Oh, those sore joints! Plenty of older adults endure the aches, uncomfortableness and tightness that are the trademark effects of arthritis, and assume it must be the cause. And yet in reality, there are a variety of issues that mimic arthritis symptoms, but in many cases must be treated in different ways in order to bring relief. Before popping another ibuprofen and hoping it does the trick, look through the list below of alternative diagnoses that might be at play, from Absolute Companion Care.
While similar to arthritis in the joint pain it causes, fibromyalgia won’t typically cause swelling, nor is it degenerative. There is no erosion or deformity of joints, but rather it has an inclination to cause sensitivity in a variety of areas of the body. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that most often occurs in women, causing the brain to overreact to the body’s pain signals.
Similar to fibromyalgia, lupus isn’t going to erode or disfigure the joints, but the discomfort experienced can be deceivingly similar to that of arthritis, although usually somewhat milder. Lupus, however, as an autoimmune disease, also impacts internal organs, skin, and blood vessels, in conjunction with the joints.
Gout actually is a certain kind of arthritis, but is caused by heightened levels of uric acid in the blood and mostly presents to begin with in the big toe with severe pain, swelling, redness and warmth. If left untreated, gout begins to erode and deform the joints, similar to the effects of arthritis, and may impact any area of the body. Spots of uric acid crystals can generally be noticed on the skin as well, helping to differentiate it from typical arthritis.
Muscle and joint pain, sometimes (but not always) together with fatigue, body aches, stiffness and fever, are indicative of Lyme disease, an infectious disease typically transmitted by ticks. In the advanced phases 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 on by infection, this condition is commonly noticed on only one side of the body and involves swelling of one particular 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 several months, unlike other types of chronic arthritis.
It’s crucial for anyone suffering from joint pain or discomfort to schedule an appointment with the doctor to identify the cause and most beneficial treatment plan.
As a top provider of non-medical home care in Towson and the surrounding areas, Absolute Companion Care is here to offer assistance in a variety 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 medical appointments and other outings, help with safe bathing and dressing, or simply a pleasant companion to enhance quality of life, we’re available with the individualized care each individual needs.
Contact us to learn more about our in-home senior care solutions or to schedule a free in-home assessment by calling 410-357-9640.