Download PDF Still Hurting? FIND HEALTH! Discover Whats Behind Your SYMPTOMS (That Doctors Cant Explain)

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In that case, you might need antibiotics or an outpatient procedure to drain the cyst. Irresistible as it might be, never squeeze a cyst yourself; breaking the skin can lead to infection. Feels like: A soft, fluid-filled bump that doesn't move and might increase and decrease in size periodically. Could be: A ganglion cyst, caused by a buildup of leaking joint fluid. The surgeon may drain the cyst with a needle or, if it's persistent, remove it surgically.

Feels like: A tender lump under your jaw or behind your ear. Could be: A swollen lymph node. Lymph nodes help filter toxins and fight infection, and it's normal for them to swell if you have a cold or a virus. Once you've recovered, a benign lymph node will shrink again. You also have lymph nodes in your armpits and groin. Possible treatment: If a lymph node becomes painful, continues to swell or doesn't decrease in size after a short time, you may need tests to diagnose what's going on.

Persistently swollen lymph nodes, especially when accompanied by other symptoms such as a cough, weight loss or fatigue, can be indicators of conditions like lung cancer or lymphoma , a cancer of the lymphatic system. Feels like: A small, pearly bump that resembles a mole or pimple. Could be: Basal cell carcinoma, a slow-growing skin cancer caused by sun exposure. Possible treatment: You'll likely be referred to a dermatologist for a biopsy, in which the doctor will take a small sample of the skin and send it to a lab for evaluation.

Feels like: Anything from a rubbery, movable lump to a firm, fluid-filled sac to a solid, irregularly shaped bump. A mammogram , as recommended by your doctor, is even better, because it can detect a lump before you can feel it. Could be: A cyst or a solid tumor called a fibroadenoma; like 80 percent of breast lumps, these are benign. However, breast cancer can also show up as a lump, so it's important to see your doctor right away if you feel a new lump. Most, but not all, breast cancer lumps are not painful to the touch.

If you're in your teens or 20s, your doctor might advise you to wait a menstrual cycle or two to see if the lump goes away, Wollner says. Even if you don't think a new lump or bump is worrisome, Wollner says if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician right away — no matter where your particular bump has popped up:. A Rush oncologist provides background on breast cancer, including who gets it and how it can be prevented.

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Nearly 40 million Americans or one in every seven people have arthritis. It affects people of all ages but it most often comes on as a person gets older. Arthritis usually causes stiffness pain and fatigue. The severity varies from person to person and even from day to day. In some people only a few joints are affected and the impact may be small. In other people the entire body system may be affected.

The joints of the body are the site of much of the action in arthritis. Many types of arthritis show signs of joint inflammation: swelling, stiffness, tenderness, redness or warmth. These joint symptoms may be accompanied by weight loss, fever or weakness. When these symptoms last for more than two weeks, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis may be the cause. Joint inflammation may also be caused by infection which can lead to septic arthritis. Degenerative joint disease osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis; joint inflammation is not a prominent feature of this condition.

While normal joints can support a vast amount of use, mechanical abnormalities of a joint make it susceptible to degeneration. It is healthy for you to keep active and move your joints. The joint can stiffen or even freeze. When you do try to move the joint and muscles hurt because they have been still for so long. Many things affect how your joints and muscles feel. Pain may be caused by swelling, joint damage, muscle tightness or spasm.

Muscles hurt after doing exercise or activities you aren't used to; sometimes when the joint is damaged simple activities stress the joint. When your joints are inflamed or damaged, you need to take certain precautions as you do all your daily activities. Your doctor or therapist can teach you exercises and the correct use of heat and cold to decrease pain.

You can also learn how to use your body with the least stress to your joints for less pain, easier movement and even more energy. Arthritis can make it hard to do the movements you rely on every day for work or taking care of your family.


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Numbness is often a symptom of nerve involvement. For instance, numbness in the arm may be related to nerve irritation in the neck. In such a situation, turning or bending the head to the involved side may increase the symptoms. For example, a pinched nerve in the right side of the neck may cause numbness in the arm and hand when a person attempts to look back over the right shoulder.

If nerve irritation becomes more severe, the arm and hand may become weak. A physical examination X-rays and an MRI of the neck and electrodiagnostic tests may be useful in establishing the diagnosis. Some people learn how to "pop their knuckles. Some joints crack as the ligaments and tendons that pass over them slide past bumps on the bones. Individuals who "crack their neck" make noise in this way.

Other joints lock up intermittently--often with a loud pop--because something gets caught in between the joint surfaces. A torn cartilage in the knee or a loose piece of bone or cartilage in the joint can do this. Once a joint is stuck in this way, it may need to be wiggled around to unlock it. This may also cause a pop. Finally joints that are arthritic may crack and grind. These noises usually occur each time the joint is moved. This noise is due to the roughness of the joint surface due to loss of the smooth cartilage.


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There is no evidence that cracking one's knuckles can cause arthritis directly. However repeated injury of a joint or repeatedly causing it to swell can injure the cartilage and potentially lead to degenerative joint disease. Pain from arthritis can be ongoing or can come and go.

It may occur when you're moving or after you have been still for some time. You may feel pain in one spot or in many parts of your body. Your joints may feel stiff and be hard to move. You may find that it's hard to do daily tasks you used to do easily, such as climbing stairs or opening a jar. Pain and stiffness may be more severe during certain times of the day or after you've done certain tasks. Some types of arthritis cause swelling or inflammation. The skin over the joint may appear swollen and red and feel hot to the touch. Some types of arthritis can also cause fatigue. There are more than different types of arthritis.

What causes most types is unknown.

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Because there are so many different types there are likely to be many different causes. Scientists are currently researching what roles three major factors play in certain types of arthritis. These include the genetic factors you inherit from your parents, what happens to you during your life and how you live. The importance of these factors varies for every type of arthritis.

It's important to find out if you have arthritis and what type it is because treatments vary for each type. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to help slow or prevent joint damage that can occur during the first few years for several types. Only a doctor can tell if you have arthritis and what type it is. When you see your doctor for the first time about arthritis, expect at least three things to happen. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms examine you and take some tests or X-rays. You can help your doctor by writing down information about your symptoms before your appointment.

Bring your answers when you see your doctor. Arthritis may limit how far or how easily you can move a joint. Your doctor may move the joint that hurts or ask you to move it. This is to see how far the joint moves through its normal range of motion. Your doctor may also check for swelling, tender points, skin rashes or problems with other parts of your body.

Finally your doctor may conduct some laboratory tests. These may include tests of your blood, muscles, urine or joint fluid. They also may include X-rays or scans of your body. The tests will depend on what type of arthritis your doctor suspects.

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They help confirm what type of arthritis your doctor suspects based on your medical history and physical exam and help rule out other diseases that cause similar symptoms. The overall results from your medical history, physical exam and tests help your doctor match your symptoms to the pattern for a specific type of arthritis.

It may take several visits before your doctor can tell what type of arthritis you have. Symptoms for some types of arthritis develop slowly and may appear similar to other types in early stages. Your doctor may suspect a certain type of arthritis but may watch how your symptoms develop over time to confirm it. Part of your treatment plan may involve working with different health-care specialists. Some common health-care professionals and their role in your treatment are described below. Most doctors make referrals to one of a group of health professionals with whom they work.

But you too can ask your doctor to request medical services you think might help you. Your family doctor may be an excellent source of medical care for your arthritis. Besides having your medication records, your family doctor already has your medical history, is familiar with your general physical health and knows of any past illnesses or injuries.

Diagnosing Arthritis

All these facts will give your family doctor a head start in prescribing a treatment plan most suited to your needs. If your arthritis affects many joints or other parts of the body or seems resistant to treatment, you may benefit from seeing a rheumatologist. This is a doctor with special training and experience in the field of arthritis.

Your family doctor, the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation or the county medical society can refer you to a rheumatologist. You can also search for a rheumatologist on the American College of Rheumatology web site. The patient plays an important role in his or her medical care. The patient can contribute to the success of a treatment plan by:. Keeping a positive attitude, though sometimes difficult, is an important ingredient in overcoming arthritis. Asking questions and finding out as much as you can about of arthritis and its treatment is important.

So talk over your concerns with your doctor. If you still need more information or if you have difficulty talking to your doctor , ask the nurse, physical therapist, social worker, occupational therapist to help you find answers to your questions. Arthritis most often affects areas in or around joints.

Joints are parts of the body where bones meet such as your knee. The ends of the bones are covered by cartilage, a spongy material that acts as a shock absorber to keep bones from rubbing together. The joint is enclosed in a capsule called the synovium. The synovium's lining releases a slippery fluid that helps the joint move smoothly and easily. Muscles and tendons support the joint and help you move. Different types of arthritis can affect one or more parts of a joint.

This often results in a change of shape and alignment in the joints. Certain types of arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, such as the skin and internal organs. It is important to know which type of arthritis you have so you can treat it properly. If you don't know which type you have, call your doctor or ask during your next visit.

Some common types of arthritis are described below. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. It affects many of us as we grow older. It is sometimes called degenerative arthritis because it involves the breakdown of cartilage and bones. This causes pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis usually affects the fingers and weight-bearing joints including the knees, feet, hips and back. It affects both men and women and usually occurs after age Treatments include pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise, heat or cold, joint protection, pacing your efforts, self-help skills and sometimes surgery.

Fibromyalgia affects muscles and their attachments to bone. Some people may need to take steroids ongoing to manage the disease and reduce symptoms. Immunosuppressive medicines. These are medicines that block or slow down your body's immune system. Physical therapy. This includes special exercises help to stretch and strengthen the muscles.

These can help keep muscles from shrinking. Heat therapy and rest. These can help ease muscle symptoms. Braces or other special devices. These can help to support muscles and help with movement. What are the complications of polymyositis? Can polymyositis be prevented? When should I call my healthcare provider? Key points Polymyositis causes muscles to become irritated and inflamed. The muscles start to become weak. The condition can affect swallowing and breathing. Although it can't be cured, the symptoms of polymyositis can be managed.

Next steps Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider: Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen. Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.

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Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you. At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you. Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are. Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways. Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean. Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.

If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit. Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.