Top Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Researchers have yet to find the cause and cure for rheumatoid arthritis, and those living with this autoimmune disease can manage their pain and symptoms with medication, surgery and by making certain lifestyle changes. Rheumatoid arthritis can be a very painful, debilitating and even frustrating condition to deal with. Many sufferers need to make frequent doctor visits and can benefit from seeing a psychotherapist to handle feelings of depression and improve their mental health.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, talk to your physician about different treatment options and therapies that will help you manage your symptoms effectively.

Medication for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Many doctors can prescribe certain types of drugs to manage the disease’s side effects and symptoms. You may need different types of drugs as your disease progresses, so it will be important to get regular checkups and keep up with your doctor visits. Some of the most effective medications for rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Both prescription and over-the-counter NSAIDs can help to manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and prevent joint and tissue damage.
  • Steroids, including prednisone and Medrol that can also slow down joint damage and reduce inflammation.
  • Immunosuppressants to keep the immune system under control.
  • TNF-alpha inhibitors to manage morning stiffness and reduce swelling in the joints.
  • Kineret, Rituxan and other drugs that can reduce the amount of inflammatory substances your body produces.

Surgery and Therapy for Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis

If your arthritis is very severe, you may need surgery to repair your damaged joints. Some of the most common types of surgery for those with rheumatoid arthritis, include:

  • Total joint replacement
  • Tendon repair
  • Joint fusion
  • Removal of the joint lining

All of these procedures can help to restore your ability to use your joints so that you can perform your daily tasks with ease.

You can also work with an occupational therapist to learn how to use move your body and perform day-to-day tasks without putting too much pressure and stress on your tender joints. Occupational therapy can help to reduce pain, and may even strengthen your joints and muscles.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis

You can make several lifestyle changes to keep the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis under control. Eating a diet that reduces inflammation will help ward off a lot of the pain and swelling you experience on a daily basis. Health experts recommend eating a low-sugar diet that contains an abundance of whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein. High-fiber foods can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Other lifestyle changes that can help to manage rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Exercising and stretching regularly
  • Using hot and cold compresses
  • Using guided imagery and deep breathing techniques to relax naturally
  • Avoiding over-exercising and exercising on tender or inflamed joints
  • Getting enough rest so that the body can recover and restore itself

Your physician can recommend a treatment plan that will address your chronic pain and will prescribe medications that will improve your quality of life. Even though rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, there are several ways to manage and control the symptoms of this debilitating disease.