Arthritis That Moves from One Part of the Body to Another

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Although people can experience joint pain in different areas of their bodies due to various illnesses and health conditions, chronic joint pain is often most associated with arthritis. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease with joint cartilage wearing down over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease with pain starting in smaller joints and eventually spreading to larger ones. Whereas symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can fluctuate, arthritis that moves from one part of the body to another, typically referred to as migratory arthritis, usually has other causes associated with diseases related to the immune system, such as Lyme disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatic fever and Hepatitis B and C, according to the Arthritis—It is Curable website1.

Common Symptoms

Migratory arthritis is sometimes referred to as migratory rheumatoid arthritis; however, it has characteristics and symptoms different from those of rheumatoid arthritis. Sufferers experience migratory arthritis with pain typically migrating up or down one side and affecting random areas2. Inflammation of the joints worsens and pain increases as the disease progresses. Joint softness, swelling and migrating symptoms make the arthritis difficult to track; symptoms often begin in one area before symptoms of a preceding area recede. Migratory arthritis affects people of all ages.


Several diseases have been linked to migratory arthritis, including bacterial endocarditis, erythematosus, gonococcal arthritis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, Lyme disease, rheumatic fever, sarcoidosis, systemic lupus and Whipple’s disease2. This type of arthritis can be caused by a variety of health problems. If you believe you’re experiencing migrating arthritis, seek the advice of a health care professional for proper diagnosis.

Medical Treatment

Under supervised medical care, you can receive effective medical treatment for migrating arthritis. Anti-inflammatory and analgesics medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are often recommended by physicians for pain and swelling; however, the underlying disease must also be treated2.

Natural Remedies

If you experience arthritis that moves from one part of the body to another, it’s important to check with your primary health care provider first for diagnoses of migrating arthritis and the underlying disease causing it. Nevertheless, healthy lifestyle changes can boost the immune system and help the body fight disease symptoms, as well as new illnesses. Many physicians agree that taking a few daily supplements encourages the disease-fighting capabilities of the body, but supplements, such as glucosamine and fish oil, or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids, may especially benefit those suffering from all types of arthritis.


  1. Arthritis—It is Curable: Migratory Arthritis
  2. Disaboom: Migratory Arthritis Treatments and Causes
  3. The John Hopkins Arthritis Center
  4. Mayo Clinic: Rheumatoid Arthritis
  5. Mayo Clinic: Osteoarthritis
  6. Biology Online: Polyarthritis