When you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), your immune system mistakenly attacks tissues in your body. It eats away at the lining of your joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Over time, especially without treatment, you can develop deformities.
Thankfully, there are effective ways to manage RA and lead a full, enjoyable life. And we’re here to help.
Our expert team at Houston Pain Specialists, led by board-certified pain management specialist Hui Kang, MD, diagnoses and treats RA to improve your well-being and keep it from affecting your organs.
Routinely engaging in doctor-approved exercise can go a long way toward managing joint stiffness and pain when you have RA. Staying active can also help keep your body flexible, lowering your risk for falls and injuries, and improve your energy levels and sleep quality.
Depending on the specifics of your condition, our team may recommend:
- Hand exercises
- Yoga or tai chi
Relaxation and stress management
Living with rheumatoid arthritis can feel stressful at times. On top of that, stress may make your symptoms worse.
To manage RA-related stress and keep your pain from worsening, learn ways to relax. Engage in breathing or visualization exercises, for example, or set aside time each day for meditation.
Listening to relaxing music and reaching out to loved ones or a therapist for emotional support can also help.
Medications and injections
A variety of medications and injections can help reduce your RA symptoms and lower your risk of intense flare-ups or complications.
Your personalized treatment plan at Houston Pain Specialists may include anti-inflammatory medications, oral steroids, and steroid or facet injections.
We can provide facet joint injections for RA pain in your neck, upper and lower back, and spine. Through a minimally invasive procedure, we use a real-time imaging test, such as an X-ray, to guide the needle into the appropriate joint.
You may also benefit from injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid (HA) in other painful areas, such as your hips, knees or shoulders. While corticosteroids contain numbing agents, HA helps lubricate your joints to reduce stiffness.
Physical therapy aims to help you better engage in movement, from walking around your neighborhood or playing a sport to climbing stairs and getting into and out of your bed.
Other ways physical therapy can help your RA symptoms include:
- Restoring use of your affected joints
- Increasing your strength
- Maintaining general fitness
- Preserving your ability to go about your daily life with ease
Occupational therapy for rheumatoid arthritis helps you adapt to physical changes so that you can complete your daily activities with ease.
In particular, occupational therapy can help you learn to better:
- Bathe and get dressed
- Perform chores, like cooking and cleaning
- Participate in your favorite hobbies
While you manage your rheumatoid arthritis, our team at Houston Pain Specialists can help you stay on track, deal with any new challenges, and recommend changes to your treatment plan when needed.
To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis or to get the support you need, contact our Houston, Texas, office today to schedule an appointment.