What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks its healthy tissues causing inflammation and damage to joints.
It is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the hands, wrists, feet, and ankles. The joint inflammation can also affect other parts of the body, like the knees, hips, and spine. It can attack joints, tendons, and muscles in multiple ways. People with RA have to cope with pain and limitations in their daily activities as well as emotional stress.
This article will act as a guide to understanding what rheumatoid arthritis is, and how it's diagnosed and treated.
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is carried out by examination of these common diagnostic signs:
Morning stiffness for greater than 30 mins
Swelling and tenderness in the joints
Radiographic examination shows narrowed joint space.
These are the main investigations used for rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis by physicians.
Is there a cure for RA?
There is no definite cure for rheumatoid arthritis.
However, the good news is that there are options for rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Several treatment options are available for rheumatoid arthritis, including medication and non-medication treatments such as physiotherapy exercises and massage therapy. It may take a little time to find the right one for the patient.
However, many doctors recommend trying supplements first before going down that path because supplements may be more effective than medication at reducing symptoms such as pain levels or swelling levels within the joints.
Common treatment options to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis by regulating blood circulation, which reduces swelling and pain caused by inflammation; promoting healthy joint function; reducing stress on the body’s immune system, and improving sleep patterns. It relieves pain and improves the quality of life for RA patients.
Biofeedback therapy is a method of using brainwave machines to train the brain to regulate itself. A typical biofeedback session lasts about 30 minutes and may include exercises designed to reduce stress levels or improve the quality of sleep and strengthen specific muscles.
Massage and Exercise
Regular massage and exercise help strengthen the muscles and increase blood circulation in affected joints, which means better mobility and less pain from arthritis. An individual should start with gentle exercises like walking or swimming, then gradually work up to more intense activities like running or biking.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Hot or cold pads placed on the affected area help reduce swelling and increase circulation in the joints. Cold therapy can be applied by wrapping ice packs on the hands or feet for 10 minutes every two hours.
Topical cream, Gel and Patches
Topical creams are an important part of the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the form of topical creams are often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. They work by reducing inflammation and pain.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Therapy, Deep Breathing and Meditation
Progressive muscle relaxation therapy involves tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in turn. It has been shown to reduce pain, stiffness, and morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It may also improve sleep quality for people with RA or improve mood for those who have depression due to their condition.
Tai chi involves slow, flowing movements and can be performed in both standing and seated positions. This also has been shown to improve joint pain, stiffness, and range of motion.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is found that curcumin was able to reduce the symptoms of RA and improve the quality of life in patients with the condition.
Visualisation or guided imagery is a well-known technique for the management of RA. The goal is to make the patients envision their pain receding slowly and being painless in the future.
Yoga has been shown to reduce pain and stiffness in people with arthritis, improve their range of motion, decrease joint swelling, increase flexibility, relax muscles, improve sleep quality, and boost mood and overall sense of well-being.
Magnets work by generating a magnetic field that penetrates the skin and interacts with the body's magnetic field. This interaction is thought to stimulate the release of pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins.
Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis with a combination of essential oils. The most common essential oils used are peppermint and lavender, but other oils can be used as well. This will help soothe the muscles and joints while also making the space smell amazing! If this is not possible for whatever reason then one can add some drops of essential oil into bath water or onto a hot compress.
Thunder God Vine
The thunder god vine works by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This action reduces inflammation and helps relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is usually taken in the form of a tablet or a capsule, and the dosage depends on the severity of the condition.
A Warning about Supplements in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
While supplements can be a great addition to any treatment plan, it's important to be aware of the potential risks involved. Before starting any supplement, it's important to talk to the doctor to make sure it's safe. Patients must present their medical history during the consultation. With the right precautions, supplements can be a helpful part of the rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan. But it's imperative to be informed and cautious to avoid any potential risks.
Can Vitamins Help in Rheumatoid Arthritis?
There is limited research on the role of vitamins in rheumatoid arthritis, but some experts believe that taking certain vitamins, such as B-12 or folic acid help to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms. However, there is not enough evidence to recommend specific vitamins or supplements for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Many things can help in managing rheumatoid arthritis. A good place to start is to talk to a physician about reducing the pain and swelling in the joints. Next, patients should ensure they get a good night's sleep so that their body is energised during the day. Additionally, they should not wear tight clothing or shoes as much as possible. Finally, patients should find other ways to exercise besides walking or riding a bike—such as swimming or yoga—because they will help keep the body active without putting too much stress on the joints.