Rheumatoid Arthritis

The term “Arthritis” can apply to around 200 different conditions affecting the joints, surrounding tissues, and other connective tissues. The two most common forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Both forms of arthritis produce different symptoms and require different kinds of treatments.

Rheumatoid arthritis refers to an autoimmune disorder that causes the patient’s own immune system to attack the joint tissue lining. Eventually, this condition spreads across the joint and deforms it. Rheumatoid arthritis causes severe pain and swelling along with various other problems with the organs of the body. In the United States, rheumatoid arthritis affects nearly 1.5 million Americans. Rheumatoid arthritis also affects women 3 times more likely than men. Other forms of arthritis also include gout, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, cervical spondylosis, facet arthritis, fibromyalgia, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, septic arthritis, etc.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Swelling in the joint
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Redness of the skin around the joint
  • Loss of appetite because of the inflammation of the immune system
  • Weight loss
  • The same symptoms on both sides of the body
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

Patients with arthritis experience these symptoms usually in the morning. Severe rheumatoid arthritis in the hands also causes the joint deformity, leading to large, painful knuckles and thumb joints.

What are the causes of rheumatoid arthritis?

In rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your joints. Medical problems with your heart, lungs, nerves, eyes, and skin also may occur with rheumatoid arthritis.

Though what causes the process of rheumatoid arthritis may not be known, genetic components may play a factor.  While your genes don’t actually cause rheumatoid arthritis, they can make you more likely to react to environmental factors — such as infection with certain viruses and bacteria — that may trigger the disease.

What are some of the treatments for rheumatoid arthritis?

Epidural Steroid Injections

The steroidal medication injected into a painful joint space can help soothe pain in arthritic joints. Injecting corticosteroids into an arthritic joint will not provide permanent relief on its own,  it can dramatically reduce inflammation and pain. The effects can last anywhere between 1 week to 1 year. Injections for joint pain are usually one of the steps taken before resorting to surgery. In some patients, steroid injections can reduce pain to the point where patients are able to participate in Physical Therapy, which in turn can strengthen the surrounding muscles and eliminate the need for further treatment.

If you or a loved one suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, contact us. Let Nextgen Wellness give you the care you deserve.

Our mission is to help patients to return to work, improve their quality of life, reduce dependence on medication and healthcare providers, and avoid persistent injuries.

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