Arthritis: Symptoms and Treatment

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What is arthritis?

Arthritis is often misconstrued by most people to be a disease, which makes the bodily joints stiff and painful. However, it is not a single disease. Arthritis is an umbrella term for a number of medical disorders that involve the musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints or in other words, the areas where two or more bones meet in the body.

Types of Arthritis

There are over 100 different kinds of arthritis. The most common ones are:

  • Osteoarthritis: also known as a degenerative joint disease, occurs when the cartilage between the bones begins to wear off, causing pain and stiffness in the joints.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: is a painful autoimmune disease in which the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks the joints causing inflammation in the tissue lining the insides of the joints.

  • Gout: one of the most painful forms of arthritis, it occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body resulting in the formation of uric acid crystal deposits in joints

  • Ankylosing spondylitis: is a form of arthritis that affects the spine. It can cause the vertebrae to fuse together causing pain and stiffness from the neck to the lower back.

  • Juvenile arthritis: is a painful autoimmune disease which occurs in children younger than 16 years. The immune system of the body mistakenly attacks the joints causing inflammation in the tissue lining the insides of the joints.  

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus): is a disease in which the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the body. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.

  • Scleroderma: is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body produces too much collagen causing the skin and connective tissue to harden.

  • Psoriatic arthritis: is a form of arthritis that causes inflammation of skin and joints. It occurs to people who have psoriasis, which is a skin disease related to the immune system.

  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica: is a form of arthritis that causes muscle pain and stiffness, especially in the shoulders.

How does arthritis occur?

Some forms of arthritis, such as Osteoarthritis, occur when the cartilage between the bones begin to wear down. Cartilage is the connective, strong and fibrous tissue between the joints, which stimulates the smooth movement of the body, and helps in absorbing shocks while performing activities such as walking or running. A reduction of this tissue makes the joints stiff and painful.

Some other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Scleroderma, and  Juvenile arthritis occur when the immune system of the body malfunctions by attacking the healthy tissue in the body. The cause for this is unknown.

Another form of arthritis, known as gout, occurs due to abnormal metabolism.

Who is prone to arthritis?

You might be prone to arthritis if :

  • you have a family history of arthritis
  • you have suffered frequent joint injuries
  • suffer from frequent infections
  • suffer from irregular metabolism
  • suffer from obesity
  • you are a woman (women tend to suffer from arthritis more than men)

What are the symptoms of arthritis? How is arthritis diagnosed?

People who suffer from arthritis usually complain of:

  • joint stiffness (especially in the morning)
  • tiredness
  • skin rash
  • mild fever
  • joint swelling
  • joint deformity
  • joint pain ( especially in the morning)
  • limping


To diagnose arthritis, the doctor performs a physical exam, and especially checks for painful swollen joints, stiffness, and loss of motion. Blood tests are done and X-rays are taken to determine the type of arthritis affecting you.

What are the complications of arthritis?

Arthritis can almost cripple day-to-day life. Unless treated effectively, any form of this disease has a long-term effect.

The most common complications that you may face as a result of this disease are:

  • joint stiffness, causing you pain and restricting your bodily movements

  • inflammation (if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis) in different parts of your body, including lungs, heart, eyes, and blood vessels

  • heart diseases that can occur from any form of inflammatory arthritis

  • bleeding inside the joints

  • inflammation, swelling of and pain in joints

  • rupture of ligaments around the joint

  • carpel tunnel syndrome could affect you if you have rheumatoid arthritis

  • inflammation in different parts of the body such as eyes, heart, lungs, and blood vessels if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation of blood vessels can also cause cardiovascular diseases.

What is the treatment for arthritis?

Medical treatments

Currently there is no treatment which can completely cure arthritis, however, the right medical interventions can greatly help to reduce your symptoms.

Your doctor may prescribe medications to control the arthritis pain or to bring down the inflammation and swelling. Steroids are often prescribed to treat inflammatory arthritis. Steroids can be taken in tablet form, and can also be injected into the joints.

The doctor can also advise you to undergo different forms of therapy such as:

  • Hydrotherapy: wherein you will be taught to exercise in a warm pool which will relax your muscles and joints.

  • Physiotherapy: which consists of following an exercise regimen tailored to suit your specific needs. It can also include pain alleviating treatments such as ice-packs, heat-packs and massage.

  • Occupational Therapy: which consists of enabling people to manage their daily activities efficiently by using specialised aids and tools.

Based on the seriousness of your condition the doctor may also advise you to opt for Joint Surgery. If your joint (s) ( hip, knee, shoulder, and elbows)  have been damaged beyond repair, you will benefit greatly from the joint replacement surgery.


Regular exercising for around 20 mins can not only prevent arthritis but also help to ease the pain of arthritis. Exercise helps in keeping the blood flow smooth, which provides nutrition to the cartilage.

Exercising also helps in weight loss which in turn alleviates the symptoms of arthritis. Obesity, or even putting on some extra weight puts pressure on the joints. Therefore, overweight people are at an extra risk of arthritis.
Exercise makes the muscles stronger and bigger. The joints in the human body are surrounded by muscles. Therefore, when they grow stronger and bigger the joints are well protected. Once the muscles are stronger they take up the pressure instead of the joints taking up the pressure.
Swimming is a very good exercise for people with arthritis as it does not put pressure on the joints.  

Would you like to consult a doctor for Arthritis ?

Patient Experiences

Vimla V Zagade
Relief from Piles, Arthritis and Urine Infection
My Wife having severe problem of Piles, Arthritis & Urine Infection. We had been to many doctors with our family doctor but no result. She was in lot of pain. We visit Dr. Jonwals Hospital Dr. Sunita & Dr. Laxman Attend her & give treatment & in just 2 weeks treatment her all sufferings are drastically reduced. She is feeling good & confident. Thanks to Dr Laxman & Dr Sunita Jonwal. ☺...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Sunita Jonwal
DrJonwal's Niramay Ayush Panchkarm Health Institute & Research Hospital
Relief From Arthritis After Panchkarma Treatment
Mr ahirwar
Homeopathy Treatment For Arthritis
I am suffering from arthritis no relief in allopathy than take a homoeopathy medicine fitted *** relief in my trouble this to u sir relief in my trouble in some days ...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Surendra Nath Tripathi
Tripathi's Computerized Homoeopathy Clinic / Research Centre

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
I am having crunching, popping and grinding noises in my neck and shoulder. There is not much pain in joints but, the muscles do feel tight and painful. I always get urge to stretch these muscles This is on my ride side. Now, my skull and back side of neck also seems to be having numbness or muscle spasm on the right side. There is some pressure in right ear too which gets relieved temporarily when I rotate my head. Is this arthritis causing a pinched nerve or blocking an artery? Can you suggest? Thanks.
Dr. Venkat Raghav
General Physician, Bangalore
Hello, that could be paraspinal muscle or arthritis or disc prolapse .. Symptoms overlap in these conditions ,its difficult to differentiate without MRI. If you have weight lifting history it could be disc prolapse , Even in arthritis there are many types like septic arthritis , spondylitis etc... So Consult orthopedic surgeon with MRI of LS spine.
Verified User
She has pains in her joints, I am looking for a clinic or hospital that provides the best treatment for Arthritis in Bangalore
Dr. Harisha N L
General Physician, Bangalore
There are many any orthopedic surgeon can handle it...Consult any medical college hospital or multi speciality hospital...there are a number of treatments that can help ease symptoms and reduce the chances arthritis becoming worse...options are analgesics, NSAIDs,intraosseous steroid injection and hyaluronic acid injections,Physiotherapy like strengthening exercises etc ... Treatment depends upon the stage...good luck.
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Did you know?

Arthritis on the rise in India

Arthritis, especially osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is alarmingly on the rise in India. There are over a 180 million arthritis patients in India.

Age range

It has been observed that women in the age group of 20 years to 40 years suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and women older than 40 years suffer more from knee osteoarthritis. Women are more affected by this disease in India, than men.

Common causes

The current lifestyle, hectic work patterns, and unhealthy diet are the reasons the doctors cite as the reasons behind this rise in the number of cases of arthritis in India.

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Home Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey in a warm glass of water and drink every morning. This drink has an alkalizing effect on the body which can reduce the arthritis pain. Arthritis thrives in an acidic body.

Massage with Mustard Oil

Massaging with warm mustard oil is highly effective for getting rid of arthritis pain, as it stimulates blood flow.

Consuming Turmeric

Consuming turmeric in juice or powder form can keep inflammation at bay. You can squeeze out a teaspoon of turmeric juice, mix it with a glass of lukewarm water and drink in the morning. Alternatively, you can mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in milk and drink.

Massaging with Borage Seed Oil

Borage Seed Oil is highly effective in providing relief from arthritis. Massaging the oil will help in soothing the painful and swollen joints. Alternatively, you can also consume one teaspoon of borage oil daily.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Keeping yourself well hydrated with water helps a lot. Water lubricates the joints, which prevents joint stiffness and the subsequent inflammation and pain.

Eating Vegetables and Fruits

Eating green, fibrous and leafy vegetables and fruits can prevent and also alleviate arthritis symptoms. Vegetables and fruits are alkaline in nature and thus keep arthritis at bay.

Take Fish Oil Capsules

Including fish and fish oil capsules in the diet, can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

Warm Shower

A warm shower in the morning can help keep the arthritis pain at bay.