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Rheumatoid Arthritis | Symptoms & Treatments

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the membranes around your joints and causes painful inflammation. This swelling often leads to joint deformity and ultimately bone erosion.

How does Rheumatoid Arthritis occur? And what can be done to alleviate the pain it brings?


Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis, which occurs when the protective tissues in the joints wear down over time and with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the joints but can also affect the entire body, including the lungs and heart.

The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are:

  • Tender and warm, swollen joints. Rheumatoid arthritis often begins in the joints of the hands and feet. As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to other joints.
  • Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity.
  • Fatigue, fever and weight loss.


Although there is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, National Spine & Pain Centers can develop a pain-management plan that may include:

  • Non-prescription anti-inflammatories to address pain in the early stages of the disease or during flare-ups.
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain for several months.
  • Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, aquatherapy, biofeedback or massage.
  • Physical therapy to increase strength and flexibility in the affected joints.
  • Occupational therapy to learn skills that help you adapt to the limitations of the disease.

In addition, your rheumatologist may prescribe a special class of drugs designed to slow the progression of the disease and prevent further damage to your body’s joints and other tissues.

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