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Arthritis and Rheumatism

Can Arthritis Cause Inflammation Without Noticeable Swelling?

01/02/2008

Question:

Eight years ago I had an X-Ray that showed arthritis in my spine in my upper back. It was just in one place. I have had some issues for some time with problems just on the left side not related to any heart condidtion. However, I have noticed for quite some time that although I have no noticeable swelling of my joints or redness, my knee feels fat and I am experiencing some pain in my left foot and periodic pain in my left elbow. If I use Aspercream the pain in my leg and knee tend to go away. I thought I read somewhere that Vasculitis is related to arthritis and I have been experiecing pain in my neck where the carotid artery is at times only to have it disappear with the use of Ibuprofen or baby Asprin. I have had an MRI of my head and neck and it shows no problems with blockages but I am wondering if perhaps all these left sided problems could be related to some type of arthritis. I thought that arthritis was stictly joint pain, does it also cause inflammation without noticeable swelling even though you can`t see the swelling and can it affect just one side of your body?

Answer:

Sometimes arthritic conditions can cause inflammation that is subtle without noticeable swelling of the joint. It can affect only one side of the body. You should be evaluated by rheumatologist if not already done.

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Response by:

Johnny  Su, MD Johnny Su, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University