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Rheumatoid Arthritis Center

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment
Although rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, it can be treated.  By managing your lifestyle (exercise, weight, etc.), you can be in a better position to decrease pain and increase the functionality of your joints.  And, by having regular doctor appointments, you and your doctor can see monitor progression of the illness.  Because of a variety of treatments available, your decisions can play a role in determining your satisfaction while living with rheumatoid arthritis.  The goals for treating rheumatoid arthritis include:

  1. Allowing you to remain physically active
  2. Coping with emotions and physical problems
  3. Learning about this disease, and how you can manage it
  4. Reducing joint damage
  5. Reducing pain
  6. Reducing swelling

Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis may involve several different techniques.  Your doctor might recommend one of the following, or use different treatments in combination with one another.  Common RA treatments include:

Application of heat and cold -   Heat may ease pain by increasing blood flow, whereas cold treatment may help you manage inflammation during flare-ups.

Lifestyle changes - Here, you must pay attention to giving your joints rest, using both your hands to move objects, using large muscle groups, and doing specific exercises for the appropriate degree of your rheumatoid arthritis.  Also, you may need to lose weight in order to reduce stress on your joints as much as possible.  

Medicine - Medication therapies for rheumatoid arthritis include anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, as well as stronger medication used to treat cancer (e.g. methotrexate) which also reduces inflammation.  Or, steroidal treatments may be recommended in order to slow joint damage and reduce inflammation.  Lastly, a new class of drugs known as biological response modifiers inhibit cytokins, a type of protein, which is linked to inflammation. 

Splints - Splints may be used to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Surgery - Sometimes, surgery is recommended in order to fuse two bones that might otherwise become unusable, if further joint damage were to occur.  Or, a joint may be replaced.

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