Migratory Polyarthritis – Causes, Symptoms, Cure And Treatment

Arthritis is a kind of disorder that affects the joints causing inflammation; a chronic condition that usually occurs in old age. There are many types of arthritis, one of them being migratory polyarthritis.

Migratory polyarthritis is defined as the kind of arthritis that affects many joints progressively. It is usually observed in people suffering from gonorrhea. This kind of arthritis usually affects the larger joints and begins in an order starting from ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, shoulder and hip. The inflammation is felt in the wrist and after a flare-up it travels to the other part of body and inflames those joints, thus the name ‘migratory polyarthritis’.

Migratory polyarthritis is not confined to a particular age group and it can affect anyone, including children. So it is important to take as much care of the body as possible as this condition takes place when the body has a weakened immune system. To further understand the condition, one must know its causes.

Causes of Migratory Polyarthritis

It is important to understand the causes of migratory polyarthritis in order to be able to treat it accurately. Some of the common causes include:

  • Hepatitis:-  Hepatitis B and C cause liver damage that further causes joint related diseases.
  • Rheumatic Fever:- When a streptococcal bacterial infection such as scarlet fever or strep throat is left untreated, it gives rise to complications and an inflammatory disorder known as rheumatic fever. The infection causes the immune system to become alert and launch an attack that even harms the healthy tissues. This causes inflammation of the joints and in severe cases, it even damages the heart.
  • AIDS:- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is also a common cause for polyarthritis. The AIDS virus attacks and destroys the immune system of the body, making it very vulnerable to diseases and infections. Since the immune system is weak, it leads to inflammation of the joints, leading to polyarthritis.
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE):- This is an autoimmune condition of the body where the body attacks itself. This is a chronic condition that usually develops quickly. Although the exact cause of this condition cannot be pinpointed, researchers believe it may be due to predisposed genetic factors, exposure to harmful ultra violet rays or exposure to certain kinds of viruses. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, SLE causes swelling, rash, fever and inflammation of the joints that travels to other joints.
  • Whipple’s Disease:-This is a rare disease that occurs due to a bacterial infection. The infection hinders the absorption mechanism of the body and thus it cannot absorb the nutrients from the food. This results in severe weight loss, decreased immune system and insulin resistance. This disease is also responsible for aggravating migratory polyarthritis.
  • Gonoccocal Arthritis :-Gonoccocal arthritis is a kind of arthritis that is caused due to bacterial infection contracted due to gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that spreads through the mouth, anus, vagina or penis. Gonorrhea further leads to redness of the skin, rashes, fever and migratory arthritis. Gonorrhea is a treatable disease; however it should be caught in the early stage itself in order to avoid complications such as sterility.
  • Bacterial Endocarditis :-This condition is a result of inflammation of the inner layers of the heart. Due to this infection, the valves of the heart are severely affected. Migratory arthritis is one of the side effects of bacterial endocarditis.

There are other causes as well that could lead to migratory polyarthritis. These include sarcoidosis, palindromic rheumatism, HIV etc.

Symptoms of Migratory Polyarthritis

Some of the common symptoms of migratory polyarthritis include:

  • Rapid swelling in the joints
  • Excruciating pain. The intensity of pain is much worse than traditional arthritis.
  • Inability to move the body parts with affected joints
  • Stiffness of the joints that are affected
  • Cephalocaudal pattern of movement of the pain compared to movement of traditional arthritis from one joint to another

Since the disease is migratory in nature i.e. it travels from one joint to another, its symptoms also tend to subside and rise for another joint. If a pattern is seen in the symptoms, it is an indication of migratory polyarthritis. The symptoms usually fade within 4-5 days of its onset, however they do not move across the body (from left hand to right hand). But instead migrate from upwards to downwards on the same side of the body.

Treatment of Migratory Polarthritis

Although there is no cure available, there are many effective medications to manage migratory polyarthritis appropriately. Since it causes inflammation in the joints, certain inflammatory medications can be taken to manage the symptoms. Some of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications that can be taken include:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Dicolfenac

These medications only provide relief, but do not cure the disease. In order to be able to rid oneself of the condition completely, it is important to first identify the underlying cause. Only when the cause has been identified and treated individually, will it result in an end of migratory polyarthritis.

Diet, exercise and supplements

Apart from medications, patients can also opt for alternative therapies to treat migratory polyarthritis. Doctors are of the opinion that patients need to follow a diet combined with exercise in order to complement the medication administered and also to be effective. Furthermore alternative medicine practitioners are suggesting the intake of various supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin and omega-3 fatty oils in order to optimize the health of the joints as well as prepare the body to cope with the pain caused due to migratory polyarthritis.

In a nutshell, migratory polyarthritis is a condition that affects the joints of the entire body and the pain and symptoms travel from one joint to another. If you suffer from any of the symptoms, it is important to consult your health care practioner immediately so he or she can start you on an appropriate treatment. That will help the patient to manage the symptoms effectively and avoid further damage to the joints.

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