Should I see a doctor about arthritis?
Many people think that nothing can be done about arthritis pain. They think they need to figure out how to live with it - perhaps just like their parents did. For that reason, they think there is no reason to see a doctor. But that's not true. If you have a joint that continually aches, you should definitely see your doctor. Treatment can ease your discomfort and may also prevent it from getting worse. In some cases, irreversible joint damage occurs within the first 2 years after arthritis has started. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can really pay off and are critical to your overall quality of life. Here's why.
- The pain from arthritis can cause you to stop moving as much as you would have. That can make your muscles weak. Progressive muscle weakness can lead to increasingly less stable joints, poor muscle reflexes, and tiredness.
- Painful, stiff joints can interrupt balance and make it easier to fall. Because it becomes increasingly harder to recuperate from falls as you age, it's key to avoid falling.
- Keeping your joints in one position for too long because they are achy or painful may cause you to lose the ability to fully straighten them out. This is known as a contracture.
- As arthritis worsens, it can impact every part of your life. It can limit your ability to participate in daily household chores, in your work, and in pleasurable social activities.
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