- Rheumatoid Arthritis Slideshow Pictures
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- Take the RA Quiz
- Patient Comments: Arthritis - Effective Treatments
- Patient Comments: Arthritis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Arthritis - Diet and Fish Oil
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
- Arthritis facts
- What is arthritis?
- How many types of arthritis exist?
- What causes arthritis?
- What are risk factors for arthritis?
- What are arthritis symptoms and signs?
- Who is affected by arthritis?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose arthritis? Why is a diagnosis important?
- Is there an arthritis diet?
- Are there foods to avoid when you have arthritis?
- What is the treatment for arthritis?
- What are the prognosis (outlook) for arthritis, and what are arthritis complications?
- Is it possible to prevent arthritis?
- What is a rheumatologist, and what specialties of doctors treat arthritis?
- What is the Arthritis Foundation?
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
What is the treatment for arthritis?
The treatment of arthritis is very dependent on the precise type of arthritis present. An accurate diagnosis increases the chances for successful treatment. Treatments available include physical therapy, home remedies, splinting, cold-pack application, paraffin wax dips, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medications (ranging from acetaminophen [Tylenol] and ibuprofen [Motrin, Advil] to narcotics), immune-altering medications, biologic medications, and surgical operations. Pain from osteoarthritis of the knee can be relieved by hyaluronic acid injections. Rheumatoid arthritis can require medications that suppress the immune system. Low back arthritis that is irritating nerves of the spine can require surgical repair. For more on treatments of particular forms of arthritis, see the corresponding articles for the form of arthritis of interest.
What are the prognosis (outlook) for arthritis, and what are arthritis complications?
The outlook for patients with arthritis depends on its severity, complications, and whether or not there are non-joint manifestations of the disease. For example, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the lungs, kidneys, eyes, etc. Chronic joint inflammation can lead to permanent damage to the joint and loss of joint function, making movement difficult or impossible.
Is it possible to prevent arthritis?
Since most forms of arthritis are inherited to some degree, there is no real way to prevent them. Arthritis that follows joint injury could be prevented by adhering to safety regulations and trying to avoid becoming injured. Arthritis related to infection (for examples, septic arthritis, reactive arthritis, Whipple's disease) could be prevented by not becoming infected with the causative organism. The extent to which this is possible varies depending upon the individual condition.