If you have joint pain, go to your doctor early

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Joint pain that persists for more than four weeks should be cleared up quickly by a doctor

Patients who complain of joint pain lasting for days and weeks should go to the doctor quickly. Optimal therapy can only be successful if it starts early. According to a survey study, many patients stay too long.

If you are struggling with joint problems for more than two weeks, you should quickly make an appointment with your family doctor. The chances for optimal treatment are only good if the therapy is started early. However, sufferers remain too long, as reported by a survey by the journal "General Practitioner Patient Magazine". However, the earlier a diagnosis can be made, the faster a correct treatment can be started. "If, for example, rheumatoid arthritis is detected early, modern therapy offers the prospect of permanently controlling the inflammation," rheumatologist Dr. Frank Schneider from Oberammergau told the journal.

The treatment options for inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis have made considerable progress in the past 20 years, the doctor reports. In the meantime, serious illnesses with destruction of the joints, chronic pain and disabilities are very rare.

Around 450,000 people in Germany suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (chronic polyarthritis). Suffering begins regularly on the small joints such as the fingers and usually spreads to other organs such as the heart, eyes and skin when not treated. As the first symptom, patients notice a painful swelling on the diseased joints. According to current surveys, women are affected twice as often as men. (sb)

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