By: Samantha deCastro
Whereas Osteoarthritis is a mechanical issue, this kind of arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease. We see symmetrical joint pain and swelling as the disease progresses.
We are still learning about Rheumatoid Arthritis, trying to understand how genetics, environment, hormones, and infection can call play a role in the triggering of it. Early stages are difficult to diagnose, and later on the inflammation becomes hard to control and causes cartilage and bone destruction.
Woman are much more likely to receive this diagnosis (3:1 ratio), and it typically gets diagnosed between 35 and 50 years of age. Symmetrical joints being affected is a key finding.
Early in Rheumatoid Arthritis, the membrane of the joint becomes thickened and inflames, and some erosion of the cartilage begins. Moderate RA sees Pannus formation (membrane that erodes and replaces cartilage), deformity starts to become visible. When the disease becomes advances, there is notable deformity of the joint, and the destruction can be seen on x-ray.
There is no cure for RA at this time. But therapy can help with prolonging the ability to function.
Early intervention shows the most promising results, with the goals beginning to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, slow destruction and maintain function.
- Massage therapy: relaxation, trigger point work, muscle release
- Adjustments: gentle mobilizing of joints to maintain mobility
- Diet: Look into supplementation of Omega-3, pantothenate acid, and calcium. Food allergy testing may be beneficial to address inflammation.
- Medication: There are many medications that can be diagnosed for RA, discuss with your rheumatologist
- Surgery: Can be an option if there is severe joint restriction
- Rehabilitation Exercise: Focus on general condition, water exercises, occupational therapy and possible assistive devices if needed.
The prognosis for this condition is less bleak then it once was. Early detection and ongoing advancements in treatment and medicine continue to prolong the function of patients with this disease.
Team care can include a rheumatologist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, nutritionist, acupuncturist, massage therapist, and psychologist. If you are looking for an addition to your care team for Rheumatoid Arthritis, gives us a call at 1-855-225-5692 and we can begin to support you.