Rheumatoid arthritis (RA for short), or chronic, polyarthritis, is one of the most serious forms of rheumatological disease and is associated with severe pain. Although a minority of cases may regress spontaneously, the condition of a larger proportion of patients tends to worsen slowly and steadily over time.
What causes rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-lasting inflammation of the joints, affecting several areas at once. It is three times more common in women than in men.
The exact cause of the disease is not known. Both hereditary and external factors may be involved. The presence of several factors increases the chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis – for example, environmental and lifestyle factors (such as smoking, contraceptive use, stress and certain infections) can combine with a predisposition at birth to develop the autoimmune disease.
To put it very simply, the autoimmune process means that your body’s defence system, which is supposed to neutralise and destroy pathogens and external substances, turns on itself due to some fault. In rheumatoid arthritis, the white blood cells function abnormally.
The layers of cells covering the joint are perceived as foreign material and “go to war” against them. Your body damages its own cells and tissues. The result of the “fight” is inflammation, the inner lining of the joint capsule becomes bloody, the joints and their surroundings swell, redden and become painful. If the condition persists, the inflammatory enzymes gradually destroy the cartilage and bones of the joint.
The “onset” of rheumatoid arthritis
- It may start slowly, gradually, with morning stiffness and painful swelling of the joints of the hand (symmetrically on both sides), with malaise and weight loss;
- It may start immediately with severe pain, fever, swelling of the wrist, knee, shoulder and ankle joints, in addition to the small joints of the hands and feet, and even with inflammation that makes it impossible to walk.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as you experience these symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis requires constant care
According to current medical science, rheumatoid arthritis has no cure, but with early diagnosis and timely treatment, you can keep the disease under control and maintain your quality of life. There are several ways to treat it at home.
In addition to medication prescribed by your doctor, it is important to exercise regularly, including exercising your joints thoroughly. Strive to maintain an ideal body weight, as excess weight puts extra strain on your joints and makes them worse.
When the inflammation is dormant, warm therapy and warm mud wraps, paraffin wraps are very helpful. The heat reduces pain and relaxes the joint ligaments and muscles.
For acute flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis, cooling relieves pain and muscle spasms.
Physiotherapy tools designed for home use:
Provides pain relief with electrical pulses. If the RA specifically affects the fingers and toes, TENS treatment is technically difficult because the fingers are too small to attach to the treatment electrodes. You can enhance the effectiveness with gloves and sock electrodes.
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- 2-channel TENS unit
- 12 programs
- Possibility to create own treatment program
- Records time and average intensity – so you know which settings were effective for you
Mainly helps to prevent muscle strength loss and muscle atrophy. The intense pain caused by RA flare-ups can force you to be inactive, causing muscles to atrophy and weaken quickly. Muscle stimulation can prevent this.
Is more powerful than TENS and is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory modalities, but while it is excellent for larger joints, it is cumbersome to apply to small joints.
Devices are pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory. After 10-15 treatments, you should avoid using them in the same area for several months.
Powerful pain relievers and effective anti-inflammatories. As they can be used long-term without side effects, soft laser devices are one of the best and most effective tools for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
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- Laser power class 3
- Pain relief for pain caused by arthritis, sciatica, lumbago, etc.
- 808 nanometer laser beam
- CW (continuous wave) laser
- 400 mW power
- 12.5 sec / 5 Joule