What Are Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation and pain.  This occurs when the immune system does not work properly.  Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the synovium, which is the lining of the joints.  Rheumatoid arthritis affects the ankles, knees, and hands.  Often times if it affects a joint on your left hand, it will affect the same joint on your right hand.  There are  also some cases where it affects other parts of the body.

Research to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) using drugs is ongoing.  However, there is no present cure for rheumatoid arthritis.  Doctors currently tell patients to do the following to help reduce their symptoms:

  • Get proper rest
  • Eat a wholesome diet
  • Stress control
  • Exercise

Over-the-counter medications and remedies may help relieve pain and decrease inflammation.  Medications can also help alleviate symptoms, stop damage, or help put RA in remission.

Below you will find 8 ways to help alleviate your RA pain.


Getting enough sleep is essential for everybody, but it is particularly crucial for those who have RA.  Try to get at least eight hours of sleep.  Getting proper rest can help with your RA symptoms.

If your sleep is being impacted because of stress, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and muscular relaxation exercises can help you unwind. Meditation, hypnosis, and massage can help alleviate anxiety and stress.

If you are dealing with insomnia, be sure that you speak to your doctor, but also try some of the smartphone apps that can assist you with getting to sleep quicker at night.


Exercise is a good way to fight fatigue, strengthen muscles, and increase range of movement.  Low impact exercise options are a good way to get in some exercise.  Examples of low impact exercises include: gentle stretching, swimming, walking in a pool, and water rowing.

One study showed that tai chi may improve function in people with RA.  Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that combines slow, gentle motions with consciousness and breathing. It moves the brain, body, and soul.

Topical Ointments

Topical lotions, gels, and creams may be rubbed directly onto the skin to help alleviate painful joints.  Since the skin absorbs these ointments, you might experience temporary relief of minor pain.  For the best results, look for products which include salicylates capsaicin, camphor, or menthol.

Some plant oils are considered to decrease pain and morning stiffness related to RA.  Evening primrose oil includes an essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid and is known to offer relief from RA pain.  Check with your doctor before you use plant oils, because some can harm your liver or interfere with medications. Side effects include nausea, nausea, gas, and headache.


Research has revealed that fish oil supplements can decrease pain and stiffness caused by RA.  Check with your doctor before incorporating fish oil nutritional supplements to your daily diet, since they may interfere with certain medications and increase the probability of bleeding or bruising. Some people complain of belching, nausea, and a bad taste in their mouth.

Heat and cold

Apply an ice pack to joints that are inflamed to help alleviate them. Cold may help pain and relax muscle spasms.

Consult your doctor or physical therapist on how to best use cold and heat therapy.


Aspirin or over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can offer temporary relief from pain and swelling. NSAIDs include naproxen and aspirin.

All prescription NSAIDs possess a warning that the medications might increase the chances of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or gut bleeding.  While these medications alleviate pain and distress, they do not alter the course of RA.

These following medications are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Hydroxychloroquine: Might take up to 3 weeks to take effect
  • Methotrexate: Enhances the immune system
  • Sulfasalazine: Suppresses the immune response
  • Minocycline: Used because of its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Oral corticosteroids: Rapid, short-term symptom relief

Orthopedic Supports

Splints, braces, and throat collars may stabilize and help inflamed joints.  Customized shoes or shoe inserts can offer aid for unstable joints at the ankle and foot.  Canes and crutches may make it easier for you to walk.


Surgery can help alleviate pain in RA patients by correcting deformities.  The most common operation for RA is complete joint replacement, such as shoulders, hips, and knees.  Surgery alleviates pressure and can also fix damage.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can change your entire life.  It impacts the way you do things on a daily basis.  Even though there is no cure, there are amazing treatments that can help you with your way of life.  If you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis then talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you.

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