If you’ve recently received a diagnosis, you might be confused about the differences between the two conditions. On paper, they’re very similar.
Here’s what you need to know about arthritis and arthralgia, both in their similarities and their differences.
What Is Arthritis?
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis.
Arthritis can refer to a significant number of chronic painful autoimmune conditions that manifest in varying degrees in people of all ages and genders.
In fact, no two people with arthritis will have the exact same symptoms or experience the condition to an identical degree. Arthritis can be a degenerative condition, an inflammatory condition, a metabolic condition, or an infectious condition.
Despite the fact that arthritis is relatively common, affecting more than 300,000 children and 50 million adults in the United States, arthritis is not completely understood.
Many autoimmune conditions remain baffling to medical researchers. They can be treated, but not prevented or cured.
There is no way to accurately predict the course of arthritis. Some people with arthritis may not experience any pain or related symptoms for a prolonged period of time. Others may deal with symptoms on a daily basis.
Over time, symptoms may stay the same, reduce, or worsen.
- Reduced range of motion
- Joint swelling
- Knobby appearance of finger joints
- Redness in joints
- Joints are warm to the touch
Since there are so many types of arthritis, the diagnosis process may not be simple. Almost all diagnostic processes involve taking a sample of joint fluid from the affected area.
This process involves the doctor sanitizing the skin surrounding the joint, inserting a needle into the area, and withdrawing a small amount of fluid. Lab tests of this fluid can determine if arthritis is the culprit.
In addition to a sample of joint fluid, your doctor may require other tests. Blood tests and urine tests are commonplace in the diagnosis of many disorders, as well as regular wellness checks.
Imaging techniques like x-rays or MRIs can also be used to observe the appearance of the affected joints and determine the severity of the condition.
What is Arthralgia?
Arthralgia is a very broad term that essentially translates to joint discomfort, stiffness, or soreness. People with arthritis experience arthralgia as a symptom.
Pain similar to the pain caused by arthritis but without the detectable presence of arthritis is regarded as arthralgia.
Arthralgia itself is more of a symptom than a condition. Some people may develop idiopathic arthralgia, which is joint pain without any discernible cause that persists, remits, or relapses.
People with arthralgia will generally experience back pain, stiffness, or limited range of motion.
To a certain extent, arthralgia is self-diagnosable. Arthralgia simply means joint pain, and people are inherently aware of whether or not their joints hurt. Even though you can recognize the problem on your own, you shouldn’t attempt to treat it at home.
Arthralgia could easily be a sign that there is a greater issue or injury impacting your health. You need to be fully evaluated by a doctor to determine the cause of your arthralgia, which may or may not be arthritis.
If you’ve previously experienced an incident like a car accident or an athletic injury, your arthralgia may be remnants of a previous experience.
Treatment for arthritis is always tailored to the needs of the patient. Arthritis is never exactly the same for two people. It may involve medication to help manage the pain.
Anti-inflammatory drugs are especially useful for people who live with arthritis since arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition.
If joint damage is severe, surgical intervention may be necessary. Joints may need repair for patients to experience true relief. Severely damaged joints may require full replacement.
These assessments are made on a case-by-case basis, and invasive procedures may not be necessary or even helpful for certain types of arthritis.
In most cases, people with arthritis benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapy can be used to help people with arthritis increase their range of motion and mobility. Massage therapy can help to relieve joint pain or stiffness in a similar way.
Massage promotes fluid drainage throughout the body. It also helps to improve the circulation of oxygen-rich blood throughout the muscles, which is an important key to the body’s natural healing process.
Arthralgia isn’t usually something that’s treated by itself. Although tools like massage therapy, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs may prove to be valuable for managing arthralgia as a symptom, they may not address the underlying condition.
Your doctor will need to fully evaluate your condition in order to create an effective treatment plan. The cause of your arthralgia needs to be discovered and treated if possible or necessary.
Some arthralgia is temporary.
Joint pain experienced after a new or intense exercise routine is relatively common. Giving the body enough time to heal while supporting the process with proper hydration, nutrition, and rest may resolve arthralgia.
Wearing properly fitted workout shoes, exercising with proper posture, and increasing intensity or durations of workouts with caution may prevent athletic-related arthralgia from recurring.
Home Remedies for Arthritis and Arthralgia Pain
If you have undiagnosed arthritis or arthralgia, the first step is to speak with your doctor. Allowing these conditions to exist without proper treatment can cause them to worsen. You need proper medical intervention before you turn to home remedies.
If you’d like to incorporate home remedies into your treatment plan, speak to your doctor. Before you start using a product to help manage pain or symptoms, ask for your doctor’s approval.
With arthritis and arthralgia, doctors are generally very supportive of home management strategies and lifestyle changes as a way to combat pain and enhance the overall wellness of the patient.
Weight Loss and Nutritional Goals
Excess weight puts pressure on joints that may already be experiencing pain due to arthritis. Reducing excess weight will also reduce the load on these joints, potentially leading to a lessening of pain.
Many people with arthritis are already within a healthy weight range. If you are not medically classified as overweight or obese, talk to your doctor before you attempt to change your weight.
Proper nutrition is equally as important for patients looking to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight. A highly nutritious diet that involves adequate protein intake, meeting the daily recommended values of vitamins and minerals, and proper hydration will help the body function optimally. It’s never a bad idea to make informed choices about the things you eat.
Low Impact Workout Routines
Exercise helps to build strength, and strength helps to support the body. People with arthritis may not exercise as often as they should because pain or stiffness inhibits them.
Low impact exercise, like swimming or stationary bicycles, allow people with joint pain to build strength and focus on their health without exacerbating their joint pain.
Topical Relief Products
Arthritis and arthralgia both involve breakthrough pain. Even people taking prescription medication as directed may experience arthritis pain from time to time.
Topical products are a simple way to relieve pain from the surface, and a little massage, while you apply them, will boost their effects even further.
Find Relief with Hempvana
Hempvana Arthritis Pain Relief Gel is specifically formulated to relieve aches and pains associated with arthritis. Our fast-absorbing gel is easy to apply directly to the affected area and begins to get to work within moments.
Our lightweight gel is formulated with moisturizing hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil moisturizes the skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth after application. It also reduces friction, making it easy to massage the product into the aching joint.
The power of menthol stimulates the skin, providing a relaxing wash of cool over warm, painful joints. Our Arthritis Pain Relief gel is formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin, two supplements frequently used to promote joint health.
Glucosamine naturally occurs in the cartilage of healthy joints. The body produces less glucosamine as we age. While glucosamine cannot repair cartilage, it may be able to prevent the degradation of cartilage.
If you have arthritis or arthralgia, follow your doctor’s recommendations. Hempvana is the perfect complementary solution to your comprehensive treatment plan. Don’t let joint pain stop you from living the life you want to live.