Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment aims to accomplish several things:

-Reduce systemic inflammation
-Reduce symptom severity and duration
-Modification of the disease process
-Improve general health
-Send the disease into remission

While RA treatment should deal aggressively with the causes of the disease and seek to treat them first and foremost, the patient is certainly entitled to relief from the sometimes debilitating symptoms of RA.

RA Treatment of Symptoms

For mild to medium RA symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness, various supplements and over the counter medications can be used with good results. Both anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers can help treat rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Non-steroid anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as naproxen and ibuprofen are quite effective for low-grade symptoms but their continued use is not advised as they have a number of potentially serious side-effects such as stomach bleeding.

Several other pain relievers are available both over the counter and by prescription such as opiodes (hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc.) for more serious pain.

RA Treatment via Surgery

The part of the joint that becomes inflamed by RA is the synovial membrane and surgery is sometimes indicated. The purpose of the surgery is to extract the inflamed synovial fluid which helps preserve the joints. The synovia has a discolored appearance which is indicative of inflammation and is sometimes used as a diagnostic tool to check for RA. This surgery is particularly useful when RA is still relatively undeveloped and has a success rate of about 50%.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment by means of surgery is usually performed on knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders and feet. The surgery requires the cartilage to still be intact and physical therapy is required afterwards.

RA Treatment With Other Methods

There are many other therapies that an individual can employ to ease RA. Diet and exercise, for example, can essentially reverse much of the symptomatic portion of the disease. Specifically, a highly anti-inflammatory diet that avoids grains and often dairy and is high in protein and high-quality fat. This diet is popularly known as the paleo diet and has significant implications for sufferers of inflammatory diseases.

Light use of medical marijuana and alcohol have been endorsed by RA patients as ameliorative.

Exercise and a low-stress lifestyle can improve general health and immunity substantially and thus help the body help itself. However, it should be noted that too much exercise with insufficient recovery periods can actually have an inflammatory effect.

Certain supplements can be useful for RA patients. Fish oil is a highly anti-inflammatory supplement that is very safe even in large doses as it is essentially a food. Patients with active inflammatory processes often see fantastic improvement with high dose (several grams a day) of high-quality fish oil.

Further, MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin are anecdotally reputed to have joint supportive properties although the scientific literature is conflicting.

One rather fascinating supplement that this author has used for non-RA joint pain is Cissus Quadrangularis. This is a fairly new supplement on the market and studies indicate that it is rather safe. It is highly anti-inflammatory and has a powerful analgesic (pain-relieving) effect on joint pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment can take many forms depending on the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and progression of the disease but it all starts with the patient taking control of diet and exercise.


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