Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis include medications, reduction of joint stress, physical and occupational therapy, and surgical intervention. RA can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages. This is because the early signs and symptoms mimic those of many other diseases. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. However, clinical studies indicate that remission of symptoms is more likely when treatments begin early with medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
Types of treatments
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories – can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Steroids – reduce inflammation and pain, as well as slow joint damage.
- Conventional DMARDs – can slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, therefore saving the joints and other tissues from permanent damage.
- Biologic agents – genetically engineered proteins that zero in on specific parts that control the inflammation process.
- Targeted synthetic DMARDs – target specific parts that control the inflammation process; however, only used if conventional DMARDs and biologics haven’t been effective.
- Stretching – Exercises can improve flexibility and improve physical function.
- Physical therapy – Restores muscle strength and function through exercise.
- Physical therapist
- Primary Care Provider (PCP)
- Synovectomy – Surgery to remove the inflamed lining of the joint; as a result, it can help reduce pain and improve the joint’s movement.
- Tendon repair – Inflammation and joint damage may cause tendons around your joint to loosen or rupture. However, your surgeon may be able to repair the tendons around your joint.
- Joint fusion – Fusing a joint may be recommended to stabilize or realign a joint. Additionally, it may help with pain relief when a joint replacement isn’t an option.
- Total joint replacement – During joint replacement surgery, your surgeon removes the damaged parts of your joint and inserts a prosthesis made of metal and plastic.
- Arthrocentesis – Using a syringe to collect fluid around a joint. Also called joint aspiration.
- Apply heat or cold – Heat can help ease your pain. Therefore helps to relax tense and painful muscles. On the other hand, the cold may dull the sensation of pain. Similarly, the cold also has a numbing effect and can reduce swelling.
- Relax. Find ways to cope with pain by reducing stress in your life. For example, techniques such as guided imagery, deep breathing and muscle relaxation can all be used to control pain.