Infrared Sauna Therapy Is The Best Natural Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis
There is no denying that rheumatoid arthritis can be debilitating and painful. Thankfully, several treatments available can help ease the symptoms and improve the quality of life. Among the most effective of these is infrared sauna therapy.
Infrared saunas work when infrared light penetrates the body and provides several health benefits.
There are many benefits of using an infrared sauna, including:
- Relief from pain and inflammation
- Increased circulation
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved sleep quality
A growing body of research has shown that infrared sauna therapy can effectively treat RA. Overall, the results of these studies have been positive, with many patients reporting significant improvements in their symptoms after using an infrared sauna.
How Much Prednisone Will I Take
The amount of prednisone your doctor prescribes will depend on your specific condition and the stage of your disease. You might get a high dose for a short time if youâre having a flare-up. Or your doctor may put you on a lower dose for what they call bridge therapy while youâre waiting for another medication to take effect. Many people take a low maintenance dose for a long time to keep inflammation levels in check.
Be Aware Of The Side Effects With Biologics
The following side effects are rare, but they can be serious or life-threatening:
- Serious skin or lung infections
- Serious allergic reactions
Other side effects are less serious: minor infections, headache, and reactions at the injection site. People usually dont change treatments because of these side effects.
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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.
How Long Does It Take To Reduce Pain Swelling And Stiffness
Infrared sauna therapy can significantly relieve the pain, swelling, and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis . Many people find that regular sauna therapy can help control their symptoms.
But how long does it take for infrared sauna therapy to start working? That depends on several factors, including the severity of your RA symptoms and how often you use the sauna.
Generally speaking, most people will start seeing some improvement in their RA symptoms after just a few sessions in an infrared sauna.
However, it may take longer for others to experience relief. And for some people, infrared sauna therapy may not provide any benefit at all. If you don’t see any improvement after a few weeks it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see any help from this treatment.
If you experience relief from your RA symptoms after using an infrared sauna, you’ll likely need to continue using the sauna regularly to maintain that relief. Many people find that they need to use the sauna several times weekly.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The main symptoms of RA are joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Usually, symptoms develop gradually over several weeks, but in some people, symptoms develop rapidly.
The small joints of the hand and feet are usually the first to become affected. Stiffness is usually worse first thing in the morning or after periods of inactivity and may make movement difficult. RA usually affects the joints on both sides of the body equally.
The pain is typically described as throbbing and aching. Joint stiffness is usually worse in the morning but still tends to persist, unlike stiffness caused by osteoarthritis which tends to wear off after about 30 minutes. Because the tissue inside the joints is affected, joints may look swollen and feel hot and tender to the touch. Some people develop firm swellings under the skin, called nodules, around affected joints.Joint and bone destruction can occur over time if the disease process is not well-controlled.
Patients may also lack energy and have experience fevers, sweating, a poor appetite, and weight loss. Other symptoms may occur depending on what other parts of the body are affected, for example, dry eyes, or heart or lung problems.
Topicals For Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief
There are so many options for topical pain support available, and I feel like Ive tried a good variety of them:
- Capsaicin cream
- Salonpas patches
Ive had some temporary pain relief and support from each of these, and I don’t think theres harm in trying a few different ones. My personal favorites have been Tiger Balm Active Muscle Gel and Arnica Cream . I usually keep a few different types in the house so if one isnt helpful when my pain is increasing, I have another option on hand. I like being able to target my uncomfortable joints topically rather than trying to take oral medication, wait for it to be absorbed, and then travel to the area in question.
Note: I always recommend checking with your doctor first before adding anything to your treatment regimen.
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Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
With most autoimmune conditions, researchers dont have a definitive answer as to what causes autoimmunity. However, the main theory is that they are caused by a genetic weakness being triggered by an immune system response to an outside factor. All of these triggers lead to an out-of-control inflammatory response that can cause intestinal permeability, which further perpetuates this inflammatory-immune cycle.
Some of the most common inflammatory-autoimmune triggers I see include:
What Drugs Are Used To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
The youll wind up on will depend on your symptoms and disease severity. To help lessen your pain and inflammation, your rheumatologist may initially suggest over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or a short course of corticosteroids. But the ultimate goal is to stop or slow the progression of the disease, preventing potentially debilitating cartilage and bone damage. For that, your physician will likely start with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs . These medications slow down your overactive immune system, so it doesn’t attack the tissue lining your joints.
Which medication specifically your doc chooses depends on your disease severity. In RA, the goal is to match the strength of medication to the degree of inflammation in the patient’s body. If someone has low disease activity, we may offer hydroxychloroquine, which is the least immunosuppressive of the bunch, says Saika Sharmeen, M.D., assistant professor in the division of rheumatology at Stony Brook Medicine in Stony Brook, NY.
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The Importance Of Hand Exercises And Rest
The joints of the hands are among the first to be affected by RA, and over time inflammation can cause carpal tunnel syndrome and loss of hand and finger function.
Research published in July 2017 in the journal Arthritis Care & Research found that grip strength initially increased in study participants with early RA within their first year of diagnosis. This early improvement was likely due to anti-rheumatic treatments.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
But some hand exercises may improve grip strength and finger range of motion for RA patients. These exercises can include, among others:
- Opening and closing your hands repeatedly
- Pinching your fingers together
- Touching your thumb to the base of your other fingers
- Making a loose fist by drawing your fingers to the center of your palms
- Moving your wrists up and down
- Moving your hands in nice, easy circles
- Putting your hands flat on a table and raising your fingers up individually
These exercises should be interspersed with hand rest.
How Cognitive Therapy Can Help
Because one of the most trying aspects of rheumatoid arthritis is learning to live with pain, many doctors recommend pain management training. They may call it âcognitive therapy.â
The goal is to improve your emotional and psychological well-being as you develop ways to relax, handle stress, and pace yourself. For instance, it may include activity scheduling, guided imagery, relaxation, distraction, and creative problem-solving.
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Exceptional Healthcare Has Never Been More Accessible And Convenient
If you or a loved one is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or a sports-related injury, the caring team at PVHC is here for you. Comprised of dedicated, experienced doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses, the PVHC pros are ready to address your every medical need. From family medicine and womens health to sports medicine and urgent care, the support you need is close to home.
Schedule an appointment at a PVHC location near you. For Claremont, Chino Hills or Pomona, call 909-630-7829 or to use our online form.
Physical And Occupational Therapy
Physical therapy and occupational therapy make a big difference to your daily life. They are key parts of any rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan.
Physical therapists can give you an exercise plan, teach you how to use heat and ice, do therapeutic massage, and encourage and motivate you.
Occupational therapists help you handle daily tasks — like cooking or using your computer — and show you easier ways to do those things. They can also check on whether any gadgets would help you.
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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 are an effective second-line treatment. In addition to medications, people can manage their RA with self-management strategies proven to reduce pain and disability, allowing them to pursue the 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.
Heart And Blood Vessel Disease
Pericarditis, or inflammation of the membrane that surrounds your heart, usually develops during flares. Flares are times when your RA is worse.
If it happens a lot, pericarditis can make the membrane thicker and tighter. That can interfere with your heart’s ability to work the way it should.
Rheumatoid nodules can also form on the heart and affect the way it works.
Inflammation of the heart muscle itself, called myocarditis, is a rare complication.
Heart disease doesn’t always have symptoms before a crisis. Your doctor can spot some problems during a checkup and may recommend lifestyle changes or medication.
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Why Trust Verywell Health
As a seasoned health writer, Jennifer Nied understands how vital quality product recommendations are for treating symptoms safely and effectively at home. For over 10 years, she has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.
Additional reporting to this story by Danielle Zoellner and Elizabeth Yuko
As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.
As a seasoned health writer and editorand someone with rheumatoid arthritisElizabeth Yuko understands how much of a difference finding the right product makes for those with arthritis. Shes always on the lookout for new products, techniques, and services that can help people cope with their health challenges.
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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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Methotrexate For Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is It Safe And How Does It Work
Methotrexate is a medication thats often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis , which can cause symptoms like red, painful, and swollen joints. If youve heard of methotrexate before, you probably already know its a medication thats taken long term to help lessen the symptoms of RA. But what about side effects? And how does it compare to other medications? Heres what you should know about this popular medication and why its still considered to be the first choice among rheumatoid arthritis treatments.
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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.
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Natural Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are some complementary medicine treatments that might help with your RA. It’s a good idea to talk it over with your doctor first. You’ll still need to take your medicine and keep up with the other parts of your treatment plan.
Heat and cold. Ice packs can reduce joint swelling and inflammation. Put a cold compress or ice pack on the joint. Use the ice packs for 15 minutes at a time, with 30-minute breaks in between.
Heat compresses relax muscles and stimulate blood flow. Wrap a warm towel or pad around the area that hurts. Or try a warm bath or shower.
Relaxation. Try progressive muscle relaxation. This is when you tense or tighten one muscle group and then relax it. Take deep breaths as you do. Start with the muscles of your feet. Move slowly up your body, ending with the muscles of your face.
Sleep. A lack of shut-eye can make your joints hurt. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Try to get some exercise every day. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. And don’t forget to “unplug” your bedroom: Turn off TVs, computers, and phones.
Acupuncture. Studies show that acupuncture curbs pain, may lower the need for painkillers, and is good for helping affected joints stay flexible.
Muscle Relaxants Are The Best Remedies For Muscle Pain
Muscle relaxants are prescribed to patients to relax muscle tissue. At the last stages of the development of rheumatoid arthritis, the severity of symptoms increases, pain makes the muscles involuntarily strain. The result is a decrease in movement in the affected joint. Long-term pain syndromes lead to insufficient oxygen supply to muscle fibers, a deficiency of nutrients and an excess of accumulated metabolic products also appear.Muscle relaxants are able to rid the patient of these negative manifestations and bring the muscles to tone. The best drugs in this group are:
Peripheral muscle relaxants are contraindicated in children under 1 year of age, with an allergic reaction to the drug and peptic ulcer. Such injections are allowed to be used during pregnancy and lactation but under the strict supervision of a doctor. If you experience weakness, nausea, insomnia, hallucinations, and dry mouth, you should immediately inform your doctor. The doctor will select the appropriate medicine, prescribe the appropriate dosage.
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