflammation also causes damage to the cartilage, allowing the joints to grind against each other as you move them.
6. Unusual fatigue: General fatigue is common with muscle or joint pain. But, with early onset of arthritis, you might feel fatigued very often, much before the actual symptoms like painful swelling, reduced range of motion show up. You might have flare-ups of symptoms followed by fatigue, which in the initial stages may come and go.
The Everything Health Guide to Arthritis By Carol Eustic
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