Polyarthritis: Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, and Treatments

polyarthritis definition

Is a condition just like arthritis, but with the difference that in polyarthritis, people have arthritis problems in more than five different places.

This condition can be affected by any age and any gender. This isn’t a condition for just one certain group of people.

There are several forms of chronic polyarthritis, and the most typical is rheumatoid arthritis which affects women three times more than men and usually begins around the age of 50 years.

Ankylosing spondyloarthritis is also a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints that can reach several bones, mainly a joint of the pelvis between the sacrum and the iliac wing, and the joints of the spine.

Other types of rheumatic diseases affect several joints less frequently such as gout but are usually transient, and some kinds fall under the term connectivity.

Scattered sites of osteoarthritis also cause chronic polyarthritis, although there is also a chronic form of polyarthritis that affects children, which is constant juvenile polyarthritis.

Polyarthritis is arthritis involving 5 or more joints simultaneously. Usually associated with autoimmune diseases can be experienced at any age and not in a specific genus.

Symptoms of polyarthritis

There are quite a few symptoms of polyarthritis. These are just the most common symptoms that you can see in polyarthritis:

  • Pain in more than one joint.
  • Swelling of your joints.
  • Redness in the affected areas.
  • You might feel a bit warm in the area.
  • Restricted movements of the joints.
  • Deformation of the joints is also a common symptom.

It is better to see a doctor rather than diagnose the condition yourself. Even if you have more than one of these symptoms:

  • Pain in the joints, affecting many different joints.
  • Hot joints increased in volume.
  • Feeling stiffness in the affected joints.
  • Deformations sometimes appear during evolution, especially in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The appearance of nodules (in advanced stages).

The most common sign is multiple limb lameness. Licking can affect extremities or many limbs at a time.

Other common signs include:

  • Fever.
  • Pain.
  • Anorexy.
  • Weightloss.
  • Swollen Joints.
  • Lethargy.

When a person has polyarthritis may also have the following conditions:

  • Antisynthetase syndrome.
  • Behcet’s disease.
  • Besnier-Boeck-Schaumann disease.
  • Mixed connective tissue disease.
  • Rheumatic fever.
  • Wegener’s granulomatosis.


Medical experts find a relevant indicator of chronic polyarthritis in the multi-articular aspect of the attack, as well as its evolution over several months. X-rays of the affected joints are frequently performed to detect signs of erosion or signs of demineralization.

Biological tests may also be done on blood shots, looking for signs of inflammation. Joint fluid can get punctured in the event of a stroke, which is the presence of liquid in a joint.

Most patients who get diagnosed with polyarthritis need the following tests:

  • Complete blood count (CBC).
  • Urine analysis.
  • Chest x-rays.
  • Titles of infectious diseases.
  • Abdominal Ultrasound.
  • Abdominal ultrasound is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to create images of the interior (organs and structures).
  • Chest X-rays are performed to rule out a hidden infection or tumors.
  • ANA (antinuclear antibody) is a blood test to detect systemic lupus.
  • Cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography) to evaluate endocarditis (infection of the heart valves).


Most times, polyarthritis is related to an autoimmune attack in the joints.

The etiology can also include systemic or tick inflammatory reactions, infections, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, is a systemic immune system problem), tumors, viral diseases, intestinal diseases. All joints may be affected by the disease.

For example, the joints of the knees, elbows, shoulders, hips and temporomandibular joints. Rheumatoid polyarthritis does not affect the thoracolumbar spine.

However, this disease can affect the cervical spine. In general, the affected joints are bilateral and symmetrical.

Treatments for polyarthritis

There are a few medications that you can take to lighten the symptoms of polyarthritis. The first medication that you can use is Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.

This medication is also known as NSAIDS. This medication reduces the inflammation that this disease causes. These medications work quickly and have not many harmful side effects that can affect your body.

The second medication that you can take is Corticosteroids. This medication also reduces inflammation but suppress the immune response.

But, with the corticosteroids, you might need to take medication for osteoporosis.

The corticosteroids also help to relieve some of the pain and other symptoms of polyarthritis. The third medication that you can take is anti-rheumatic drugs.

The other name of this medication is also known as DMARDs. This is a very efficacious treatment, but it can take up to 6-8 weeks before seeing and feeling the effects of the medicine. That is why people also use NSAIDs or the Corticosteroids for more immediate relief.

Polyarthritis is the same as arthritis, but with the polyarthritis, people have arthritis problems in more than five joints at the same time.

There is treatment available, so people don’t need to struggle through life with the pain and discomfort that this disease involves.

There is no cure for chronic polyarthritis. It evolves towards the worsening of the disease.

Treatment of the disease should be precocious and specific for identified rheumatism, to delay if possible the evolution and symptoms.

The doctor may prescribe the patient at an early stage pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, or carry out local corticosteroid injections.

Some diseases have specific treatments, such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, with methotrexate, for example.

Treatments vary according to the cause, including:

  • Physiotherapy.
  • Paracetamol.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Steroid Injections.
  • Oral steroids or other immunological modulation.
  • Surgery.

Treatment for polyarthritis depends on the severity of the symptoms, age of the patients, general health and other medical conditions.

The treatment primarily focuses on the control of the symptoms and the modification of the progression of the disease.

Treatments include:

  • Education: this consists of the explanation of the disease, plays an important role in the management of polyarthritis.
  • Heating: Heating may provide relief from non-inflammatory arthritis such as osteoarthritis.
  • Weight loss: help with symptom control in overweight patients, patients who are overweight, may have severe joint difficulties in sustaining the weight of their body.
  • Physiotherapy: help to recover and maintain joint function.
  • Simple analgesics (used regularly): may be effective in controlling pain alone or in combination with other agents.