What is the Difference Between Inflammatory Arthritis and Fibromyalgia ?

Certain types of inflammatory arthritis and fibromyalgia are often confused because their symptoms mimic one another in early stages.

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While fibromyalgia is considered an arthritis-related condition, it is not a true form of arthritis because it does not cause tissue inflammation nor does it damage joints or muscles. However some consider it a rheumatic condition because it can make the joints and surrounding tissues painful and sore to use. In general people with fibromyalgia have normal looking X-ray and blood tests results, and family and friends drive them mad by telling them they look fine. A person with arthritis will have abnormal test results and they may also be in visible pain, with swollen or deformed joints.

Distinguishing between the two to yield a proper diagnosis is important to ensure proper treatment. Both are chronic disorders earmarked by long-lasting pain.

Inflammatory Arthritis

There are several types of inflammatory arthritis which include:

Inflammatory arthritis leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. Long-standing inflammatory arthritis can result in joint deformation and disability.

Typical Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis/Osteoarthritis  Osteoarthritis

• Pain in affected joints, particularly after repetitive use.
• Stiffness, you may feel creaky first thing in the morning.
• Creaking joint noises, cracking and crunching sounds.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Reduced appetite.
• Feeling generally unwell.
• Fatigue.
• Swollen glands.
• General feeling of weakness.

Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia affects not only joints, but muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues in the elbows, hips, chest, knees, lower back, neck, and shoulders. Fibromyalgia can develop alone or with inflammatory arthritis.

Common Shared Symptoms

Both fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis sufferers have pain and stiffness in the morning. Other common symptoms shared by the two conditions include:

  • fatigue
  • sleep disturbances
  • limited range of motion
  • numbness or tingling

Typical Signs of Fibromyalgia

• Pain in specific points of the body called the fibromyalgia tender points.
• Flu like pain, primarily in the neck and shoulders.
Depression/anger.
• Feeling anxious.
• Constant extreme fatigue.
• Chronic back pain.
• Bouts of constipation or diarrhea.
• Jaw or facial tenderness (90 percent experience this symptom).
• Headaches and migraines (up to 50 percent of cases).

Diagnosing Symptoms

Tests to distinguish fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis include X-rays, blood tests, and ultrasound. Besides inflammatory arthritis, fibromyalgia also shares common symptoms with several other conditions.

  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • cancer
  • depression
  • HIV infection
  • hyperthyroidism
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lyme disease

7 Easy Solutions to Relieve Psoriatic Arthritis Pain

Psoriatic arthritis (PA) is defined as a chronic inflammatory arthritis that develops in some individuals with the skin condition psoriasis. According to UpToDate the PA affects both men and women equally with an incidence of about 6 per 100,000 per year and a prevalence of approximately 1 to 2 per 1000 in the general US population. It is estimated that between 4% and 30% of psoriasis patients develop this form of arthritis. The condition is characterized by pain in feet and lower back region as well as swollen fingers and toes. PA can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, but you can minimize its effect with different management tips. This article will show you seven easy ways to relieve psoriatic arthritis pain.

  1. Stretch gently

The most common mistake that PA patients make is avoiding any type of physical activity because they assume it will aggravate their pain. That’s a wrong approach due to the fact that prolonged inactivity can weaken your muscles. Weak and tight muscles put additional pressure on your joints, thus worsening the pain. Although you should avoid vigorous activities and exercises that put too much stress on your joints, particularly feet and lower back, there are other things you can do to strengthen your muscles and minimize the pain you feel. Stretching and strengthening improve your range of motion and build muscle to take pressure off your joints. It’s highly important to determine which muscles you’ll work and how much you will work them. Ideally, you should stretch to a tolerable limit and gradually increase your stretch as you’re getting used to the current limit.

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  1. Hot and cold

Applying hot and cold compresses is considered the easiest and the most common solution to manage any type of joint pain. Ideally, you should use heat therapy to relieve stiffness of the joints while cold therapies minimize the pain. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following heat therapies:

  • Warm shower or bath

  • Soak in a warm whirlpool

  • Purchase moist heat pads

  • Use a heating pad for up to 20 minutes at a time

  • Apply mineral oil onto your hand joints, put on dishwashing gloves and place the hands in warm tap water for 5 to 10 minutes

Cold treatments that can help you relieve PA pain include:

  • Submerge your feet in a container of ice and water

  • Wrap a bag of ice (or frozen food) into a towel and apply onto the painful joint

  • Use gel cold packs

  1. Lose weight

Excess body weight poses as a huge threat to your overall health and wellbeing and it can also aggravate the intensity of pain in psoriatic arthritis. The Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases published results of the study which discovered that patients who took biologic medication and lost weight improved more than participants who didn’t lose weight. The research included 138 participants with PA and all of them were obese or overweight with the BMI of 25 or higher.

Increasing body weight forms a greater pressure onto the joints and induces more pain. Additionally, overweight or obese individuals with PA may experience a double dose of inflammation, which is one of the psoriatic arthritis causes. Therefore, making healthy lifestyle adjustments to start losing weight will decrease inflammation and pressure on your joints, and thereby reduce pain.

  1. Use adaptive devices

You can prevent joint pain and minimize the stress they endure by making it easier for yourself to do some day-to-day tasks. Using adaptive devices is a great way to manage PA. For example, walkers and crutches can help you move around more easily in case the pain you experience prevents you from walking around your home. Use larger utensils to eat because they are easier to hold. Instead of opening jars yourself, you can invest in jar openers. There are numerous devices nowadays that are created having aching joints in mind.

  1. Invest in quality shoes

Psoriatic arthritis patients usually experience pain in their feet, particularly toes and find it difficult to walk or exercise. In order to ease the pain and manage your condition effectively, you should invest in quality footwear. Ideally, you should go for supportive shoes with enough room for your toes. Furthermore, orthotics can relieve the pain as well because they redistribute pressure on your feet. Cushioned or supportive footwear can provide better skeletal alignment and comfort as well. It is highly recommended to visit a podiatrist (foot specialist) if you suffer from excruciating pain in your feet.

  1. Watch your diet

Your diet is very important! Although nutrition can’t cause PA or cure it entirely, it can aggravate the inflammation and thereby pain or it can reduce the inflammation in your body. It’s needless to mention that a healthy diet is necessary for overall health and weight loss at the same time.

Here are some diet tips to prevent PA flare-ups:

  • Reduce sugar consumption – sugar increases inflammation and contributes to weight gain. Instead of candies and unhealthy desserts, opt for fruits

  • Decrease intake of red meat – it increases cholesterol levels and could potentially induce joint pain. Ideally, you should focus on plant-based diet

  • Don’t give up on dairy just yet – most websites promote the exclusion of dairy from the diet because it “increases inflammation”. However, that’s not entirely correct. Study whose results were published in the Arthritis and Rheumatology showed that dairy doesn’t cause inflammation associated with arthritis. Therefore, if you’re a fan of milk and dairy products, you’re in the luck, but make sure you’re consuming low-fat versions

Other diet tips:

  • Limit saturated fat intake

  • Increase consumption of foods rich in antioxidant content

  • Increase intake of herbs and spices both of which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties

  • Up the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids

  1. Pace yourself

Although staying active is important for pain relief and PA management, you also have to relax. You can relax your body and mind through mediation, yoga practice, or with deep breathing. The key is to find the perfect balance between being active and relaxed. For example, when exercising, you should never push yourself to limits you can’t take. Ideally, you should stop with any type of activity (even with the housework) when it seems you’re getting tired. This way, you won’t get to pressure your joints and suffer from excruciating pain. Find some time to relax several times throughout the day.

Conclusion

Psoriatic arthritis usually affects joints in the feet, especially the toes, and lower back. The pain can have a big impact on a person’s quality of life which is why certain management techniques can help you prevent the pain onset and/or minimize it. This article showed you seven unique ways to ease the pain. Always bear in mind that PA requires healthy lifestyle choices, and perfect balance between relaxation and activity.

Author Bio

David Gomes completed his M.S Professional degree in California Institute of Technology. He lives in Oakland, California, USA. He loves to write on a variety of topics such as joint health, weight loss, beauty and skin care for blogs and on-line publication sites. He also loves latest technology, gadgets. You can connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.

9 Foods to Eat or Avoid for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis may affect as many as 30 percents of people who have psoriasis, although people who’ve never had psoriasis can also develop it according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. No kind of arthritis is pleasant, and if you’ve felt the pain and stiffness in your joints, you might be looking for a way to prevent flair ups in the first place. There’s no substitute for your doctor’s advice or medication, but the Arthritis Foundation and National Psoriasis Foundation both say certain changes in your diet might help.

Eat nuts and seeds

Psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, so it’s hard to overemphasize the benefits of nuts and seeds. Studies show people who eat more nuts lower their risk of dying from inflammatory diseases by 51 percent. Since they have monounsaturated fat and some contain omega 3s, they help decrease inflammation, the main culprit of your joint pain.

Avoid refined sugar and carbohydrates

According to Harvard Health Publications, refined sugars commonly found in baked goods and soft drinks increase inflammation. Don’t despair; you can still sweeten your coffee in the morning or bake at home by using the sugar substitutes recommended by the Arthritis Foundation – honey, stevia, and agave. Refined carbohydrates like white flower also cause trouble since they turn to glucose so quickly and raise your blood sugar. Replace white flour and starchy grains like white rice with whole grains, which your body digests more slowly. They also have more fiber and nutrients, and recent research shows people who eat whole grains also live longer.

Eat salmon

Fish are incredible for your health overall but are especially good for people who have psoriatic arthritis. Some fish like salmon contain omega 3s, which decreases inflammation according to the University of Maryland. They’re also high in protein and healthy fats, so you’ll feel full quickly, too.

Avoid red meat

Some meats are better than others, so although salmon might help, red meat can make your symptoms worse. According to the Telegraph, animals like pigs and cows contain sugar that humans don’t naturally produce. When we eat red meat, our body doesn’t recognize it and creates antibodies to attack it – hence, the inflammation.

Eat fruits and vegetables

The National Psoriasis Foundation emphasizes that the most important thing you can do to manage your arthritis is to maintain a healthy weight. Several studies have shown people who are overweight are more likely to develop both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in the first place while losing weight reduces symptoms. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories, have a lot of essential vitamins, and are packed with fiber, making them the perfect food for managing weight.

Avoid nightshades

Nightshades are vegetables or fruits like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Since they have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and are usually low in calories, not everyone should avoid them. However, like the Arthritis Foundation and wellness experts like Chris Kresser have pointed out, some people are sensitive to them, and say cutting them out of their diet prevents flair ups.

Eat olive oil

If you have psoriatic arthritis, you might want to switch to olive oil, which is another food high in omega 3s. Vegetable oils, canola, and sunflower oil have omega 6s. Although Omega 6 is also necessary for normal bodily functions, most people get too much. Olive oil has another benefit as well – it has oleocanthal, which works like a natural anti-inflammatory drug according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Avoid alcohol in excess

Oddly, some alcohol may be beneficial, but just 5 to 10 grams a day. That translates to a bit less than a glass of wine. Although a tiny bit can ease inflammation and lower cardiovascular disease, exceeding the daily amount can cause much more problems for people with any arthritis, especially since it can interfere with medication.

Eat probiotics

Although doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes psoriatic arthritis, a 2015 study found that patients with this condition or who just had psoriasis had fewer types of bacteria in their guts. Earlier studies have also shown a connection between gut bacteria and other types of arthritis. Since probiotics can help regulate gut bacteria, they might be beneficial although more studies are needed.

Eating healthy and avoiding certain foods isn’t a must, and it won’t get rid of arthritis, but many people find their diet has a big impact on their inflammation and joint pain. Every person is different, so you might find some foods trigger flair ups while others help prevent them, and this list is a good go to if you’re trying to figure out the triggers. You should also talk to your doctor if you have psoriasis and notice joint pain and discuss any dietary changes you’re thinking of making.

Author Bio

David Gomes completed his M.S Professional degree in California Institute of Technology. He lives in Oakland, California, USA. He loves to write on a variety of topics such as joint health, weight loss, beauty and skin care for blogs and on-line publication sites. He also loves latest technology, gadgets. You can connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.

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