Treating Your Rheumatoid Arthritis: Options For You
When you go to your doctor due to chronic and worsening joint pain, you may not expect to come back with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. However, if this is what happens when you head to the doctor, your next logical step is to figure out what rheumatology treatments are available for your condition and which of these treatment options will work best for you. Get to know some of your treatment options so that you can get your arthritis pain under control and get back to feeling like your vibrant and active self once again.
Treatment with Medications
The conventional medical treatments for rheumatoid arthritis start with the use of pain medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, to treat both pain and inflammation that are caused by the disease. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are type of medication used most often. These drugs, such as ibuprofen, are prescribed both in over-the-counter and prescription form and can make a large difference in the amount of pain a person experiences from arthritis.
However, NSAIDs can adversely affect a person's liver and kidneys if taken too frequently or in high doses. Because of this, other drugs that treat the root causes of rheumatoid arthritis rather than just the symptoms may also be used. Corticosteroids target inflammation in tissues and joints in the body and can be taken orally or through injections at your doctor's office.
Another type of drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis is known as DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs). The drugs in this category are meant to actually slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis while also relieving the associated symptoms in the process. Because rheumatoid arthritis destroys the joints and their flexibility, these drugs can make a major difference in a person's quality of life and the length of time they can maintain that quality of life.
Alternative medicine also offers treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture may be able to help with the discomfort, inflammation, and stiffness associated with this condition. The idea behind acupuncture is that the body is made up of energies that flow from one area of the body to another to maintain proper function and health.
When the energy flow from one supportive area of the body to another is blocked or disrupted in any way, the results are disease, pain, and various other negative health conditions. An acupuncturist will identify the areas that are blocked based on a person's medical conditions and symptoms, and will insert tiny needles in acupuncture points associated with those areas to stimulate energy to flow freely again.
For rheumatoid arthritis, this can include points in the hands, torso, and legs. They may also attempt to promote overall calm, relaxation, and stress relief by using acupuncture points in the head and neck.
Now that you know more about a few of the treatment options for your rheumatoid arthritis, you can get started in your treatments and improve your quality of life as soon as possible.