April 11, 2008

Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis – Medication, Physiotherapy & Surgery

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disorder of joints that may result in destruction and deformities of the joints resulting in limitations in the motion. When the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis including pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness of the joints appear, immediately contact your doctor and opt for the treatment as early as possible to avoid future complications. The treatment for rheumatoid arthritis includes various options such as medications, exercise, self-care, physiotherapy and surgical options.

The first step in the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is use of medications to relieve the symptoms of this disease. The analgesics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective to reduce the pain and inflammation in the joints. Other medications used for the treatment of this disease are glucocorticoids or prednisone, disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, biologic response modifiers and protein-A immunoadsorption therapy. Physiotherapy includes some exercises to improve the flexibility and motion of the joints.

In some cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the above mentioned treatment options may not be useful and they may require some surgical options to remove the inflamed synovial tissues and to heal the affected joint. Some of the surgical procedures included in the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis are synovectomy, tendon repair, arthroscopic surgery, osteotomy, arthrodesis and total joint replacement surgery or arthroplasty.

Synovectomy or removal of the joint lining is performed if the joint lining or synovium is inflamed which results in the painful joint. This procedure decreases the pain and swelling of the joints and prevents further damage of the joints.

In arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon inserts a tiny tube having a light at its end through a small incision into the joint and examines the joint damage on the closed-circuit television connected to the instrument. Then the doctor takes the tissue samples from the damaged joint, repairs the tears in the joints, removes the loose cartilage, smoothes a rough surface and removes affected synovial tissue. This surgical procedure is generally performed on the joints of shoulder and knee.

Due to inflammation and damage of the joints, the tendons around the joints may get tightened or loosened. These tendons are repaired through the tendon repair surgery. Osteotomy is another surgical option that helps to increase the stability of joints due to redistribution of the weight on the joints. However, it is not often applied in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to this surgery, Arthrodesis is another option which involves the fusion of two bones. It causes the limitations of movements, increases the stability and reduces the pain in the joints of wrists, toes, ankles, spine and fingers.

Arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery is the replacement or surgical reconstruction of the joints. It is helpful for the people who may be in a wheelchair. This surgical procedure involves the relining and resurfacing of the ends of bones, removal of the joint and replacement of the joint with an artificial component. Generally, this procedure is recommended for the people over 50 years and having severe progression of the disease.