Polyarthralgia or polyarthritis involves joint pain at 5 or more joints of the body. This type of arthritis is common in aged people and attacks both gender equally. In simple terms, polyarthralgia is multiple joint pain. Oligoarthralgia is the term used to describe joint pain of less than 5 joints in the body and polyarthralgia damages at least 5 joints simultaneously. Muscle stiffness, rigidity and fatigue are the common symptoms of polyarthralgia.

The main cause for polyarthralgia is wear and tear of the joints and cartilages in the body. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder wherein the body’s own immune system produces antibodies for attacking the joints. Treatment is available in many forms like conservative measures, painkillers, antidepressants and strengthening exercises for joints.

Polyarthralgia and Polymyalgia : Difference

The term “myalgia” indicates muscle pain. Polymyalgia involves muscle weakness and pain in many parts of the body. Polyarthralgia has nothing to do with muscles it is a disease related to joints. The major symptoms of polymyalgia are stiffness and fatigue with pain all over the body but polyarthalgia is marked by inflammation of the joints (multiple joints). There is perhaps only one similarity between these two. People living with polymyalgia are likely to develop polyarthralgia in future.

Symptoms of Polyarthralgia :

The primary symptoms of this disease are inflammation of the joint, stiffness and joint pain. The affected joints develop swelling and causes intense pain. Sometimes the skin becomes hard and thick causing stiffness of joints. Owing to these symptoms it resembles rheumatoid arthritis. The signs are the worst in the morning after resting for long. The joints become stiff and lose flexibility and locks normal movement. After some time the intensity of rigidity reduces and one is able to move his joint.

The highlight of this disease is it involves many joints like hip, knee, ankle, upper limb, shoulder, hands and legs. Quality of life is affected if the swelling of joints is severe and one has to depend on medications to manage the symptoms. Signs of polyarthralgia can become evident in the age group of 30-50. The skin on the hands or fingers may become thick due to swelling causing pain and stiffness.

Causes :

Polyarthralgia is a type of arthritis and is caused by wear and tear of the cartilages of the joint. The slick coating at the ends of the bones gets weaker due to overuse causing pain and stiffness. Any joint injury or sometimes even an infection can trigger this problem. In many cases the disease progresses slowly causing inflammation of many more joints. The soft lining of the synovial membrane gets swollen it induces excruciating pain when two bones meet each other without cushion support.

Obesity is believed to be another cause for polyarthralgia. The joints are continuously bombarded with heavy loads of weight and are under constant pressure. This would eventually cause wear and tear of joints. People with wrong food habits and sedentary lifestyle are likely to develop many kinds of arthritis later.


Diagnosis :

Based on the symptoms, your doctor will carefully examine the affected joints and adjacent areas. He may order for imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scanning to get clear picture of the anatomy of the joints and to detect the intensity of inflammation.

Treatment :

The main goal of treating polyarthralgia is to provide relief from symptoms and to improve quality of life of the patients. Since polyarthralgia involves swelling of multiple joints, combined approach of medications and therapy would be effective. Your doctor would recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to manage pain initially. If you have disturbance of sleep due to intense pain you may be given antidepressant drugs.

You will be referred to a physiotherapist to learn stretching and strengthening exercises. To begin with it would be very difficult for you to move the fingers or hands affected with inflammation. But gradually your symptoms will improve as you start working on it. Diet restriction and lifestyle changes will help you a lot in getting out of the intense pain and stiffness. If you are obese, you can consult a dietician to make out for weight loss plan.

Given with the availability of high tech medical equipments and expert medical advice in your area, it is easy to fight polyarthralgia. The progression of the symptoms of increased swelling of joints in many areas can be prevented by medications as well as exercise regimen. Stick on to the schedule of exercise and be optimistic to overcome the disease. For severe cases your doctor would use corticosteroid injection on the affected joint area to reduce swelling and to control stiffness. One shot of medicine is enough to control pain for many weeks and you will be given repeated injection whenever symptoms are worse.

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