What should I do if an X-ray detects arthritis without any symptoms?

Grant Cooper, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
The presence of asymptomatic findings of arthritis on an X-ray should be taken as a warning that the joint is not healthy and will probably become painful if you don't start taking better care of it.

A person with no clinical symptoms and X-ray findings of arthritis should be treated in the same way as someone with no symptoms and no X-ray findings. Both should eat right, exercise, and take the appropriate supplements. The key difference is that the person with X-ray findings may be at greater risk of developing symptoms sooner, and should take preventative measures as soon as possible. Routine screening with X-rays to look for arthritis damage is definitely not indicated because they expose the patient to unnecessary radiation and are costly.

Noticing signs of arthritis on X-ray should prompt a greater sense of urgency for the patient to take steps to reduce the risk of developing worsening arthritis, which likely will eventually lead to pain and suffering if it is not appropriately managed.
The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

According to conventional wisdom, arthritis pain is an inevitable part of aging. Not so, says Dr. Grant Cooper in this practical, accessible guide. For those who do develop osteoarthritic conditions,...

Continue Learning about Arthritis Diagnosis

Arthritis Diagnosis

Arthritis Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose arthritis with a medical history and physical exam to check for joint inflammation and deformity. Your doctor may also order lab work like blood, urine and joint fluid tests. X-rays are commonly used to check for ...

cartilage loss in the affected joints, narrowing of the space between bones and the existence of nodules. Following the initial diagnosis, x-rays are also used to mark your arthritis progression.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.