Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

By Andrew Heideman PT/ATC

Treatment of RA

At present, there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Fortunately, treatment options have increased greatly in the past 30 years. Medications aid in reducing inflammation in the joints in order to relieve pain and reduce the damage done to the joint over time. Both physical and occupational therapy can be utilized to teach patients how to protect their joints and live with their condition. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.

Common medications used to fight RA include:

  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): These can help reduce inflammation as well as relieve pain. Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
  • Steroids: These are typically only prescribed to relieve acute symptoms in patients with a plan to gradually wean them off the medication. A common name for corticosteroid medications is prednisone, which is also designed to reduce inflammation and pain while slowing joint damage. Read more about injections for pain management.
  • DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs): These medications can slow the onset of RA in order to save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Common names for DMARDs include methotrexate, leflunomide, hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine.
  • Biologic Agents: These work by targeting parts of the immune system that trigger inflammation that causes joint and tissue damage due to RA. These are most effective when paired with a DMARD.
  • Consult with your physician about other medications which may help you manage your RA.

Other treatment options offered by JOI include:

  • Paraffin Bath: Our occupational therapists use a paraffin bath to relieve pain from arthritis.
  • Acupuncture: Although not typically covered by insurance, acupuncture is a treatment alternative offered at our San Marco and South offices to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Surgery: As mentioned earlier, surgery may be recommended by your physician if medications and therapy fail to slow joint damage. JOI has a team of highly trained orthopedic physicians with state of the art technology to help you no matter what your needs are. Call us today at JOI-2000 to schedule an appointment if you suspect you have rheumatoid arthritis in Jacksonville, Florida. Some options include:
  • Arthroscopy: Cases of mild arthritis may be treated by arthroscopy. Although the procedure provides some relief from the pain, it will not eliminate arthritis from the joint. If there is any progression, additional surgery may be needed in the future.
  • Shoulder Replacement: A Shoulder replacement may be used as a treatment option when arthritis has progressed so far that motion is severely limited and pain prevents a patient from performing daily activities.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

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