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Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

an elderly couple

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease affecting the body’s joints. It typically affects older individuals but isn’t uncommon in middle-aged adults.

RA may affect several joints at once, especially those in the wrists, hands, knees, shoulders, and hips. Here are a few signs to watch out for:

Joint Pain and Swelling

Joint pain and swelling are the two most common signs of RA. The condition affects the joints, after all, and inflammation of the joint lining causes excruciating discomfort. It irritates the nerve endings, resulting in swelling and pain.

If you’ve noticed joint swelling or tenderness lately, you may have RA. Subtle joint swelling is among the early signs of the disease and shouldn’t be ignored.

Decreased Range of Motion

Have you noticed a strange discomfort while bending or moving your joints? It may be due to RA!

Decreased range of motion is among the most common symptoms of this degenerative disease. In the initial stages, you may experience difficulty stretching or bending your joints. You may also encounter resistance and limited flexibility. As the disease progresses, your range of motion is likely to be impacted even more.

an elderly couple sitting together


Individuals with RA tend to feel fatigued. They may feel exhausted and low on energy despite resting. They may also get tired quickly, no longer being able to perform physical activities the way they used to.

Fatigue is the body’s natural response to joint inflammation. You may have arthritis if you’ve been feeling fatigued lately. In many cases, fatigue is the first arthritis symptom that occurs, even before joint pain.

Flare Symptoms

Individuals with RA typically experience flare symptoms. These are similar to the usual RA symptoms except that they fluctuate. For instance, you may experience a flare in a particular symptom after a period of nonoccurrence. Flare symptoms may occur due to a change in diet, weather, stress level, or health.

If you experience chronic inflammation or joint swelling every couple of months, it’s a sign of RA. You should find a pain management specialist to help make you more comfortable.

Arthritis Treatments at Houston Physicians’ Hospital

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are manageable if you get the right medical assistance at the right time. At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, our pain management specialists can work in conjunction with physical therapists to help you regain strength and mobility while alleviating stiffness and pain.

Visit our website to find a physical therapy location near you or pain management specialist who’s right for you. We also offer joint pain treatments, hip replacement, and other orthopedic solutions to manage other orthopedic conditions.