Everyone knows that stiffness and joint pain come with age. We’ve all watched our parents groan as they stand up from the couch or hobble from the car after a long ride — and maybe you’re doing those things already.
While it’s normal to lose some of your range of motion as you get older, you shouldn’t disregard any joint pain and stiffness, even if it feels minor at the moment. At best, you’re experiencing regular wear and tear that can be fixed with exercise; but at worst, you may have arthritis.
Dr. David Berkower, our pain management physician at Berkower Pain and Spine Rehabilitation in Pembroke Pines, Florida, knows all too well what untreated arthritis looks like. Below, learn about four of the top signs of arthritis — and start considering treatment before it progresses.
1. You have consistent pain in one or more joints
Pain is the hallmark of arthritis. People living with arthritis experience intense pain in their joints — often in several joints across the body. Sometimes arthritis pain feels like mild tenderness, but other times, arthritis pain can sideline you, making it difficult to complete even the most basic daily activities. This is especially true if you have arthritis in your arms or hands. Arthritis pain in your hips or legs may make it difficult to walk comfortably.
2. You experience swelling and stiffness in your joints
In addition to pain, you may notice that your joints swell up and become stiff. They may be stiff without visible swelling, too. This happens because your joints become inflamed and accumulate fluid. Swollen joints may be warm to the touch.
Stiffness in your joints, particularly if it’s chronic, can signify arthritis. Stiffness might come on slowly and progress to the point where it’s unbearable, if it’s left untreated.
3. You feel better when you move around
Have you ever noticed how you feel extremely stiff when you sit down for long periods of time, but start to feel better after you’ve been up for a while?
Though it may sound counterintuitive, physical activity can actually make your arthritis pain temporarily subside. The key is to keep your activity light and low-impact, because high-intensity, high-impact exercise may exacerbate arthritis pain.
Physical activity reduces arthritis pain because it encourages blood flow to your joints. Over time, an exercise program can increase your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around your joints, further reducing pain.
4. You feel tired and weak much of the time
One lesser-known symptom of arthritis is weakness. Many people feel exceptionally tired or physically weak, seemingly without an explanation. In reality, the cause is inflammation. Arthritis is characterized by inflamed joints, and inflammation throughout the body can cause overall tiredness and weakness.
If you think you have arthritis, seeking early treatment may prevent a lot of pain down the road. Get in touch with Dr. Berkower to discuss your arthritis pain and start a treatment plan. You can schedule an appointment by calling 954-430-9972, or you can book online.