Don't have an account? To participate in discussions consider signing up or signing in
facebook connect
Sign-up, its free! Close [x]

Benefits

  • okay Create lasting relationships with other like minded women.
  • okay Blogging, let your voice be heard!
  • okay Interact with other women through blogs,questions and groups.
  • okay Photo Album, upload your most recent vacation pictures.
  • okay Contests, Free weekly prize drawing.
  • okay Weekly Newsletter.


According to the Arthritis Foundation, Rheumatoid Arthritis affects 1.3 million Americans. Although there are several theories, so far, the cause of RA is still unknown. In addition, there is no cure to date, but it is getting easier to control RA through the use of remedies, exercise, and joint protection techniques. Advancements in research and improved Rheumatoid Arthritis pain relief options mean that more people with RA are living happier and healthier lives.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It occurs when the immune system, which normally defends the body from invading organisms, turns its attack against the membrane lining the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern, meaning that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one also is. The disease often affects the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand. It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints. In addition, people with rheumatoid arthritis may have fatigue, occasional fevers, and a general sense of not feeling well.

Features of Rheumatoid Arthritis
•Tender, warm, swollen joints
•Symmetrical pattern of affected joints
•Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand
•Joint inflammation sometimes affecting other joints, including the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet
•Fatigue, occasional fevers, a general sense of not feeling well
•Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest
•Symptoms that last for many years
•Variability of symptoms among people with the disease

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Scientists still do not know exactly what causes the immune system to turn against itself in rheumatoid arthritis, but research over the last few years has begun to piece together the factors involved.

Genetic factors: Scientists have discovered that certain genes known to play a role in the immune system are associated with a tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis.  Some people who have these particular genes never develop the disease. So, although a person's genetic makeup plays an important role in determining if he or she will develop rheumatoid arthritis, it is not the only factor.  

Environmental factors: Many scientists think that something must occur to trigger the disease process in people whose genetic makeup makes them susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis. A viral or bacterial infection appears likely, but the exact agent is not yet known.  

Hormonal factors: Some scientists also think that a variety of hormonal factors may be involved. Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men. The disease may improve during pregnancy and flare after pregnancy. Breastfeeding may also aggravate the disease. Contraceptive use may alter a person's likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis. This suggests hormones, or possibly deficiencies or changes in certain hormones, may promote the development of rheumatoid arthritis in a genetically susceptible person who has been exposed to a triggering agent from the environment.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief Treatments

Doctors use a variety of approaches for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief. These are used in different combinations and at different times during the course of the disease and are chosen according to the patient's individual situation.  

Goals of Treatment
•Relieve pain
•Reduce inflammation
•Slow down or stop joint damage
•Improve a person’s sense of well-being and ability to function.

Health behavior changes: Certain activities can help improve a person's ability to function independently and maintain a positive outlook.
•Rest and exercise: People with rheumatoid arthritis need a good balance between rest and exercise, with more rest when the disease is active and more exercise when it is not.
•Joint care: Some people find using a splint for a short time around a painful joint reduces pain and swelling by supporting the joint and letting it rest.
•Stress reduction: Although there is no evidence that stress plays a role in causing rheumatoid arthritis, it can make living with the disease difficult at times. Stress also may affect the amount of pain a person feels.
•Healthful diet: With the exception of several specific types of oils, there is no scientific evidence that any specific food or nutrient helps or harms people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, an overall nutritious diet with enough—but not an excess of—calories, protein, and calcium is important.
•Alternative and complementary therapies: Special diets, vitamin supplements, and other alternative approaches have been suggested for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Research shows that some of these, for example, fish oil supplements, may help reduce arthritis inflammation. Flexcin with cetyl myristoleate (CM8) can do wonders for arthritis and joints as it can reverse the damage caused by arthritis. Acting like a WD-40-like lubricant for joints, CM8 can promote optimal joint health by helping to stimulate the lubricating fluid in the joints, support stronger cartilage and increase total mobility.  

As with any therapy, patients should discuss the benefits and drawbacks with their doctors before beginning a new type of therapy. If the doctor feels the approach has value, it can be incorporated into a patient's treatment plan.  

Portions of this article were taken from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website.




Member Comments