What You Need to Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis

What You Need to Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis

October 25, 2019 / Daniel J. Kraus, D.C.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, autoimmune condition that occurs when the body’s natural defense system incorrectly attacks your joints. It’s a common cause of reported knee arthritis cases, affecting the life quality of almost two million Americans. Terrapin Care Center, your one-stop pain management clinic, discuss this problem in detail.

 

Causes and Risk Factors

The reason behind the faulty immune system associated with rheumatoid arthritis is still unexplained. That said, researchers believe that a certain gene, the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope, may increase your risk of developing this condition since it’s related to immune responses. Obese women and those who are constantly under stress are also more likely to have this problem. Previous viral or bacterial infections, cigarette smoking and air pollution are common risk factors as well.

Typical Manifestations

Your immune system can mistakenly release enzymes that cause inflammation of your joints and surrounding tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, you may not notice any changes or difficulties at first. As the condition progresses, the affected areas may gradually swell, causing you great discomfort. Most of the time, you also feel joint stiffness, especially in the morning after waking up. Like other inflammatory conditions, treating arthritis pain is best done as early as possible. If you experience any of these symptoms, we suggest visiting your go-to pain management center immediately.

Our Recommended Management

We’ll first perform a physical examination and analyze your joints. We’ll also check for signs of inflammation, like redness, swelling, warmth and pain. We’ll then evaluate to what extent the condition has affected your movement and flexibility. We may also have you undergo some laboratory procedures and imaging procedures, assessing any erosion or damage to your bones and joints.

We’ll then create a management plan to relieve your symptoms, prevent progression of the disease and maintain your overall health. Apart from anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy is also an effective pain relief for arthritis. This involves performing manual manipulations and other exercises to strengthen your bones and joints. Our cryotherapy and massage therapy are also effective at reducing joint swelling for your improved comfort and mobility.

For more information about rheumatoid arthritis and our pain management services, call us at (301) 220-1930, or complete our form. We serve Greenbelt, College Park and surrounding MD areas.