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Migratory Arthritis
Knowledge Center

Migratory Arthritis

January 24, 2019
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Migratory arthritis is characterized by pain and swelling in one or two joints. As the symptoms in that joint resolve, similar symptoms in another joint emerge, usually in an asymmetric location. So if your left shoulder is in pain and it subsides and the right shoulder becomes painful, you may have migratory arthritis. It migrates around your joints and is unpredictable.   Migratory arthritis can affect people with other forms of arthritis or result from a serious illness. Migratory arthritis typically occurs in cases of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, and lupus. Illnesses that can cause migratory arthritis include rheumatic fever, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, hepatitis B and C, and serious bacterial infections. Pain in a specific joint is often the first symptom that may cause you to suspect arthritis or another health condition. When the pain stops and moves to another joint, you may be experiencing migratory arthritis. Other symptoms include redness from visibly swollen joints, rashes, fever, warmth, fatigue, and weight changes. Chronic inflammation is often a determining factor in the way arthritis migrates. Stopping your pain and treating the inflammation are the DOC health team’s priorities. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, are effective in treating mild pain and inflammation. Severe joint pain may be relieved with corticosteroid injections.

Although medications play a key role in migratory arthritis treatment, lifestyle changes can improve the long-term outlook. A healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and tuna may reduce inflammation. Regular exercise, walking, and swimming benefit your joints without causing extra pain. Treating joint pain and inflammation early decreases the chances for the pain to migrate to your other joints. Make an appointment with your DOC orthopedic surgeon to identify the cause of your condition and get on the right track for treatment and relief. Your orthopedist may recommend DOC physical therapy to regain or maintain range of motion, strength, and relieve pain caused by migratory arthritis.  

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