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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Feature:
Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Treatment and Causes

lady and therapist in pool

How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?

Doctors have many ways to treat this disease. The goals of treatment are to:

  • Take away pain
  • Reduce swelling
  • Slow down or stop joint damage
  • Help people feel better
  • Help people stay active

Treatment can include patient education, self-management programs, and support groups that help people learn about:

  • Treatments
  • How to exercise and relax
  • How to talk with their doctor
  • Problem solving

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

  1. What tests indicate I might have RA?
  2. Are there medicines that can help treat RA?
  3. Is joint-replacement surgery an option with RA?
  4. What lifestyle changes can I make to help reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
  5. May I exercise with RA?
  6. Are there complementary and alternative medicines that might help my RA?
woman cutting apple

What You Can Do: The Importance of Self-Care

Although healthcare professionals can prescribe or recommend treatments to help patients manage their rheumatoid arthritis, the real key to living well with the disease lies with the patients themselves. Research shows that people who take part in their own care report less pain and make fewer doctor visits. They also enjoy a better quality of life.

Self-management programs teach about rheumatoid arthritis and its treatments, exercise and relaxation approaches, communication between patients and health care providers, and problem solving. Research on these programs has shown that they help people:

  • understand the disease
  • reduce their pain while remaining active
  • cope physically, emotionally, and mentally
  • feel greater control over the disease and build a sense of confidence in the ability to function and lead full, active, and independent lives.
Read More "Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)" Articles

When Your Immune System Attacks Your Body / Treatment and Causes / Research / "You Are Not Alone."

Summer 2014 Issue: Volume 9 Number 2 Page 14