Oh, those sore joints! A multitude of aging adults encounter the pain, uncomfortableness and tightness that are the hallmark attributes of arthritis, and assume it has to be the culprit. And yet the reality is, there are a variety of issues that mirror arthritis symptoms, but in many instances need to be handled in another way in order to provide relief. Prior to popping another ibuprofen and hoping it does the trick, browse through the following list of alternative diagnoses that could possibly be at play, from the St. Louis home care team at Compassionate Nursing Services.
Although comparable to arthritis in the musculoskeletal pain it causes, fibromyalgia won’t typically cause swelling, nor is it degenerative. There is no wearing away or deformity of joints, but instead it has a tendency to produce soreness in various areas of the body. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that usually occurs in women, causing the brain to overreact to the body’s pain signals.
Much like fibromyalgia, lupus will not erode or disfigure the joints, but the aching experienced can be deceptively comparable to that of arthritis, although usually a little less severe. Lupus, however, as an autoimmune disease, also affects internal organs, skin, and blood vessels, in conjunction with the joints.
Gout actually is a unique type of arthritis, but is caused by increased levels of uric acid in the blood and typically displays initially in the big toe with intensive pain, swelling, redness and warmth. Left untreated, gout begins to erode and deform the joints, much like the effects of arthritis, and can affect any region of the body. Spots of uric acid crystals can generally be noticed on the skin as well, helping to distinguish it from typical arthritis.
Muscle and joint pain, in some cases (but not always) accompanied by exhaustion, body aches, stiffness and a fever, are signs of Lyme disease, an infectious disease widely transmitted by ticks. In the advanced stages of the disease, it’s common for one large joint in the lower region of the body to become swollen and painful.
Reiter’s Syndrome (Reactive Arthritis)
Brought about by infection, this condition is commonly observed on only one side of the body and includes swelling of one certain body part – usually a toe. Inflammation and irritation of tendons, muscles, and ligaments is also inherent to Reiter’s Syndrome, as well as mouth ulcers, conjunctivitis, UTIs and fever. The condition usually improves within a few months, as opposed to other types of chronic arthritis.
It’s important for those enduring joint pain or discomfort to schedule an appointment with the doctor to determine the cause and most effective treatment plan.
Providers of the St. Louis home care seniors trust, Compassionate Nursing Services is readily available to offer help in a full range of ways for those challenged by any condition of aging. Whether the need is for help with duties around the house such as cleaning, organizing, and preparing meals, transportation to health-related appointments and other outings, help with safe showering and dressing, or simply a friendly companion to enhance quality of life, we’re available with the personalized care each individual needs.