Chikungunya Joint Pain
Chikungunya fever usually starts after 2 to 4 days of virus infection. The fever causes chills and shaking of the body and is accompanied by joint pain and swelling. The joint pain is the most distinguishing feature of Chikungunya. It is usually paralysing in effect and causes a great deal of pain. The major areas affected are the finger joints on hand and foot and are usually swollen and painful. Other areas affected include wrist, elbows and hip. In fact it is common for the patient to feel pain all over the body. In many patients, movement is severely restricted due to joint pain and swelling. This means that a lot of people needs to take long leaves which in many cases affects their financial well being.
In children the joint pain is usually mild in nature, however other complications such as vomiting, fits and abdominal pains are reported. In pregnant woman the biggest risk is the possibility of transfer of virus to the foetus. In adition, delivery becomes complicated if the infection starts late in the pregnancy sometimes requiring caesarean section. Chikungunya can be deadly in the case of very old and in newborns. Patients with poor immune systems may require hospitalization.
Chikungunya fever usually lasts for about 3 to 4 days and in many patients rashes are seen on the face (nose and cheeks). Sometimes rashes are accompanied by severe itching. In many cases rash marks last for a long time (especially the ones on the face).
Chikungunya joint pain usually lasts for about a week or two in majority of cases. But in some patients the joint pain can persist for months or even for years. Chronic joint pains are seen in about 1 in 10 cases of Chikungunya infection. The persistant joint pain may be mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies suggest that Chikungunya joint pain treatment should be different from that of rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment of Chikungunya Joint Pain
There are no specific treatments which can cure Chikungunya. Main purpose of treatment is the management of fever and pain. For treatment of Chikungunya fever, Paracetamol is given in the first few days. It is only required in cases where fever management is essential. Other medical conditions if any, must be evaluated before taking any medicines. Other non steroidal medicines such as Tramadol may be taken for pain management. Again all these medications also come with other side effects such as possible damage to kidneys and stomach. Ayurvedic or Homeopathic treatments can also be helpful in joint pain relief.
Chikungunya is rarely fatal, however the chronic joint pain associated with it can substantially reduce the quality of life for a patient. A vaccine can be very useful in areas where there is a high risk of Chikungunya infection.
Recovering from Chikungunya Joint Pain
It is important to maintain a healthy life style to promote early recovery from Chikungunya joint pain. A healthy diet which includes fruits and vegetables and good sleep promotes early recovery.