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Everything you need to know about Arthritis

Diagnosis

During the physical exam, your doctor will check your joints for swelling, redness, and warmth. He or she will also want to see how well you can move your joints. Depending on the type of arthritis suspected, your doctor may suggest some of the following tests.

Laboratory tests

The analysis of different types of body fluids can help pinpoint the type of arthritis you may have. Fluids commonly analyzed include blood, urine, and joint fluid. To obtain a sample of your joint fluid, your doctor will cleanse and numb the area before inserting a needle in your joint space to withdraw some fluid (aspiration).

Imaging

These types of tests can detect problems within your joint that may be causing your symptoms. Examples include:

Treatment

Arthritis treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and improving joint function. You may need to try several different treatments, or combinations of treatments before you determine what works best for you.

Medications

The medications used to treat arthritis vary depending on the type of arthritis. Commonly used arthritis medications include:

Therapy

Physical therapy can be helpful for some types of arthritis. Exercises can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints. In some cases, splints or braces may be warranted.

Surgery

If conservative measures don’t help, your doctor may suggest surgery, such as:

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Clinical trials

Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions, and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.

Lifestyle and home remedies

In many cases, arthritis symptoms can be reduced with the following measures:

Alternative medicine

Many people use alternative remedies for arthritis, but there is little reliable evidence to support the use of many of these products. The most promising alternative remedies for arthritis include:

Preparing for your appointment

While you might first discuss your symptoms with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of joint problems (rheumatologist) for further evaluation.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list that includes:

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:

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