About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, it is a condition that occurs when the immune system is overly sensitized and out of control. Instead of protecting the body, the immune system starts attacking the joints causing inflammation. It typically affects the small finger joints, wrists, knees and toes.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
It is not known what triggers the immune system to attack healthy body tissue. However, some possible risk factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis are as follows:
- Middle Age
- Genetic family history
Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Knee Pain and Swelling
A Message About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may present very similar to osteoarthritis (OA), both of which affect joint pain and disability. While RA usually affects small joints, it can also present in isolation as a painful swollen knee. RA pain is not activity related. The pain is independent of movement or stress loading on the joints. The pain is usually not dynamic but constant throughout the day. Morning stiffness may improve through the day, but there will be residual stiffness in the joints. OA on the other hand is often related to the use of joints, standing and walking. The diagnosis of RA often hinged upon certain blood biomarkers eg. ESR, CRP, RA factors, ANA and anti-ds DNA. Radiologic findings are similar between RA and OA, both having joint disease changes, making it difficult to differentiate one from the other.
RA pain does not improve with rest or avoidance of use or activity. It is destructive in nature without a trigger. The immune system attacks the joints causing inflammation and deformity. Apart from simple analgesics, steroids and specific (chemotherapeutic) drugs are needed to control and suppress the overactive immune system. There will be a need for long-term care for RA, with a small percentage of them reaching a “burnt out” stage of remission.
The implication of RA on other organ systems makes it necessary for routine evaluation of the heart, lungs, gastrointestinal and kidneys.
Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis
Here at Singapore Paincare, our team of experienced primary care physicians and pain care specialists together with a rheumatologist will evaluate your condition. This includes a physical exam, questions about your symptoms and an evaluation of your medical history. Blood tests and other laboratory tests may also be needed to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Patients with the condition are likely to possess a protein named rheumatoid factor or certain antibodies.
What Treatments Are Available for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis has no known cure but there are methods to manage the condition. At Singapore Paincare, we strive to treat your pain with the least invasive option possible after accurately identifying the cause. Our approach to pain resolution focuses on targeting the root of your pain via specialised injection and minimally invasive procedures. Combined with pharmacological treatments and cognitive and physical rehabilitative therapies, we help patients improve functions and prevent pain from recurring.
Non-Surgical Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
In general, glucosamine may have some effect on 60% of patients with knee arthritis.
Our doctors will prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) which have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
Another newly developed class of medication known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are also used to manage the condition. Some of these drugs are also known as biologics drugs (e.g. tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors).
Surgical Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Surgery is the last option of treatment for intractable painful Rheumatoid Arthritis, this is only done after careful consideration to see if you are suitable for the procedure. Regardless, surgeries always come with associated risks, complications and downtime – they may not be suitable for everyone.
How Can I Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Although there is no known way to prevent RA entirely, certain behaviours can delay disease onset and minimize its impact on your quality of life.
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol
- Eat healthy, especially foods that are rich in calcium and Vitamin D
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay active
- Ensure good oral health
Get Your Pain Resolved
Send your enquiries or consult our pain experts today.