Post Viral Arthralgia
Arthritis can be caused by multiple reasons and the symptoms and persistence of the disease vary accordingly. Sometimes a viral infection can be the cause of arthritis and unlike other chronic arthritis conditions such as osteoarthritis, this is not very long-lasting. When the infection goes away, arthritis also tends to go.
The symptoms of Post Viral Arthralgia are very sudden and usually subside in a short period of time. Unlike osteoarthritis, the symptoms do not reoccur in this case. Post Viral Arthralgia is more similar to rheumatoid arthritis in the case of symptoms which include:
- Inflammation and pain in joints
- Stiffness, especially when waking up
- Limited range of motion
- Muscle pain
- Rash, in severe cases.
The symptoms are worse when the person already has arthritis of another type. This tends to manifest as polyarthritis as the inflammation is in more than 5 joints. A viral infection can make the situation worse for people who already have arthritis such as osteoarthritis. Although Post Viral Arthralgia alone does not cause joint degeneration, when combined with other types of arthritis it can hasten the process. In severe cases, the joint pain can even last for months or years, despite the infection being gone.
During a viral infection, the synovial membrane can get infected along with other tissues in a joint. This triggers an immune response in the body since viruses are antigens. While the immune system is fighting the viruses that have invaded the body, it also leaves immune complexes in the affected joints. This causes inflammation in the joints and leads to Post Viral Arthralgia.
There are a certain number of viruses that trigger arthralgia in the body. Common viral infections causing arthralgia are Chikungunya and dengue. A few to name are Rubella virus which affects more females than males, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B viruses which affect mainly adults. There are other viruses that can trigger arthritis in the body but are not as common.
The diagnosis of this disease is very difficult since there are a number of causes as well as symptoms that can trigger inflammation and other symptoms in the body. The most common symptoms are joint pain, fever, and rash in certain cases. Post Viral Arthralgia is accompanied by many other diseases that are associated with the viruses such as Chikungunya, dengue, jaundice etc.
There are certain blood tests that can help in identifying Post Viral Arthralgia such as PCR Tests, Antibody tests, and Immunoglobulin tests. The tests depend upon the severity of symptoms however immunoglobulin tests are quite effective in making an assessment of how acute the infection is.
There are many treatment options available for Post Viral Arthralgia and it usually doesn’t leave a lasting impact. The treatment focuses around easing the symptoms, especially the pain, and eventually restore joint mobility. The treatment options include NSAIDs, ice and heat therapy, and physical therapy. Although this condition is not life-threatening in itself, it can cause intense discomfort when it coexists with some other type of arthritis.