Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition where treatment revolves around managing pain, maintaining mobility and cutting the progression of the disease. In terms of pain management, patients should know that taking medication makes them increasingly immune to the benefits of the medication in the future. As far as possible, pain should be managed by other means. Arthritis medication can cause severe side effects and this trade-off needs to be discussed with a doctor and a fine balance has to be maintained in terms of when to take medication and when not to.
Daily pain management will most likely be done by using NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These include common pain medications like Advil, Motrin and Aleve. Side effects on the renal and cardiovascular system will likely be monitored for patients who take these on a daily basis.
For patients who have trouble with movement, corticosteroids help in reducing swelling and pain so the patient can move more. Compared to NSAIDS, steroids have a greater risk of side effects owing to their “shock” to the system.
Finally, to attempt to stem the spread and worsening of rheumatoid arthritis doctors prescribe a class of drugs known as disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS). These are prescribed in pairs so that the two types of DMARDS are both given to the patient in the same medication course. The first kind of DMARD is called first generation DMARD and the second kind is known as “biologic agent.”
Rheumatoid arthritis patients are usually prescribed some form of exercise based on their condition and ability. Pain is one of the important feedback mechanisms, but how much pain to bear and when to stop pushing your exercise regimen will be a very subjective decision that will need to be worked out in conjunction with your doctor.
In addition to exercise, sessions of physical therapy may help those with impinged mobility. For patients who cannot do basic movements due to advanced rheumatoid arthritis, physical therapy can bring back some mobility and may set them on the path to low-intensity exercising in the future. There are many variations and movements that the therapist can suggest, but this depends on the many kinds of joints and places in the body, where the patient may be suffering the worst symptoms.
If arthritis has progressed to a stage where some joints or musculature has been irretrievably damaged, patients may be suggested surgery. This surgery can range from small repairs to entire joint replacements. With modern innovations in this regards, surgeries have become more efficient and have a higher rate of successful recovery. Common surgical interventions could be joint fusions and synovectomies.
Food is crucial in maintaining joint and muscular health in general, and for arthritis patients, this becomes a necessary discipline. It goes without saying that patients should eat a balanced diet, full of necessary macro and micro nutrients. Veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins are recommended. Patients can add supplements like fish oil supplements for their claimed nutritional benefits. The research backing such supplements is limited, but if you see no adverse effect on your digestive systems, it may be worth a try. While you eat healthily it is also important to strictly avoid foods that may cause more inflammatory responses in your body, this means the “fun foods” need to be cut out completely. This includes red meat, processed foods, fast food, refined sugars, excess salt or spice, and fried foods.