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Debbie H asked...

Are the pains in my joints arthritis?

How can I find out if pains in my knees, finger joint, lower back and shoulder are arthritis and if it is, is there anything I can do to help it? I am a 52 year old woman.

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The answer

The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis (often called "wear and tear" arthritis) are the hips, knees, lower back, neck and fingers. This kind of arthritis doesn't usually make the joints hot, red and swollen, but can cause debilitating pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common kind of arthritis and there is no blood test to diagnose it – X-rays will often show up changes suggesting osteoarthritis. However, your GP may consider blood tests if your history and examination leave him with any suspicion that you have another kind of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (one of the so called "inflammatory" arthritis conditions).

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