Arthritis literally means "inflammation of a joint." It is a major cause of lost work time and serious disability for many people. Although arthritis is mainly a disease of adults, children may also have it.
Arthritis is a chronic disease of the joints that causes pain and loss of movement of the joints. The word means joint inflammation (arth=joint, ritis=inflammation). There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Your everyday activities can be affected by arthritis and the pain and limitations of movement can last on and off for a lifetime.
Pain is major feature of arthritis. Common causes of arthritic pain include:
Common signs and symptoms of arthritis besides pain include:
Diagnosing the exact cause of your pain can be difficult at times owing to a wide range of possible causes. Your doctor will take a complete medical history and do a thorough physical exam to diagnose the underlying condition. Medical history may include questions regarding location of the pain, time and pattern of the pain, and any other associated symptoms. Your doctor may order a series of diagnostic tests to know if arthritis is what's behind your joint pain and discomfort. The common tests that your doctor may ask for include:
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