What is the Treatment for Polyarthritis? A Comprehensive Guide

If you or someone you know is dealing with polyarthritis, then you probably have a lot of questions about what treatment options are available. Thankfully, there are a number of treatments that can help manage the symptoms of this condition and improve your quality of life. From medication to physical therapy, there are a variety of approaches that doctors can recommend based on your individual needs.

One common treatment option for polyarthritis is medication. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a range of different drugs designed to reduce inflammation and pain. This could include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), or corticosteroids. While medication can be an effective way of managing polyarthritis, it’s important to work closely with your doctor to find the combination of drugs that will work best for you.

Another treatment option for polyarthritis is physical therapy. This can involve a range of exercises and stretches designed to improve joint flexibility and reduce stiffness and pain. Working with a physical therapist can also help you learn more about healthy lifestyle habits, like maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities that could exacerbate your symptoms. Whether you’re dealing with mild or severe polyarthritis, physical therapy can be an effective way of reducing your symptoms and improving your quality of life.

Common Symptoms of Polyarthritis

Polyarthritis is a type of arthritis that affects five or more joints at the same time. This condition can cause significant discomfort and interfere with everyday activities. It is important to recognize the symptoms of polyarthritis so that patients can seek the proper treatment.

The most common symptoms of polyarthritis include:

  • Joint pain – Pain in affected joints is the most common symptom of polyarthritis. Pain can range from mild to severe and can be persistent or intermittent.
  • Joint stiffness – Stiffness in the affected joints can make movement difficult, especially after periods of inactivity or rest.
  • Swelling – Swelling in the joints can cause visible inflammation and tenderness to the touch.
  • Redness and warmth – The affected joints may appear red and warm to the touch due to inflammation.
  • Deformity – Over time, polyarthritis can cause joint deformity and limited range of motion in the affected joints.

Diagnosing Polyarthritis

If you experience any of the above symptoms, see your doctor right away. A diagnosis of polyarthritis is typically made through a combination of physical examination, medical history, and diagnostic tests.

A physical exam can reveal signs of joint inflammation and deformity. Your doctor may also order blood tests to look for markers of inflammation, such as elevated levels of C-reactive protein or erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI, may be used to assess joint damage and assess disease progression.

Treating Polyarthritis

There is no cure for polyarthritis, but the symptoms can typically be managed with a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and support therapies.

Medications Lifestyle Changes Support Therapies
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation Low-impact exercise to improve joint flexibility and reduce pain Occupational therapy to improve daily functioning and increase independence
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to slow joint damage Healthy eating to maintain joint health and overall well-being Physical therapy to improve strength, flexibility, and balance
Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and pain Weight management to relieve pressure on joints Pain management techniques, such as massage and acupuncture

Treating polyarthritis can be challenging, but a combination of medical treatment and self-care strategies can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Causes of Polyarthritis

Polyarthritis, also known as polyarticular arthritis, is defined as inflammation in multiple joints causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. The root cause of polyarthritis is often unknown, but there are several factors that can contribute to its development.

  • Autoimmune disorders: The immune system is responsible for protecting the body from foreign invaders, but in autoimmune disorders, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues. Polyarthritis can be a symptom of several autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis.
  • Infections: Certain infections can also lead to polyarthritis, such as Lyme disease, hepatitis B and C, and parvovirus. The infection triggers the immune system response, and the inflammation can result in joint damage and pain.
  • Genetics: Some types of polyarthritis have a genetic component, and individuals with a family history of the disease may be more at risk. For example, spondyloarthritis is associated with a genetic marker called HLA-B27.

Other Contributing Factors

While the exact cause of polyarthritis is often unknown, several factors can increase one’s risk of developing the disease. These include:

  • Age: Polyarthritis is more common in older adults.
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop certain types of polyarthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lifestyle: Poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking can all contribute to inflammation in the body and increase the risk of developing polyarthritis.

Medications and Treatment

The treatment for polyarthritis depends on the underlying cause of the disease. In some cases, medications can help manage symptoms and slow down joint damage. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation, while disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic agents can help prevent joint damage in individuals with autoimmune disorders. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace damaged joints.


Polyarthritis is a complex condition with various causes, including genetic and environmental factors. It’s crucial to work with a healthcare provider to identify the underlying cause of the disease and develop an appropriate treatment plan to manage symptoms and prevent joint damage. Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet, can also help reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health.

Causes of Polyarthritis Other Contributing Factors Medications and Treatment
Autoimmune disorders Age NSAIDs
Infections Gender DMARDs and biologic agents
Genetics Lifestyle Surgery

Types of Polyarthritis

Polyarthritis is a term used to describe the presence of arthritis in five or more joints. It is a common condition and can be caused by a wide range of factors including infection, autoimmune diseases, and trauma. There are four main types of polyarthritis:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): the most common type of polyarthritis. It is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation and joint damage throughout the body.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: a form of arthritis that occurs in some people with psoriasis. It causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling and can affect any joint in the body.
  • Lupus arthritis: a type of arthritis that occurs in people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling and can affect any joint in the body.

Other types of polyarthritis include reactive arthritis, which occurs in response to an infection, and gouty arthritis, which is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints.

Diagnosing polyarthritis

Polyarthritis is a condition wherein four or more joints are inflamed. The most common signs of this condition include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. The diagnosis of polyarthritis involves a careful physical examination, medical history-taking, laboratory tests, and imaging studies.

  • Physical Examination – During the physical examination, the doctor will inspect your joints for swelling, redness, and tenderness. They will also check your range of motion and observe if there is difficulty in movement.
  • Medical History-Taking – The doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and family history of arthritis. It is essential to inform your doctor if you have had any recent infections, injuries, or other medical conditions.
  • Laboratory Tests – Laboratory tests are essential for diagnosing polyarthritis. Blood tests like Rheumatoid Factor, Anti-CCP, and Anti-Nuclear Antibody (ANA) can detect antibodies that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. The Complete Blood Count (CBC) test can show whether there is inflammation in the body.

Imaging Studies – Imaging studies like X-rays, CT scans, and MRI can reveal the extent of damage to the joints. These tests can help your doctor determine whether the inflammation is due to arthritis or other conditions like infection or gout.

Laboratory Test Normal Value Value in Polyarthritis
Rheumatoid Factor Less than 14 IU/mL Greater than 14 IU/mL
Anti-CCP Negative Positive
Anti-Nuclear Antibody (ANA) Negative Positive

Early diagnosis of polyarthritis can help prevent joint damage and improve the quality of life. If you experience any of the symptoms of polyarthritis, it is essential to consult your doctor immediately.

Medications used to treat polyarthritis

Polyarthritis, a type of arthritis that affects multiple joints, can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and fatigue in those who suffer from it. There is no cure for polyarthritis, but there are medications available that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Here are some of the most commonly used medications:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): these drugs are used to reduce pain and inflammation in affected joints. Over-the-counter options include ibuprofen and naproxen, while prescription options like celecoxib or diclofenac are also available.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): these drugs are used to slow down the progression of polyarthritis and prevent joint damage. Methotrexate is the most commonly used DMARD, but others include sulfasalazine, hydroxychloroquine, and leflunomide
  • Corticosteroids: these drugs are used to reduce inflammation and swelling in joints. They can be taken orally, through injection, or applied topically. Prednisone is a common oral steroid, while triamcinolone is a common injection option.

It is important to note that all medications come with potential side effects, and it is important for patients to discuss these with their doctors before beginning any treatment regimens.

Biologic response modifiers (biologics)

In cases where NSAIDs, DMARDs, and corticosteroids are not effective, biologic response modifiers may be prescribed. These drugs are designed to target specific immune system pathways that lead to inflammation in joint tissue.

Biologics are typically administered via injection or infusion and can come with some serious potential risks, including an increased risk of infections and cancer. Patients receiving biologics are closely monitored by their doctors to ensure that the drugs are tolerable and effective in managing symptoms of polyarthritis.

Combination therapy

Doctors may also prescribe a combination of medications to manage polyarthritis symptoms. For example, a patient may take both an NSAID and a DMARD to address both pain and joint damage. Combination therapy can be effective in managing symptoms and improving quality of life for those affected by polyarthritis.


Treating polyarthritis involves a combination of medications and self-care strategies tailored to the individual patient. It is important for patients to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a treatment plan that addresses their unique symptoms and lifestyle. By exploring medication options and the potential side effects, patients can make informed decisions and work towards effectively managing their polyarthritis.

Medication Type Possible Side Effects
NSAIDs Pain relievers Stomach irritation, increased risk of heart attack and stroke
DMARDs Immunosuppressant Increased risk of infection, liver damage
Corticosteroids Anti-inflammatory Weight gain, bone loss, mood changes
Biologics Immunosuppressant Increased risk of infection and cancer, allergic reaction

The above table outlines the most commonly prescribed medications for polyarthritis, their types, and potential side effects. Patients should carefully consider these risks with their healthcare providers before beginning any medication regimens.

Non-pharmacologic treatments for polyarthritis

When it comes to treating polyarthritis, medication is not the only solution available. Non-pharmacologic treatments can be just as effective in reducing symptoms and improving overall quality of life. Below are some of the most common non-pharmacologic treatments for polyarthritis:

  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help relieve joint pain and stiffness, improve flexibility and mobility, and strengthen the muscles around affected joints. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling, and walking are recommended.
  • Hot and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to affected joints can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Hot therapy, such as warm towels or heating pads, can relax the muscles and increase blood flow, while cold therapy, such as ice packs, can numb the pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight can lessen the burden on joints, reducing pain and stiffness. Losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference.

Other non-pharmacologic treatments for polyarthritis include the use of assistive devices, such as braces or splints, and the adoption of a healthy and balanced diet. Some studies suggest that certain foods, such as those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, may have anti-inflammatory properties and could help reduce symptoms of polyarthritis.


Hydrotherapy, also known as aquatic therapy, is a type of physical therapy that takes places in a pool or other body of water. The water’s natural buoyancy makes it easier to move and exercise, which can be particularly beneficial for those with joint pain and limited mobility. Hydrotherapy can help improve flexibility, reduce pain, and increase strength and endurance.

Massage therapy

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissues and muscles to promote relaxation and alleviate pain. It can help reduce stiffness, improve circulation, and increase range of motion. A licensed massage therapist can create a customized treatment plan based on the individual’s specific needs and symptoms.


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body. It is thought to help balance the body’s energy flow and stimulate the release of natural painkillers. While the exact mechanism of action is still not fully understood, many people with polyarthritis have reported significant improvement in symptoms after undergoing acupuncture.

Treatment Benefits
Exercise Relieves joint pain and stiffness, improves mobility and flexibility, strengthens muscles
Hot and cold therapy Reduces pain and inflammation, improves circulation
Weight management Lessens burden on joints, reduces pain and stiffness
Hydrotherapy Improves flexibility, reduces pain, increases strength and endurance
Massage therapy Reduces stiffness, improves circulation, increases range of motion
Acupuncture Stimulates natural painkillers, improves energy flow, relieves symptoms

In conclusion, non-pharmacologic treatments for polyarthritis can be just as effective as medication in reducing symptoms and improving overall quality of life. Whether it’s exercise, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, or acupuncture, there are many options available for those looking to manage their polyarthritis symptoms without relying solely on drugs.

Living with polyarthritis

Polyarthritis is a chronic condition that can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. It can be incredibly difficult for those with polyarthritis to cope with the daily limitations the condition imposes on their lives. Here are some tips for living with polyarthritis:

  • Focus on self-care: This involves eating healthy, getting enough rest, and avoiding activities that could worsen your arthritic pain. You should also make sure to take any prescribed medications as directed by your doctor.
  • Stay active: Although this may seem counterintuitive, staying active can actually help to relieve arthritic pain. Gentle exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga can help to strengthen the muscles around your joints and reduce pain and stiffness.
  • Seek support: A diagnosis of polyarthritis can be extremely isolating. It’s important to reach out to friends, family, and support groups for help and guidance.

Managing pain with medication

There are several medication options available for those with polyarthritis, including:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These medications work by reducing inflammation and can be taken as needed when pain and swelling occur.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): These medications help to slow the progression of polyarthritis and reduce further joint damage.
  • Corticosteroids: These medications work quickly to reduce inflammation and pain and are often used in combination with DMARDs.

Joint protection techniques

Regardless of medication, joint protection techniques can help reduce polyarthritis symptoms. Some examples include:

  • Using assistive devices: Walking aids can help reduce the pressure on your joints, especially when you’re walking long distances.
  • Applying heat and cold: Heat can help to relax your muscles and reduce stiffness, while cold therapy can help to reduce inflammation and swelling around the joints.

Dietary changes

Diet can play a significant role in managing polyarthritis symptoms. Some dietary changes that can help include:

Food item Benefits
Fatty fish (salmon, tuna) Rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation
Colorful fruits and veggies Rich in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and joint damage
Nuts and seeds Rich in vitamins and minerals that can help reduce inflammation
Sugar and refined carbohydrates Can increase inflammation and pain levels

By following these tips and making lifestyle modifications, living with polyarthritis can be more manageable. It’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that works for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Treatment for Polyarthritis

Q: What is Polyarthritis?
Polyarthritis is a type of arthritis that affects several joints in the body at the same time.

Q: What are the common symptoms of Polyarthritis?
The common symptoms of Polyarthritis include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness. Some people may also experience fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

Q: How is Polyarthritis diagnosed?
Polyarthritis is diagnosed through a physical examination, blood tests, imaging tests, and joint fluid analysis.

Q: What are the treatment options for Polyarthritis?
The treatment options for Polyarthritis include medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes such as exercise and a healthy diet.

Q: What medications are used to treat Polyarthritis?
The medications used to treat Polyarthritis include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologic agents.

Q: Can Polyarthritis be cured?
There is currently no cure for Polyarthritis, but with proper treatment, the symptoms can be managed, and the progression of the disease can be slowed down.

Q: How can lifestyle changes help with Polyarthritis treatment?
Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and a balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress, which can help relieve the symptoms of Polyarthritis.

Closing Notes

Thank you for taking the time to read about the treatment options for Polyarthritis. Remember, if you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms of Polyarthritis, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan. Keep learning, take care of yourself and stay healthy!