Which are the treatment methods available for rheumatoid arthritis?
Some of the treatment methods available for rheumatoid arthritis are medications, surgical intervention, physical exercises, sufficient rest, a healthy diet, etc.
A wide variety of drugs are available to treat the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Some medications help in relieving pain and stiffness. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are the first-line treatment for inflammation.
Methotrexate is one of the disease-modifying drugs and is most commonly used. Other drugs include leflunomide, azathioprine, hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine. These drugs suppress inflammatory activity and reduce the joint damage.
Newer drugs called biologics may be advised in conditions where DMARDs are ineffective in controlling the inflammatory activity. These include etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, certolizumab pegol, abatacept, golimumab, tocilizumab, rituximab, and tofacitinib.
Other drugs that are used in the treatment of flare-ups include analgesics such as paracetamol to reduce pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain as well as swelling and stiffness in the joints, and glucocorticoids as anti-inflammatory agents.
Other treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis include surgical intervention to replace painful, damaged joints. Certain lifestyle changes may be adopted to relieve the symptoms of arthritis and improve the range of motion of the damaged joints. Regular exercises that are joint-friendly can help in maintaining flexibility and strengthen the muscles to provide good support to the joints.
Maintenance of a healthy body weight, taking sufficient rest, eating healthy food, and avoiding smoking helps improve arthritis. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are best adjunctive treatments that help you regain your ability to perform routine activities with ease.