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.
Natural Therapies For Arthritis Pain
Medication isn’t the only way to manage arthritis pain. Look at these eight natural therapies for arthritis.
1. 8 Natural Therapies for Arthritis Pain
4. Tai Chi
6. Weight Loss
7. Physical Therapy
8. Topical Gels
Follow A Mediterranean Diet
This type of diet includes poultry, fish, and less lean red meat than a typical UK diet, plenty of vegetables , fresh fruit, olive oil, wholegrain cereals, peas and beans and nuts and seeds. This means saturated fats are reduced and replaced by unsaturated fats including omega-3. Research has shown an improvement in the symptoms experienced by people with RA when following this diet. To adopt this way of eating, aim for four or more portions of vegetables and two or more portions of fruit daily.
Use more of the oils and products rich in monounsaturated fats olive and rapeseed oil. Using more omega-3 polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may help to reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms. Eating an assortment of colourful fruit and vegetables will increase your intake of compounds called antioxidants which may help to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of RA.
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Ra Pain: What Is The Best Pain Relief For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that can cause severe and debilitating symptoms for patients of many ages. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available today to help control the disease and reduce inflammation, which is the primary cause of pain.
One of the most important aspects of treatment is rheumatoid arthritis pain management. For patients who suffer from chronic pain or frequent flare-ups, knowing how to manage pain on an ongoing basis and as needed is an important part of improving quality of life.
What Drugs Are Used To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
The drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis can be divided into three groups:
- Drugs that decrease pain and inflammation. These products include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen , naproxen , and other similar products. Another type of drug the COX-2 inhibitor also falls into this drug category, providing relief of the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Celecoxib , one COX-2 inhibitor, is available and used in the United States. The COX- 2 inhibitors were designed to have fewer bleeding side effects on the stomach.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs . Unlike other NSAIDs, DMARDs can actually slow the disease process by modifying the immune system. Older DMARDs include methotrexate , gold salts, penicillamine , hydroxychloroquine , sulfasalazine , cyclosporine , cyclophosphamide and leflunomide . Currently, methotrexate, leflunomide, hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine are the most commonly used. Many of these drugs were first used to treat other medical conditions such as malaria, transplant rejection, cancer, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease but have now also found a role in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
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How Is Ra Diagnosed
RA is diagnosed by reviewing symptoms, conducting a physical examination, and doing X-rays and lab tests. Its best to diagnose RA earlywithin 6 months of the onset of symptomsso that people with the disease can begin treatment to slow or stop disease progression . Diagnosis and effective treatments, particularly treatment to suppress or control inflammation, can help reduce the damaging effects of RA.
How Do I Take Methotrexate
Methotrexate is typically taken once a week for RA. It is available as both a tablet you take by mouth and as an injection. With the tablets, most people start with one 7.5 mg dose once a week, but your provider may recommend up to a maximum dose of 25 mg once a week depending on how you respond. To reduce the risk of side effects, they may ask you to split the dose into smaller doses that you take throughout the day of the week youre scheduled to take your medication.
If youre using the injection, thats once a week, too. Youll inject the medication either into your muscle or right under your skin, depending on what your provider recommends. The injection is available as either an auto-injector or as a vial. You can find instructions on how to use Rasuvo from the manufacturer here.
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How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor will diagnose rheumatoid arthritis after asking questions about your symptoms and looking at your painful or swollen joints. It is likely your doctor will recommend blood tests, including checking your blood levels of antibodies called rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide , as well as some markers of inflammation called erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein . A high result in any of these blood tests may suggest that you have rheumatoid arthritis.
Your doctor may also recommend x-rays or other scans to help make a diagnosis.
If your doctor thinks that you may have rheumatoid arthritis, they will refer you to a rheumatologist, who is a doctor that specialises in joints.
Starting treatment for rheumatoid arthritis as soon as possible is important as it reduces the chance that you will have serious symptoms later.
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.
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What Is Psoriatic Arthritis
Youve likely heard of psoriasis. And youve likely heard of arthritis. But, have you ever heard of psoriatic arthritis? If you havent, you should. Its one of the most common types of arthritis, right behind osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although all three types of arthritis have overlapping symptoms, one of the most distinguishing characteristics of psoriatic arthritis is that 85% of individuals living with this disease also have psoriasis.
Equally affecting men and women, psoriatic arthritis most often has an onset in adults between the ages of 30 and 50. While juvenile psoriatic arthritis can occur, it is far less common. Does this mean if you have psoriasis that you will also develop psoriatic arthritis? Not necessarily, but your chances do increase significantly. Around 30% of individuals who experience psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis.
The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include the classic joint pain and inflammation. But, individuals living with the disease may develop problems such as tendonitis, generalized fatigue, dactylitis , heel pain, back pain, nail pitting, and reduced joint mobility. While there are five different types of psoriatic arthritis, the most common type affects joints asymmetrically. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis typically affects joints symmetrically that is, the same joints on both sides of the body.
How Will My Doctor Choose Drugs That Are Right For Me
Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment program. The drugs your doctor prescribes will match the seriousness of your condition.
Your doctor will combine the results of your medical history, physical exam, X-rays and blood tests to create your treatment program. The doctor will also consider your age, sex, physical activity, other medications you are taking and any other medical conditions you may have.
It is important to meet with your doctor regularly so that he or she can closely monitor you for any side effects and change your treatment, if necessary. Your doctor may periodically order blood tests or other tests to determine the effectiveness of your treatment and any side effects.
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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.
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.
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Questions For Your Doctor
- How do I know if my joint pain is caused by rheumatoid arthritis?
- Does RA run in families?
- What medicines would work best for me, and what are the side effects?
- Is there anything I can do to prevent flare-ups of RA?
- What are the pros and cons of surgery to treat RA?
- Does RA affect my life expectancy?
What Are Foods That Trigger Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Now that you know what you should be eating, lets talk about what you should be avoiding if you are living with psoriatic arthritis. While the above list of foods are noted for their anti-inflammatory properties, there are foods that are known for just the opposite. That is, they are known to cause inflammation. Naturally, these are just the types of foods you should avoid if you are living with psoriatic arthritis.
Saturated fats, sugar, alcohol, and simple carbohydrates are all triggers for psoriatic arthritis symptoms to flare up. Theyre also key factors in weight gain and obesity. As your weight increases, the stress on your joints also increases, so it goes hand in hand that keeping your weight down is beneficial for managing psoriatic arthritis.
Whats on the bad food list for individuals living with psoriatic arthritis?
- Processed meats
- Fried foods
Similarly, the foods on this list are ones that you would find on many lists for foods to avoid. It is only natural that our bodies do well with more nutrient-dense foods than ones that are processed, enriched, and full of sugar.
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Your Herbal Supplements Are Probably Garbage
Theres a lot of buzz about natural remedies for RA. While some may be helpful as an add-on to a treatment plan prescribed by a rheumatologist many are snake oil designed to remove your money rather than your pain, says Don R. Martin, MD, of Sentara RMH Rheumatology in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Patients need to remember that natural does not necessarily mean its healthy. Remember both arsenic and asbestos are naturally occurring substances, he explains. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA the same way prescription and over-the-counter drugs are, so the purity of agents and the quality of scientific studies regarding their effectiveness varies widely, he adds.
Two kinds he says can be effective as part of an overall treatment plan? Capsaicin and turmeric. But make sure your doctor knows about any supplements you take, since some could have an effect on other medications you take.
You Cannot Smoke Not Even Socially
When it comes to RA, smoking has been shown to increase your risk of both getting arthritis in the first place and worsen your symptoms after you have it. This makes smoking one of the biggest risks for patients, Dr. Martin says. If youre serious about managing your RA you have to quit smoking. This includes even a social cigarette here and there.
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Home Remedies And Lifestyle
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, progressive disease that needs to be managed as part of your life. Rather than just treating the disease with drugs, you need to take a holistic approach aimed at improving your overall health and mitigating the risk factors that place you in harm’s way.
It’s all about embracing healthy behaviors and changing how you respond to acute attacks.
How Well Does Methotrexate Work
The American College of Rheumatology recommends methotrexate as the first medication providers should consider when treating people with rheumatoid arthritis. In head-to-head clinical trials, methotrexate was found to be equally or more effective, and have fewer side effects, than other nonbiologic DMARDs. In most patients, it was also found to take effect faster.
Methotrexate can help improve symptoms and reduce the amount of joint damage that occurs because of RA. Some people who take methotrexate are even able to achieve remission, which is a long period of time without symptoms.
You may be wondering if its worth it to take methotrexate when there are over-the-counter pain medications and steroid medications that can help ease inflammation. Unlike methotrexate, these other medications arent meant to be taken long term. They can rapidly control inflammation, but they dont really slow down how quickly RA gets worse. Taking them for too long can also lead to some serious risks. Theyre often recommended when patients start taking methotrexate and are waiting for the drug to take effect.
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Are Rheumatism And Arthritis The Same Thing
People may use the term rheumatism when they describe aches and pains similar to those caused by arthritis. Rheumatism is not a medical condition, and a person may instead be referring to rheumatoid arthritis. When people use the word arthritis, they are sometimes referring to osteoarthritis, the most common type.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It can be one of the first warning signs of RA before the diagnosis is confirmed. For many patients, the onset of chronic fatigue symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis can be vague and difficult to categorize and may be attributed to other causes.
The cause of chronic fatigue can sometimes be difficult to identify because there are many factors to consider. Some of the different factors that cause chronic fatigue include:
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Poor diet and lack of physical activity
In addition to the regular rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, fatigue becomes even more chronic and debilitating when other medical complications are involved. Fibromyalgia, obesity, heart disease, respiratory disease such as COPD, and depression, are a few examples that can complicate and worsen the effects of fatigue.
Your Joints And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Joints are places where bones meet. Bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons all work together so that you can bend, twist, stretch and move about.
The ends of your bones are covered in a thin layer of cartilage. It acts like a slippery cushion absorbing shock and helping your joint move smoothly.
The joint is wrapped inside a tough capsule filled with synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates and nourishes the cartilage and other structures in the joint.
When you have rheumatoid arthritis:
- your immune system attacks your joints, which causes:
- a build-up of synovial fluid
- inflammation of the tissues that line the joint
- pain, heat and swelling
How To Know If Your Ra Is Progressing
You will know your joints will tell you, Dr. Bhatt says. The pain will get worse and you could have more swelling. Dr. Lally says that although periods of pain may resolve on their own in early RA, these episodes tend to become more frequent and longer in duration until the classic features of RA persist. In addition, Dr. Bhatt says to pay attention to non-joint symptoms like increased shortness of breath or red, painful eyes, which could be signs the RA is affecting other systems in the body. Let your doctor know if your RA symptoms are changing at all.
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Treatment May Make You More Susceptible To Other Illnesses
Many medications work by lowering the bodys immune system, says Orrin Troum, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Southern California and rheumatologist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica. This helps the body to stop attacking the joints, but at the same time can make you more susceptible to outside infections, like pneumonia, he says.
This does NOT mean you should stop taking your meds, but its important to know so you can take extra steps to protect yourself from germs and get treatment as soon as possible when symptoms of infections occur, he adds.
Its not just the newer biologic drugs that affect infection risk. Conventional DMARDs like methotrexate and corticosteroids to manage flares can raise your risk of infections as well. Any time your doctor prescribes you medication, its a good idea to ask about infection risk and any precautions you can take to minimize them.