Joint Stiffness versus Arthritis: What’s the Difference?

Joint

Joint Stiffness Vs. Arthritis: What’s the Difference?

Joint stiffness and arthritis are closely related but have distinct differences and causes. Joint stiffness is a natural part of aging, but painful stiffness can be a sign of arthritis. Knowing the difference between the two can help you and your doctor determine the best treatment to manage the pain.

What is Joint Stiffness?

Joint stiffness is caused when the muscles and ligaments that secure the joint become too tight, making it difficult to move. It normally affects the joints in the neck, shoulders, knees, ankles, hands, and wrists. It also increases with age, and can be caused by an over- or under active lifestyle or lack of physical activity.

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What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition where the joints become inflamed, causing pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Arthritis can be caused by many things, such as age, lifestyle, or injuries. It is divided into two major groups: osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on the joints, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by an autoimmune disorder.

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Diagnosing the Problem

If you have joint pain that does not seem to go away, it is important to have it checked by your doctor. The doctor can perform tests to determine whether you have joint stiffness or arthritis, and what the underlying cause is. Treatment for joint stiffness and arthritis varies, which is why it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis.

Managing Joint Stiffness and Arthritis Pain

Treatment for joint stiffness and arthritis can include physical therapy, medications, or even surgery. If you have joint stiffness, stretching and strengthening exercises can help reduce the stiffness and improve your joint mobility. For arthritis, it is important to take medications regularly to help manage the pain and reduce inflammation. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and weight management can also help reduce the pain and improve your overall health.

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Conclusion

Joint stiffness and arthritis are two different conditions with different causes and treatments. Knowing the difference between the two can help you and your doctor determine the best way to manage the pain. With the right treatment, you can reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.