Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a serious condition that can severely limit your range of motion, and lead to even greater complications. It’s a disorder that causes your own immune system to attack bodily tissues even when they’re healthy, and thus affects not only the joints, but the eyes, heart, lungs, blood, and nerves as well.
RA is chronic and it can worsen over time. The complications you may have from it can greatly affect your daily living activities, limiting your ability to ambulate as well as rest comfortably. Many patients also find that their relationships with significant others become stressed, as it can be difficult for others to understand the pain associated with RA, and the limited ability to enjoy outings and social gatherings as a result.
Here are five key things that one needs to know about rheumatoid arthritis, whether you or a loved one is suffering from this pernicious arthritic condition:
1. What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis vs regular arthritis? Most people you know, especially the elderly, may be suffering from arthritis. This is normal, and is typically caused by the wearing down of the joints due to overuse or old age. Rheumatoid arthritis, however is not age-specific. It is an autoimmune disease that targets healthy tissues and muscles in the body, regardless of age or use.
2. These are the symptoms you should pay attention to if you have rheumatoid arthritis. If you’re suffering from RA or suspect you are, never, ever ignore these symptoms: chest pain, tingling in some parts of your body, being unable to move your hand or foot, red or black spots in your fingernails, stomach problems, fever, energy loss, and bone fracture. There symptoms are telling you to go to the doctor ASAP; ignoring them may lead to lost fingers, ulcers, heart failure, or even paralysis.
3. Rheumatoid arthritis has no cure. Unfortunately, RA is not curable. When you go for treatment, it will be to address the symptoms. A doctor, for example, will prescribe medications to help with the pain from inflamed joints. In severe cases, surgery may even be mandated.
4. Make chiropractic care part of your treatment plan. If you don’t want the side effects and the risk of addiction that comes with taking medications for a long time, it is smart to include chiropractic care in your routine. It’s the chiropractor’s job to help you manage pain without pills, using a number of strategies and methods such as spinal manipulation, ultrasound, TENS, hot/cold compress, as well as nutritional counseling, and stretching exercises.
5. Dealing with rheumatoid arthritis is best done as a team. With all its complications, you need to interact with so many professionals who can help you deal with your illness. Aside from the chiropractor and your rheumatologist, the specialist that can monitor your disease and decide on the treatment plan, you should also go to an occupational therapist and a psychologist. They can help you once your condition progresses.
Hopefully, with all these professionals, especially the chiropractor who can help you deal with the pain, you will learn that while rheumatoid arthritis has become part of your life, it isn’t your whole life. There’s still a whole world out there that you can enjoy.