How do polyarthritis polyarthralgias and diffuse aches and pains differ?
Polyarthritis is definite inflammation (swelling, tenderness, warmth) of more than four joints demonstrated by physical examination. A patient with two to four involved joints is said to have pauci- or oligoarticular arthritis. The acute polyarticular diseases and chronic inflammatory diseases commonly present with polyarthritis.
Polyarthralgia is defined as pain in more than four joints without demonstrable inflammation by physical examination. The chronic noninflammatory arthritides commonly present with polyarthralgias.
Diffuse aches and pains are poorly localized symptoms originating in the joints, bones, muscles, or other soft tissues. The joint examination does not reveal inflammation. Polymyalgia rheumatica, fibromyalgia, SLE, polymyositis, and hypothyroidism commonly present with these symptoms.