Medical Marijuana For Ra Joint Pain
While is often prescribed for chronic pain, research suggests that cannabis has a worse risk-to-benefit profile than all other pain-relieving medication, save for opioids. That is, though it generally reduces pain, cannabis mental and heart-related side effects make some rheumatologists apprehensive to prescribe it for rheumatic conditions.
But the benefits and risks of medical marijuana for RA vary depending on the mode of transmission.
For example, topical CBD oil can provide immediate pain relief for a few hours, but the need to reapply can make the treatment expensive. Edibles, on the other hand, can provide medicinal effects for up to eight hours , but the dosages are inconsistent and the effects can vary between uses.
Rheumatologists discourage RA patients from smoking marijuana because smoking carries risks for many diseases, particularly heart and lung disease. In general, one should never smoke anything the toxins can hurt your lungs and cause permanent damage.
Expert Q& A: Just Dealing With Chronic Pain
Why itÃ¢s important to get proper treatment for chronic pain.
Q: With both fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, I have constant pain. Even with treatment, it never goes away completely. Ive just been dealing with it. Is that OK?
Chronic pain is not a problem you should just put up with in fact, you should be dealing with chronic pain in ways that are effective. This is important because an increasing number of studies show serious consequences of having chronic pain. It may cause damage to certain areas of the brain, just as chronic stress does. Chronic pain also may lead to psychological problems, such as depression social problems, such as isolation or decreased earning potential and functional problems, such as decreased activity or disability.
Medications can also be helpful. For moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis , the supplement glucosamine may provide some relief, as may the right combination of analgesics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . There are three drugs specifically approved for use in fibromyalgia, as well as many drugs that have been shown to be effective but are not specifically approved.
Tell your doctor that the treatments you tried previously are not resolving your chronic pain, and then work with him to find the right combination of treatments for you. It may take some time, but the result will be worth the effort.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis
Many people confuse rheumatoid arthritis with osteoarthritis due to their similar symptoms, but the two diseases are caused by different factors.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint malfunction due to inflammation, osteoarthritis is a mechanical disease brought on by the destruction of joints through wear and tear.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, with approximately 27 million Americans over the age of 25 having been diagnosed with it. Osteoarthritis is also most commonly seen in people middle-aged to elderly and is the top cause of disability in those age groups, though it can also appear in younger people who have sustained joint injuries.
With osteoarthritis, the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bone are all affected by deterioration and inflammation. When the cartilage begins to break down due to stress or changes in the body, the surrounding bones slowly get bigger and begin to fail.
Osteoarthritis is a slowly progressing disease and occurs in the joints of the hand, spine, hips, knees, and toes. Furthermore, risk factors of this disease most often stem from lifestyle or biological causes, such as:
Osteoarthritis sometimes occurs alongside rheumatoid arthritis or other disease, such as gout.
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How To Handle Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
While you may not be able to avoid the pain that comes with rheumatoid arthritis , you can take action to limit it. Start with these eight ideas:
Who Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis
Diagnosing and treating rheumatoid arthritis requires a team effort involving you and several types of health care professionals. These may include:
- Rheumatologists, who specialize in arthritis and other diseases of the bones, joints, and muscles.
- Primary care providers, such as internists, who specialize in the diagnosis and medical treatment of adults.
- Orthopaedists, who specialize in the treatment of and surgery for bone and joint diseases or injuries.
- Physical therapists, who help to improve joint function.
- Occupational therapists, who teach ways to protect joints, minimize pain, perform activities of daily living, and conserve energy.
- Dietitians, who teach ways to eat a good diet to improve health and maintain a healthy weight.
- Nurse educators, who specialize in helping people understand their overall condition and set up their treatment plans.
- Mental health professionals, who help people cope with difficulties.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Ra
Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts quite slowly and you may first notice:
- joints of your fingers, wrists or the balls of your feet become uncomfortable or tender
- swelling in your joints, which often comes and goes
- joints are affected symmetrically you will notice symptoms in the same joints on both sides of the body.
- feeling stiff when you wake up in the morning.
For some people, the disease develops very rapidly and there may be a sudden onset of pain and swelling in a lot of joints.
Why Do Certain Foods Cause Arthritis Flare
While no single food will cause arthritis or trigger a flare-up, your diet as a whole can substantially impact the severity of your condition.
Certain foods have been found to have inflammatory properties, so it’s wise to avoid these foods as much as possible. Some foods, like white rice, contain compounds called cytokines, which promote inflammation. If you regularly include these in your diet, your arthritis can worsen.
Many health care professionals recommend adopting an anti-inflammatory diet that focuses on heavily reducing the number of foods that may directly or indirectly worsen inflammation. However, it’s important to remember that the foods which trigger an arthritis flare-up may vary with the type of arthritis you have.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis And Kidney Function: What To Know
Amyloidosis, a condition caused by the abnormal buildup of certain proteins that can impair kidney function, may occur in association with RA usually in the later stages or if someones disease isnt well-controlled with medication. The symptoms can be vague, such as weakness or swelling, and can include an enlarged spleen and gastrointestinal issues.
To screen for amyloidosis, rheumatologists will periodically check your kidney function.
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Routine Monitoring And Ongoing Care
Regular medical care is important because your doctor can:
- Monitor how the disease is progressing.
- Determine how well the medications are working.
- Talk to you about any side the effects from the medications.
- Adjust your treatment as needed.
Monitoring typically includes regular visits to the doctor. It also may include blood and urine tests, and xrays. Having rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of developing osteoporosis, particularly if you take corticosteroids. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes the bones to weaken and easily break. Talk to your doctor about your risk for the disease and the potential benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplements or other osteoporosis treatments.
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Spinal Arthritis Causes And Risk Factors
The causes of arthritis in the back or neck vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Besides normal wear and tear and autoimmune triggers, in many cases the exact cause remains unknown. Genetic components have been identified in connection with some forms of spinal arthritis, meaning that it may be hereditary.
Other spinal arthritis risk factors include:
Presence of certain conditions such as diabetes, gout, psoriasis, tuberculosis, irritable bowel syndrome and Lyme disease
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Rollerball option makes application easier
Some may find it hard to press down on spray nozzle
Spray version can be messy
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We selected Biofreeze as our best overall pick because it contains active menthol, which creates cooling sensations and temporary pain relief. Because the product is a spray, it penetrates quickly to relieve pain on the back and all joints from the neck down to the ankle. There is also a rollerball version that helps massage the gel into affected areas.
Each spray bottle features technology that produces a continuous flow even when itâs flipped upside down. Whatâs more, the formula is free of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, salicylates, and addictive substances.
Price at time of publish: $32
Active Ingredients: Menthol | Dose: Spray affected area no more than four times a day | Uses: Temporary relief from minor aches and pains of joints and/or muscles
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What Are The Tests For Rheumatoid Arthritis
The doctor will want to check your blood and other fluids. TheyÃ¢ll also probably take images of your joints.
The doctor may use a needle to take blood or joint fluid while youÃ¢re in the office. Or they might send you to a lab for these tests. Rheumatologists look for signs of inflammation like:
- Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides antibodies. They signal bone damage caused by RA.
- C-reactive protein . Levels go up when you have inflammation.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate . It measures the speed at which your blood settles to the bottom of a test tube. Faster settling is a sign of inflammation.
- Rheumatoid factor. Your body churns out these proteins when it attacks healthy tissue.
- Synovial fluid. Your doctor will test it for proteins, signs of infection, and a lack of thickness.
Your doctor may order X-rays an MRI scan, which uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make a more detailed picture or a CT scan, which takes X-rays from several angles and puts them together to get more information.
You might not get a definite RA diagnosis on your first visit. In some cases, it can take a few appointments for your rheumatologist to rule out other causes of your joint pain.
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Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Go Away
No, rheumatoid arthritis doesnt go away. Its a condition youll have for the rest of your life. But you may have periods where you dont notice symptoms. These times of feeling better may come and go.
That said, the damage RA causes in your joints is here to stay. If you dont see a provider for RA treatment, the disease can cause permanent damage to your cartilage and, eventually, your joints. RA can also harm organs like your lung and heart.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may feel like youre on a lifelong roller coaster of pain and fatigue. Its important to share these feelings and your symptoms with your healthcare provider. Along with X-rays and blood tests, what you say about your quality of life will help inform your treatment. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your needs. Most people can manage rheumatoid arthritis and still do the activities they care about.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/18/2022.
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What Are The Four Stages Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Stage 1: In early stage rheumatoid arthritis, the tissue around your joint is inflamed. You may have some pain and stiffness. If your provider ordered X-rays, they wouldnt see destructive changes in your bones.
- Stage 2: The inflammation has begun to damage the cartilage in your joints. You might notice stiffness and a decreased range of motion.
- Stage 3: The inflammation is so severe that it damages your bones. Youll have more pain, stiffness and even less range of motion than in stage 2, and you may start to see physical changes.
- Stage 4: In this stage, the inflammation stops but your joints keep getting worse. Youll have severe pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of mobility.
How Is Hip Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use the following diagnostic tools to determine if you have hip arthritis:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies
- X-rays to determine cartilage loss
You cant see cartilage on X-ray, but you can see the space between the bones of the hip joint. If its narrowing, this could mean that cartilage has been lost. X-rays also show bone spurs and cysts, which develop due to osteoarthritis. MRI of the hip is usually not needed to diagnose arthritis.
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Evening Primrose Oil Supplements
Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.
A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.
Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.
Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.
According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.
A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.
Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.
Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.
Talking To Your Doctor About A Medication Switch
If youre in chronic pain, your rheumatologist wants to know. Its not okay to just feel fine or live with it for several good reasons.
I dont want my patients to be living in pain, says Leah Alon , MD, a rheumatologist in New York City. Chronic pain is related to depression and acute pain is related to anxiety. Pain also impacts your relationships, your ability to care for your family, and your ability to find and maintain a job.
If your medication isnt working well enough and RA inflammation persists, it can cause permanent damage to the joints. Once you get damage to the joint, there is no way back, says Dr. Alon. You can prevent further damage, but you cant correct the damage that was already done.
Whats more, since untreated RA can cause systemic or all-over inflammation, it can have a negative impact on many parts of your body, including skin, lungs, heart, nerves, and kidneys.
If youre anxious about trying a new medication or are afraid you cant afford it, dont hesitate to let your rheumatologist know. We want to understand all of your concerns surrounding your medication so we can help guide you and make recommendations, says Dr. Schulman.
When it comes to considering a treatment change, its always a we make together.
Here are a few questions you can ask your rheumatologist if youre considering a treatment change:
The good news is that there are more medications than ever to treat RA and manage pain.
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Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Fatigue
Everyones experience of rheumatoid arthritis is a little different. But many people with RA say that fatigue is among the worst symptoms of the disease.
Living with chronic pain can be exhausting. And fatigue can make it more difficult to manage your pain. Its important to pay attention to your body and take breaks before you get too tired.
What are rheumatoid arthritis flare symptoms?
The symptoms of a rheumatoid arthritis flare arent much different from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. But people with RA have ups and downs. A flare is a time when you have significant symptoms after feeling better for a while. With treatment, youll likely have periods of time when you feel better. Then, stress, changes in weather, certain foods or infections trigger a period of increased disease activity.
Although you cant prevent flares altogether, there are steps you can take to help you manage them. It might help to write your symptoms down every day in a journal, along with whats going on in your life. Share this journal with your rheumatologist, who may help you identify triggers. Then you can work to manage those triggers.