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How To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

What Are The Complications Of Ra

Learn how to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis has many physical and social consequences and can lower quality of life. It can cause pain, disability, and premature death.

  • Premature heart disease. People with RA can have a higher risk for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. To prevent people with RA from developing heart disease, treatment of RA also focuses on reducing heart disease risk factors. For example, doctors will recommend that patients with RA stop smoking and lose weight.
  • Obesity. People with RA who are obese have an increased risk of developing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being obese also increases risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Having obesity also reduces the benefits of medications for RA.
  • Employment. RA can make work difficult. Adults with RA are less likely to be employed than those who do not have RA. As the disease gets worse, many people with RA find they do less work than they used to. Work loss among people with RA is highest among people whose jobs are physically demanding. Work loss is lower among those in jobs with few physical demands, or in jobs where they have influence over the job pace and activities.

How can I manage RA and improve my quality of life?

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How Does A Normal Joint Work

A joint is where two bones meet. Most of our joints are designed to allow the bones to move in certain directions and within certain limits.

For example, the knee is the largest joint in the body and one of the most complicated. It must be strong enough to take our weight and must lock into position, so we can stand upright.

It also has to act as a hinge, so we can walk, and needs to twist and turn when we run or play sports.

The end of each bone is covered with cartilage that has a very smooth, slippery surface. The cartilage allows the ends of the bones to move against each other, almost without rubbing.

The joint is held in place by the synovium, which contains thick fluid to protect the bones and joint.

The synovium has a tough outer layer that holds the joint in place and stops the bones moving too far.

Strong cords called tendons anchor the muscles to the bones.

Methotrexate And Other Traditional Dmards

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are used used to slow or stop rheumatoid arthritis by suppressing the immune system. The generic names for commonly used DMARDs include:

  • Hydroxychloroquine

Methotrexate is often the first drug prescribed for people newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. RA patients take this medication weekly, alone or in combination with other medications.

High dose methotrexate is also used to treat some cancers. RA patients take significantly lower doses than cancer patients.

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Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Hurt Everyday

RA is unpredictable, and it affects everyone differently. Some days, symptoms can be tolerable or nonexistent. Other days, debilitating symptoms can flare up and affect your ability to function.

However, there are treatments that can help you find relief. If youre experiencing constant, chronic RA pain, talk to your doctor. Discuss how well your current treatment plan is working and whether or not youd benefit from a treatment change.

Reduction Of Joint Stress

Pin by Pamela Bell English on Arthritis

Because obesity stresses the musculoskeletal system, ideal body weight should be achieved and maintained. Rest, in general, is an important feature of management. When the joints are actively inflamed, vigorous activity should be avoided because of the danger of intensifying joint inflammation or causing traumatic injury to structures weakened by inflammation. On the other hand, patients should be urged to maintain a modest level of activity to prevent joint laxity and muscular atrophy. Splinting of acutely inflamed joints, particularly at night and the use of walking aids are all effective means of reducing stress on specific joints. A consultation with a physical and an occupational therapist is recommended early in the course.

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Nutritional Supplements And Dietary Changes

There’s no strong evidence to suggest that specific dietary changes can improve rheumatoid arthritis, although some people with rheumatoid arthritis feel their symptoms get worse after they have eaten certain foods.

If you think this may be the case for you, it may be useful to try avoiding problematic foods for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve.

But it’s important to ensure your overall diet is still healthy and balanced. A Mediterranean-style diet, which is based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil, is recommended.

There’s also little evidence supporting the use of supplements in rheumatoid arthritis, although some can be useful in preventing side effects of medicines you may be taking.

For example, calcium and vitamin D supplements may help prevent osteoporosis if you’re taking steroids, and folic acid supplements may help prevent some of the side effects of methotrexate.

There’s some evidence to suggest that taking fish oil supplements may help reduce joint pain and stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019 Next review due: 28 August 2022

Biologics For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Biologic drugs target and prevent a specific reaction from happening, stopping the inflammatory process.

This class of medications, called biologic response modifiers, is technically a subset of DMARDs. They may be used with traditional DMARDs or as an alternative to them. Biologics:

  • Disrupt certain parts of the cascade of events that lead to RA inflammation and have the potential to stop the disease process.
  • Increase a persons risk of infection and tend to be expensive. Because of these potential downsides, biologics are used when methotrexate or other DMARDs prove insufficient or cause unacceptable side-effects.
  • May become less effective and/or cause worsening side effects over time. The doctor and patient can work together to monitor changes and decide if and when switching medication is advisable.

Testing for TuberculosisBefore taking any type of biologic medication, a person must be tested for tuberculosis. People who have latent tuberculosis carry the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium without having tuberculosis symptoms. If a person with latent tuberculosis takes immune-suppressing biologic medications the bacterium can multiply and cause symptomatic tuberculosis.

See Risks and Side Effects of Biologics

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Ways To Manage Arthritis

There are a lot of things you can do to manage your arthritis. The day-to-day things you choose to do to manage your condition and stay healthy are self-management strategies and activities. CDCs Arthritis Program recognizes five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms.

Practice these simplestrategies to reduce symptoms and get relief soyou can pursue the activities that are important to you. These strategies can even help you manage other chronic conditions you may have, such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity.

Use these 5 strategies to manage your arthritis at any age.

Join a self-management education workshop, which can help you learn the skills to manage your arthritis and make good decisions about your health.

How can a self-management education workshop help me?

Learning strategies to better manage your arthritis can help you:

  • Feel more in control of your health.
  • Manage pain and other symptoms.
  • Plan and carry out valuedactivities, like working and spending time with loved ones.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Communicate better with your health care provider about your care.

Learn about CDC-recognized self-management education programs that improve the quality of life of people with arthritis.

Stay as active as your health allows. Some physical activity is better than none.

Unsure about what kind of activity is safe?

The focus of arthritis treatment is to

Visit Your Doctor Regularly

How to Better Manage Your Rheumatoid Arthritis | Access Health

In RA, each person experiences unique flare symptoms and severity. Only an expert primary care physician can analyze your condition, score out the range of disease progression, and determine the best treatment approaches. He can also evaluate if your RA is leading to other health complicationsand can provide you with the right medicinal support to prevent the adverse effects of RA on your joints as well as other parts of the body. So, visit your doctor regularly, as advised, and let him know about all the joint pains or any other new health complication that you might be experiencing.

Remember, RA is a chronic, progressive disease, and can only be managed through right medicinal assistance and lifestyle practices. At EPIC Health, we offer comprehensive assistance to help relieve RA pain and discomfort and forestall long-term joint damage. Our highly experienced and board-certified doctors use a variety of approaches to not only evaluate the severity of your condition, but also use various medicinal, dietary and physical therapy techniques to stop the disease progression and provide immediate relief from persistent RA pains, without the side effects.

Schedule an appointment with our expert primary care physicians today! We can help you live happy, healthy and better.

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How I Try To Describe Ra Pain

The only way Ive ever found to describe the pain of RA is as follows: I first ask people if theyve ever sprained a joint or wrenched a thumb. Then I say its like two days after the sprain when its really at its worst, but in random joints all over your body, and the pain feels like its slowly leaking out of your joints and poisoning the rest of your body. If the person has never sprained anything, then I tell them I feel sorry for their life of no fun. Either way, its a crude facsimile for those of us who have RA, but for anyone who doesnt, I think its the best were ever going to be able to do.

How Is Ra Treated

RA can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies. Treatment for RA usually includes the use of medications that slow disease and prevent joint deformity, called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs . Biological response modifiers are medications that health care providers prescribe if individuals do not improve with the initial treatment.

In addition to medications, people can manage their RA with self-management strategies proven to reduce pain and disability. These strategies help people with RA do activities important to them. People with RA can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning to use five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

For more information about the treatment of RA, review theClinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritisexternal icon from the American College of Rheumatology or the ACRs Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient pageexternal icon.

With RA, there are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when symptoms get better, known as remission.

Signs and symptoms of RA include:

  • Pain or aching in more than one joint.
  • Stiffness in more than one joint.
  • Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint.
  • The same symptoms on both sides of the body .

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What Is The Safest Drug For Rheumatoid Arthritis

The safest drug for rheumatoid arthritis is one that gives you the most benefit with the least amount of negative side effects. This varies depending on your health history and the severity of your RA symptoms. Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop a treatment program. The drugs your healthcare provider prescribes will match the seriousness of your condition.

Its important to meet with your healthcare provider regularly. Theyll watch for any side effects and change your treatment, if necessary. Your healthcare provider may order tests to determine how effective your treatment is and if you have any side effects.

What Is The Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis

How Physical Therapy Can Help Those With Rheumatoid Arthritis  Therapy ...

While theres no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are many strategies to help manage the condition and its symptoms so you can continue to lead a healthy and active life. Its helpful to understand the nature of your condition and build good relationships with your doctor, rheumatologist and healthcare professionals.

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Reduce Excessive Body Weight

Excess body weight puts strain on your body, especially on your hips, knees, and ankles, and losing weight is the golden ticket that can not only help you live well with rheumatoid arthritis, but can also significantly help relieve RA symptoms. Regular physical activity also boosts your energy, elevates your mood , relieves stress and strengthens your muscles and joints. So,

  • Indulge in moderate physical activity every day, but only when your body permits
  • Include stretching, light weight lifting and aerobic exercises in your daily routine
  • Always perform exercises under expert supervision
  • Speak to your primary care physician for dietary modifications to lose weight

Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Management

While the overall goal of rheumatoid arthritis therapy is to prevent disease progression and further joint damage, pain management is a necessary daily practice for patients, in order to maximize their quality of life. Chronic pain can adversely affect a patients ability to work, participate in physical and social activities, and can generally interrupt day-to-day life.

Despite medications and aggressive forms of treatment, many rheumatoid arthritis patients experience ongoing pain and stiffness. The reality is, it may never completely go away. But there are specific things patients can do to manage pain and limit its impact on their lives.

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When Should I See My Doctor

If you notice symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, or you are concerned that you may have rheumatoid arthritis, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may refer you to a rheumatologist who is a doctor that specialises in joints. It is important to act quickly. The sooner you start treatment, the less likely you are to experience permanent joint damage and deformity.

Watch Our Video About What Rheumatoid Arthritis Is

MedscapeTV Preventing Pain: Managing and Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in joints.

It is what is known as an auto-immune condition. This means that the immune system, which is the bodys natural self-defence system, gets confused and starts to attack your bodys healthy tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the main way it does this is with inflammation in your joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 400,000 adults aged 16 and over in the UK. It can affect anyone of any age. It can get worse quickly, so early diagnosis and intensive treatment are important. The sooner you start treatment, the more effective its likely to be.

To understand how rheumatoid arthritis develops, it helps to understand how a normal joint works.

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How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Managed

You can manage rheumatoid arthritis by taking medicines as prescribed to treat pain and joint inflammation. You can also help reduce symptoms by exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. Aim to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. This can be at one time or broken up into shorter sessions.

You may also need to make changes at home to help you manage daily tasks like cleaning or gardening. An occupational therapist can help you make adjustments if pain or joint stiffness makes certain tasks hard to complete. They can recommend tools to reduce strain on your joints, such as long-handled dustpans so you dont need to bend over, or book holders to reduce the strain on your hands and wrists.

You might find that rheumatoid arthritis makes you frustrated and upset. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause poor sleep, which can also make you feel down. Discus your feelings with friends and family and explain to them what they can do to support you. This may help you feel better and reassured that help is available, if needed. If you are struggling with a low mood or not managing to sleep, your doctor will be able to support you and work with you to build a plan to help.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Researchers think its caused by a combination of genetics, hormones and environmental factors.

Normally, your immune system protects your body from disease. With rheumatoid arthritis, something triggers your immune system to attack your joints. An infection, smoking or physical or emotional stress may be triggering.

Is rheumatoid arthritis genetic?

Scientists have studied many genes as potential risk factors for RA. Certain genetic variations and non-genetic factors contribute to your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Non-genetic factors include sex and exposure to irritants and pollutants.

People born with variations in the human leukocyte antigen genes are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. HLA genes help your immune system tell the difference between proteins your body makes and proteins from invaders like viruses and bacteria.

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Physical And Occupational Therapy

Physical therapy helps you to restore joint function through specific exercise. This can help alleviate pain for many patients. Activities like cooking and bathing can sometimes be difficult to perform and may cause pain. Occupational therapy will help you to learn how to change some of your daily behaviors so they arent painful.

Other professional therapy services that can help alleviate pain include massage therapy and acupuncture.

The Pros & Cons Of Eos For Arthritis#

Top 10 Exercises For Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Pros:

EOs are potent a little goes a long way. Just a few drops of essential oil is all you need to benefit from the multiple active compounds that can help manage pain, inflammation, and other discomforts. High-quality EOs that are 100% natural, undiluted and certified organic are the most potent and effective for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. If used with care and mindfulness EOs are relatively low-risk and offer little to no side-effects when compared to other conventional arthritis medication. In some cases, though, EOs will be most effective when used in conjunction with medication if its needed. You can mix and blend various EOs to enhance and amplify their soothing and pain-relieving effects.

The Cons:

EOs are potent using them incorrectly or too much of it can cause adverse reactions or worsen symptoms. Many EOs on the market are diluted, contaminated, or adulterated with potentially harmful synthetic chemicals. Thats why its important to know how to look for high-quality products. EOs arent cure-alls, especially if youre experiencing severe arthritis symptoms. Theres is very little research on the effects of EOs on arthritis. Many of these studies are done on animals so more human research is needed.

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