You might have some form of arthritis if you have:
- Ongoing joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Joint stiffness
- Tenderness or pain when touching a joint
- Problems using or moving a joint normally
- Warmth and redness in a joint
If any one of these symptoms last more than 2 weeks, see your regular doctor or one who specializes in treating arthritis, called a rheumatologist. If you have a fever, feel physically ill, suddenly have a swollen joint, or have problems using your joint, see your doctor right away.
There are a number of things that one can do immediately to treat symptoms of arthritis. Getting enough rest, doing the right exercise, eating a healthy, well balanced diet, and learning the right way to use and protect your joints are key to living with any kind of arthritis. The right shoes and a cane can help with pain in the feet, knees, and hips when walking. There are also gadgets to help you open jars and bottles or to turn the doorknobs in your house.
Some medicines can help with pain and swelling. Acetaminophen might ease arthritis pain. Some people find non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), like ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprfen, helpful. Some NSAIDs are sold without a prescription, while a doctor must prescribe others.
Medicines may help to control the pain associated with osteoarthritis arthritis (OA) and rest and exercise may make it easier to move your joints. In addition keeping your weight down is a good idea. If pain from OA is very bad, there are shots your doctor can give you.
Treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can help the pain and swelling and might slow down or stop joint damage. Your doctor might also suggest anti-rheumatic drugs called DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), which can slow damage from the disease. Other drugs are available to ease swelling, while others block the damage done by the immune system. These may help people with mild-to-moderate RA when other treatments have not worked.
The most common treatment for an attack of gout is NSAIDs or glucocorticoids like prednisone. They can bring the swelling down, so you may start to feel better within a few hours after treatment. The pain usually goes away within a few days.
Along with taking the right medicine and properly resting your joints, exercise might help with arthritis symptoms. Daily exercise, such a walking or swimming, helps keep joints moving, lessens pain, and makes muscles around the joints stronger.