Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

by Nancy

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that affects the joints of the body, especially the hands and knees. It occurs because of an uncontrolled inflammatory response from a malfunctioning immune system. Usually, inflammation occurs whenever a person is injured or bacteria or viruses have entered the body.

After the body heals, the inflammation will stop though. However, if a person has an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the body will begin attacking the healthy tissue in the joints instead of trying to heal them. Luckily, there are several treatment options that can help fight this condition. One treatment option that helps arthritis is certain food options.

6 Foods That Help Ease Arthritis Pain

  • Broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts: These vegetables are packed full of a compound called sulforaphane which has been known to slow cartilage damage in the body’s joints caused by arthritis. Vegetables are always a good choice for a healthy diet, but it’s recommended for treating arthritis specifically because of these benefits.
  • Fatty Fish: Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help the body fight inflammation. It’s recommended that people who are suffering from arthritis pains eat fatty fish a couple of times a week for the inflammatory benefits. If you’re not a huge fan of fish, try taking an omega-3 supplement instead.
  • Tart Cherries: The ingredients in cherries have been proven to help alleviate arthritis pains in some people. This is because of the red color in cherries, known as anthocyanin. Cherry juices can also help with joint stiffness.
  • Turmeric: This is obviously a spice and not a food, but it has maybe the most research done for how it helps people with arthritis. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which has been connected to the easing of joint pain.
  • Garlic: Garlic contains a compound called diallyl disulfide which has been linked to alleviating joint pain caused from arthritis. This happens because garlic limits the cartilage-damaging enzymes.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C has been proven to slow the progression of arthritis. Vitamin C supplements can also help, and they have been shown to make a person less likely to develop arthritis in the knees.

Anti-inflammatory Agents

Anti-inflammatory agents are helpful for treating RA because they minimize the inflammation in the body that is attacking the joints. This will reduce some of the symptoms of swelling, pain, and stiffness that people with this condition frequently have. Two of the most common anti-inflammatory agents that doctors prescribe for RA are ibuprofen and sulfasalazine.

Immune System Suppressors

In order to stop the uncontrolled inflammation, doctors sometimes prescribe immune system suppressors to their patients with RA. Some of the best ones are anakinra, tocilizumab, and azathioprine. Interestingly enough, each of these types of medicine has a wide range of benefits besides helping to treat RA, such as the prevention of organ rejection after a transplant and reducing the damage from ulcerative colitis.


Prednisolone, cortisone, or methylprednisolone are all effective steroids that aid in helping the body to repair the joint damage from RA. They can minimize the body’s immune system response too.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often the best medicine for people who have RA. It works by using gentle movements and stretches to increase a person’s flexibility and muscle strength over time. This, in turn, can often help with mobility issues and reduce the joint deformities that this condition frequently causes. In order for physical therapy to be the most effective, it has to be done several times a week though.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists can help RA patients by teaching them ways to use modified equipment to be able to complete their day-to-day tasks. This is crucial for people who have become wheelchair-bound because the condition has damaged their knees so badly. But it can also be helpful for those who are suffering from severe hand deformities that are making eating or dressing themselves more difficult.

Surgical Repair of Joints

If the joint damage that is caused by RA becomes too severe, doctors may have to use a surgical approach to treat a person. The type of surgical procedure that is done will depend on where the joint damage is located and whether or not any of the surrounding tissue is salvageable. For example, some people may need artificial joints implanted while others may be able to have a simple procedure that repairs and cleans up the affected region of the body.

This is just a short list of some of the most common medical treatments used for patients who have RA. While each of them has numerous beneficial properties, each person’s individual health condition is unique. So those who are interested in trying any of the medications or therapies should be sure to talk to their doctor about them to see which ones may be right for them.