Migratory Arthritis

The Scoop on Migratory Arthritis

Migratory arthritis is a particular form of arthritis. Arthritis is a disease that affects thousands of people who suffer from pain and swelling in their joints and have to deal with stiffness of movement. This is usually the result of inflammation in the joints.  

Arthritis is classified by doctors into over100 different categories depending on the body area that is affected. Besides the arthritis directly associated with inflammation in the joints, there are forms of arthritis caused by diseases in other body organs and problems of other tissues. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, even children.

Migratory arthritis is the problem in which there is initial swelling which increases rapidly in one or two joints and subsides over the next few days. As the symptoms subside in the original affected areas, the same pattern appears in another joint, usually in an asymmetric location. This movement of the pain and swelling from joint to joint is the reason for the name of the problem. The pattern of asymmetrical movement of joint pain associated with migratory arthritis is associated with some specific conditions and diseases.

Among the possible causes listed by medical professionals are:

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
gonococcal arthritis
rheumatic fever
systemic lupus erythematosus
Lyme disease
bacterial endocarditis
Whipple's disease

It is helpful to understand what happens when a person suffers from arthritis. The joint inflammation leads to pain, swelling and loss of motion and this is visible in the redness apparent in the affected area. There is usually inflammation in the body when it is affected by an injury or infected by a harmful agent such as a bacteria or a virus. The body’s reaction is communicated to the natural immune system which functions as the defense mechanism of the body. Cells move to help the affected area to deal with the threat to the body - by removing infected or damaged cells and by helping repair affected tissues. Once the problem is dealt with a normal healthy is restored the inflammation reduces.

In the case of arthritis, the inflammation does not reduce as it should in normal conditions. The continuing inflammation prolongs the problem and continues to damage more tissues and therefore the cyclical pattern of pain continues. This perpetuating pattern of pain and damage ends up affecting the bones and neighboring tissues leading to the stiffness of the joint and the difficulty in movement. This kind of breakdown of the immune system which hampers the proper functioning of the body is called an autoimmune disease.

Given that migratory arthritis is usually triggered by other health problems, it is important to have it properly diagnosed. You can list the sequence of your pain to your doctor and add details about other health issues to help with proper diagnosis. You can confer with your doctor to decide whether it will be helpful to see a rheumatologist. Self-aware patients, alert to their body’s patterns will help in a quick diagnosis of migratory arthritis.

The good news for patients is there are ways to manage the pain and to be proactive in dealing with disease. Arthritis patients today are normally treated with aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and dicolfenac. These help with the migratory variety of the disease also because they are effective analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.  In the specific case of migratory arthritis, treatment for the root cause such as rheumatic fever or Lyme disease also helps in countering the effects of the arthritic pain.

Many people who suffer from chronic arthritis also seek alternative medical therapies to cope with the pain. Naturopaths, much like doctors, recommend a combination of exercise and good diet to support the medicines. Among supplements recommended by those practicing alternative medicine are Omega 3 oils, Glocosamine and Chondroitin.

It will be useful for those feeling the signs arthritis to analyze the patterns of their pain and to have a detailed consultation with their doctor to ensure an accurate diagnosis and to initiate an effective treatment.