Tuesday, January 31, 2023

How Do You Stop Rheumatoid Arthritis

What Are The Types Of Deformities

Can we stop arthritis before it starts?

Early in the disease, RA tends to attack the small joints of your hands and feet. This can lead to several types of deformities, including:

Ulnar drift. Your fingers lean away from your thumb and toward your pinky.

BoutonnieÃre deformity. Also called a buttonhole deformity. Your middle finger joint bends downward , while your top finger joint bends away from the palm.

Swan-neck deformity. The base and top joint of your finger bend downward, but the middle joint is straight.

Hitchhikerâs thumb: Also called a z-shaped deformity. Your thumb flexes at the joint where it meets your palm, then bends backward at the joint below your thumbnail.

Bunion. The base of your big toe gets larger and sticks out. This may force your big toe to press against the second toe, forcing it to overlap the third.

Claw toe. Describes different types of deformities:

  • Toe bends upward from the ball of your foot
  • Toe bends downward, toward the sole of your shoe, at the middle joint
  • Toe bends downward at the top joint

Remedies Now Target Inflammation As Well As The Ache

by Barbara Stepko, AARP, February 1, 2019

En español | We all know what its like to wake up in the morning with an aching back or stiff knees. But for those with chronic inflammatory arthritis, a disease in which our immune system starts attacking healthy cells by mistake manifesting in widespread pain and red, swollen, inflamed joints the discomfort is very different. The distinction has to do with the pervasiveness of the experience, says Nortin Hadler, M.D., emeritus professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Without medicine, people with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis are lucky to feel good ever during the day. It is remittent: There are good days, and there are bad days.

Getting the disease under control with drugs, such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or biologics, can significantly reduce the pain. But while medication these days is very effective, its not completely effective, says Nancy Shadick, M.D., a rheumatologist at Bostons Brigham and Womens Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Youre dealing with the intermittent flares or some ongoing pain or disability.

Your Symptoms Progress Quickly And Severely

Stacy Courtnay, 43, started feeling unexplained foot pain that gradually moved to her shoulders and wrists. It felt like someone had taken a hammer to my feet, Courtnay tells SELF. She struggled to brush her teeth and hair, so she saw a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2005.

At the time, Courtnay had recently gotten married and planned on having children. Her doctors recommended taking a DMARD medication and steroids to try to manage her pain, because some biologics may not be safe for pregnant people, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.2 However, the medications she tried didnt help, and the disease progressed. My left wrist was literally being eaten away by the arthritis, she says. I could barely move it because it was so swollen. My entire body was in severe pain, and I just couldnt function. Then came a point in 2006 where my doctor was like, You need to decide to have a baby or not because your joints are deteriorating. So, my husband and I fast-forwarded our plans to start a family.

After that, Courtnay started the long and painful journey of trying various biologics that didnt fully work on their own. But in 2011, she started taking one that finally relieved her pain within a few months. I was like, Oh, my gosh, this is working, she recalls.

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Whip Out The Resistance Bands

Working out may seem kind of counterintuitive when youre dealing with achy knees or a sore elbow. But keeping muscles strong, while maintaining flexibility and range of motion, is crucial. Otherwise, underutilized limbs become weak, making it even more painful when you try to move around. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Aging Research concluded that exercise improves overall function in those with rheumatoid arthritis. That same study found that the best exercise program for those with rheumatoid arthritis should include both aerobic and resistance training.

Muscle strength is especially important because you need muscles to absorb the impact that may occur when youre walking around or doing other activities, says Jonathan Samuels, M.D., an associate professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology and the codirector of the Joint Preservation & Arthritis Center at New York University Langone Health. Think of it as maintaining a shock absorber around the joints. Strengthening exercises are also beneficial for keeping bones strong, since people with rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to getting osteoporosis.

Stop Eating An Unhealthy Diet

Pin on How To Deal With Arthritis

What’s your diet got to do with arthritis? Eating well and maintaining your ideal weight is especially important if you’ve got arthritis. Excess pounds can put lots of stress on weight-bearing joints, which is likely to make arthritis pain worse. Even moderate weight gain can stress joints that are already burdened by arthritis.

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What Conditions Does This Treat

Originally, hydroxychloroquine was used to prevent and treat malaria and was considered very effective. Now it is generally used for rheumatoid arthritis, but it has also been shown to work well for juvenile arthritis, some lupus symptoms, and other types of autoimmune conditions. While doctors are not clear why this medication is effective for autoimmune conditions, the theory is that it interferes with the metabolic communication between the bodies immune system cells. If the cells cant effectively communicate with each other, then the excessive immune response of RA is reduced.

Are There Any Specific Vaccine Side Effects To Be Aware Of With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Some COVID-19 vaccine side effects could mirror those of a disease flare. Its important to carefully track your symptoms and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. Typically, vaccine side effects only last a few days .

The CDC lists the following common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Pain on the arm where you got the shot
  • Redness on the arm where you got the shot
  • Swelling on the arm where you got the shot
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Some vaccine side effects that can overlap with rheumatoid arthritis disease activity may include muscle aches, joint pain, temporary fever, and fatigue, says clinical rheumatologist Magdalena Cadet, MD, Associate Attending Physician at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

Nausea may be present in some individuals after the vaccine, but rheumatoid arthritis patients may also experience that symptom with medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, like methotrexate or sulfasalazine, she adds.

Another common symptom of the vaccine is swollen lymph nodes under the arms on the side of the body where you received the vaccine, per the Cleveland Clinic. The swollen lymph nodes typically appear a few days after the vaccine and tend to subside within a few days to a few weeks. Although uncommon, swollen lymph nodes can also appear with rheumatoid arthritis.

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How Is Arthritis In The Neck Diagnosed

Following a review of your medical history, your doctor will conduct a physical exam wherein he or she will evaluate the following:

  • strength
  • blood flow
  • touch sensation

If necessary, your doctor may order one or more diagnostic imaging tests. These can include X-rays, a CT scan, an MRI, or myelography.

An X-rays will reveal the alignment of the bones in your neck and can document degenerative changes in your cervical spine.

Because it shows 3D images, a CT scan offers a more-detailed look at your spinal canal than an X-ray, which may reveal bone spurs.

An MRI provides a detailed look at the soft tissues in the neck, so your doctor can determine whether damage to these tissues might be causing your symptoms.

Myelography is a type of imaging test that uses an X-ray or CT scan and contrast dye to get a picture of the spinal cord and nerve roots in the spinal canal.

Your doctor also may perform a nerve function test.

Nerve function tests, such as a nerve conduction study and/or electromyography , can be conducted to determine if the nerve signals are being transmitted to the individuals muscles, Dr. Singh says.

How To Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis

How to Stop Rheumatoid Arthritis Shoulder Pain AT HOME!

Approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis , but many dont know the source of the condition or how to relieve its symptoms. In this post, well discuss what Rheumatoid Arthritis is and who is most likely to be affected. Additionally, we will dive in to what its like to experience symptoms and how to find relief living with RA.

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Arthritis In The Neck Symptoms

  • Pain that radiates to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
  • Pain and stiffness that is worse first thing in the morning, and then improves after getting up and moving around
  • Pain that gets worse again at the end of the day
  • Improves with rest
  • May include headaches, especially in the back of the head

Cervical bone spurs known as osteophytes are a common marker of cervical osteoarthritis, and cervical osteophytes may impinge on a nerve, producing the symptoms that radiate into the arms. If the osteoarthritis impinges on the spinal cord it could lead to spinal cord dysfunction, and condition that is called cervical myelopathy.

In some instances, cervical spondylolisthesis may be a secondary issue to arthritis in the neck, although spondylolisthesis is much more common in the lumbar spine .

Is It Safe To Get The Covid

The short answer: Yes. Having rheumatoid arthritis is not a contraindication the vaccine. In fact, getting the vaccine when you have rheumatoid arthritis may be especially important, given the disease may put you at higher risk for COVID-19 or severe outcomes.

Many patients with autoimmune conditions who take medications that affect immune system function are concerned that certain vaccines could give them the virus. This could theoretically occur with vaccines like the MMR vaccine for measles and mumps, which is a live vaccine. That means it is a weakened form of the virus intended to cause a harmless infection that your immune system rapidly eliminates.

However, none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are live vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine cannot infect you with coronavirus. It is safe for people with rheumatoid arthritis, including those who take immunosuppressant medication.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the only contraindications to receiving the COVID-19 are:

  • Severe allergic reaction after a previous dose or to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a previous dose or known allergy to a component of the vaccine. See the ingredients in each vaccine here.

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What Triggers Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Ups

Anyone who either has RA realizes there are times of flare ups that are very uncomfortable. These flare ups are a surge in inflammation that occurs usually over a 3 day period that intensify the already painful symptoms of RA. Though the exact cause of these flare ups cannot be certain, RA sufferers can link it to one or all of the same factors:

  • Stress: A review of 16 in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy found that stress is a factor and certainly a flare trigger.
  • Toxic Foods: As mentioned above as a root cause of arthritis, eating foods that the body deems a foreign invader can cause flares. Of course unhealthy foods like processed foods and sugar are obvious toxic foods. But flare ups can be caused by food as healthy as a strawberry or a tomato. Testing your food sensitivities is a must to determine what should and should not be eaten.
  • Overexertion: When you have a disease such as RA, the word overexertion shouldnt exist in your lifestyle. Not getting enough sleep and pushing your body to the limits are sure ways to cause an increase amount of inflammation in the body.

With RA, it is good to journal good and bad days. Journal food eaten, sleep at night and your daily stress levels. From there you can deduce what has a negative affect on you and strategically avoid those particular stressors to your body.

Make Sure You Stretch Too

Bone broth for dogs with arthritis.Can you get arthritis ...

Assuming you are pain-free, Reininger says you should try to stretch all of your joints each day to the extent that it does not cause you pain.

People with RA tend to feel stiffer in the morning than at other times of the day, so take a shower to warm up your joints, and then stretch to help loosen you up for the rest of the day, Reininger advises.

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Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help your physical and mental well being. Doing gentle, regular exercises can help keep your joints flexible, strengthen your bones, help you maintain a healthy weight, relieve emotional stress and create a feeling of general well being. Eat a well-balanced diet with a high intake of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil. There is no specific diet for people with RA and no specific foods to avoid.

Always Protect Your Joints

The main thing Dr. Reininger teaches patients is to protect their jointseven patients who are currently symptom-free. That means always thinking about your joints, even when you’re doing small tasks, she says.

Take lifting a heavy pot, for exampleinstead, slide it across the counter. Other options include using a shoulder to open a door rather your hand and holding books in the palm of your hands, not with your fingers.

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What Are The Goals Of Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

The most important goal of treating rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce joint pain and swelling and to maintain and/or improve joint function.

The long-term goal of treatment is to slow or stop the disease process, particularly joint damage, which can be seen on X-rays. Once joint inflammation is controlled, pain will be reduced.

Normal joint and joint affected by rheumatoid arthritis

In the past, many doctors did not believe that drugs for rheumatoid arthritis changed the likelihood of eventual disability from the disease. Therefore, drugs with the fewest side effects were prescribed to decrease pain. Stronger drugs were avoided because of doctors’ concerns about dangerous side effects.

Now, however, doctors know that early treatment with certain drugs can improve the long-term outcome for most rheumatoid arthritis patients. Numerous drugs that have been shown to be effective are being used soon after the patient is diagnosed. Combinations of drugs are proving to be more effective than a single drug therapy and, in recent studies, have been found to be just as safe as single-drug treatment.

Tips For Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Management

How to STOP Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain in your Neck!

Other than the pain itself, rheumatoid arthritis can cause many other problems and disruptions in life. There are some things you can do to stay healthy and reduce your pain. These are in addition to your regular treatments.

Here are some tips to help you with your rheumatoid arthritis pain management and coping with the disease:

Dont smoke: Smoking can have serious health consequences on rheumatoid arthritis patients. Smoking causes inflammation, which can complicate these disease and cause more pain.

Be conscious of your use of joints: Try reducing the stress on your joints by being conscious of your daily activities. Picking up items and turning door handles can add pressure to your joints causing them to feel sore. Look for ways to adjust your daily habits and limit the aggressive use of your joints.

Talk to your doctor and rheumatologist: If you still feel pain despite treatment, or you notice new pain, be sure to communicate with your physician and your rheumatologist. There may be additional pain relieving options available.

Seek emotional support: Deal with any stress or trauma you may feel by joining a support group of other rheumatoid arthritis patients. Professional counseling may also help improve your mood and help you to remain positive.

If you continue to experience chronic pain, there are several options for you to try. Talk to your rheumatologist about rheumatoid arthritis pain management options that are right for your individual case.

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You Experience Serious Medication Side Effects

Any medication potentially includes side effectsbut when side effects outweigh the benefits of the treatment, its time to reevaluate whether or not its working for you. That was the case for Shelley Fritz, 52, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2012. At the time, she started taking a biologic, which led to drug-induced lupus, a rare autoimmune condition that can happen in response to certain medications, according to the National Library of Medicine. I had really bad side effectsa huge butterfly rash across my face, much more fatigue than usual, bad muscle pain that I had not had before, and more joint pain, she tells SELF. I couldnt move well at all. I missed two weeks of work.

After she explained what was happening to her doctor, Fritz was diagnosed with drug-induced lupus and was told to stop using the biologic immediately. It took a few weeks for my symptoms to fade, Fritz says, but eventually they did. She tried several more biologics, none of which worked. In early 2017, she began taking a biologic but then fell ill with pneumonia . She was also hospitalized with pulmonary embolism, a sudden blockage in a lung artery, which she believes also may have happened because of her medication.

After that, Fritz took a break from biologics, but started taking another one in September 2020. I feel pretty well right now, she says, adding that factors like eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and getting regular sleep also help her feel better.

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