Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that forces your body’s immune system to attack your joints.
This in and of itself is ironic…especially since your immune system is supposed to protect you from any harmful bacteria and viruses.
Today, over a million and a half people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis…and that number is growing every year, especially in older Americans.
There are treatments available for rheumatoid arthritis, but before we get into that, it’s important to understand the symptoms and the factors of rheumatoid arthritis first.
How bad rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is in each person varies by the individual. For some people, symptoms can only last for a few hours, whereas for other people, it can be never ending.
The most obvious symptoms of RA are immense pain, fatigue, and swollen joints. Inflammation can also occur in the joints that lead to stiffness and a difficulty walking.
Currently, there is no cure for AR that we know of. Fortunately, the medicines and the treatments that are available for RA are designed to help make the symptoms less painful and to slow down the disease.
We’ll go over just a handful of the many different available treatments for dealing with RA that have proven successful with some people.
Something to keep in mind, however, is that just because one of these treatments have worked for other people doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you as well; therefore, you’ll want to try as many of these different treatments as possible until you find the right one that works for you
Treatments for RA
The first treatment that we’ll discuss is self-managing yourself. This means that even while you aren’t doing any of the following treatments that we’ll discuss, you still have to be conscientious of your RA and take good care of.
Stay active physically, eat a nutritious diet, get plenty of sleep, and taking plenty of medicine. Coping with RA can be immensely difficult, and even though medicine can help, it still can’t solve everything. What do you know about gold injections?
This is why many doctors recommend getting plenty of exercise as well. We’ll explore some of these treatment plans and others next.
Getting a fair share of exercise should be a no-brainer for anybody, with or without arthritis, if you want to stay physically fit. Generally, a half hour of exercise at the minimum and one hour at the most is best for most people.
But a patient with arthritis will be in a lot of pain by putting stress on your joints. It’s important to remain flexible, and exercise will help that in many ways that medicine never could.
In order to make sure that you have the will to put the time down to exercise, perform exercises that you enjoy.
If you like riding bikes, then ride bikes! If you like swimming, then swim! If you like running, then run! The benefits of getting plenty of exercise aren’t just physical; they are psychological as well.
Exercise can help a patient cope with depression and anxiety over having RA.
Even though getting plenty of exercise is important, physical therapy is another huge benefit of treating RA.
Physical therapy with the help and guidance of a professional physical therapist will strengthen the different body parts through the use of exercises, strengthening moves, heat, electrical stimulation, ice, and similar treatments.
Physical therapy differs from exercise in that exercise will help treat RA in the long term, while physical therapy is best for short term. For this reason, many patients choose to go with physical therapy before transitioning over to a full exercise program on their own.
Another viable option is mind body therapy, which as you can probably guess, tackles RA from the psychological aspect. Mind body therapy focuses on such exercises like yoga, meditation, relaxation, and breathing exercises that encourage the patient to focus on coping with the pain via the mind.
In other words, it’s one thing to take the physical steps to lessen the pain, but the mental aspect of it is an entirely different ball game.
However, the two also go hand in hand very well. As you use mind body therapies to improve your mood about your quality of life, your physical exercises can simultaneously help you deal with your chronic pain and the flexibility in your joints and limbs.
Many people may be wary at the thought of mind body therapy, and it is best done with the help of a counselor. A counselor will help their patients find the roots of their problem and encourage them to act and change their behavior.
It’s understandable if you are suffering from depression as a result of your RA; a counselor will help alleviate that stress from the mental side of things.
There are also many home remedies that you can try, and one of the best is to take a nice, long hot bath each nice to help sooth your joints and muscles.
You can also use a heating pad, or use cold treatments such as placing an ice pack on your sore limbs. You’ll be surprised how relieving simple home treatments like this can feel.
The last treatment for RA that we’ll talk about here is acupuncture. Acupuncture as a treatment for stimulating points in the body stretches back for centuries. It is where very, very thin needles are inserted into the body for several minutes at critical points.
Those who practice acupuncture believe that it allows a life force to flow through the body. More scientifically minded proponents of it argue that it endorphins in the body, which are essentially feel good hormones and relieve pain in the affected areas.
Acupuncture is a controversial treatment for RA, as it has been shown to work for many people but also to not work for many, if not more, others. At the very least, you can give it a try and see if it works for you.