Conditions that can mimic arthritis pain
Joint pain is extremely common, about one-third of adults experience it regularly. If your joints are giving you grief – and you don’t have a recent injury to blame – osteoarthritis (OA) is a likely cause. The condition, in which the joint becomes inflamed as the cartilage between the bones wears away, has more than 2.2 million Australians in agony, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Even though the condition can’t be cured, over the counter medications, prescription drugs, and surgery can help ease the ache.
But OA isn’t the only health condition that can cause joints to become tender and stiffen. Before you reach for anti-inflammatories, read on to see if you could be suffering from one of these conditions which can mimic arthritis pain.
Arthritis can be mistaken for fibromyalgia as they share many of the same symptoms, like muscle pain, limited range of motion, and joint stiffness, especially in the morning. The difference? With fibromyalgia, the pain is often body-wide, while arthritis tends to be localised to a few joints, says orthopaedic surgeon Dr Alexis Colvin.
“Tendinitis and osteoarthritis can feel very similar,” says Dr Colvin. “Pain, stiffness, and swelling are common symptoms in both.” This makes distinguishing between the two even harder. With both conditions, the pain doesn’t usually come from one event, but gradually increases over time, says Dr Colvin. If you’re unsure what’s causing your joint to act up, see your doctor. X-rays and MRI imaging can help doctors determine which condition is causing the pain, so they can help you find relief.