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Rheumatoid Arthritis : Symptoms and Physiotherapy Treatments

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the joints that causes pain and reduced movement in the joints. It is often a result of the articular surface (lining) and synovium (fluid-filled sac covering the joint's surface) becoming inflamed causing pain and discomfort.

An autoimmune condition is when the immune system of the body mistakes certain parts and functions of the body as threats and begins to reduce the threat, resulting in a negative impact on the body's functions.

Rheumatoid Arthritis can be painful and worsen with time if not treated at the right time. Often it can be controlled with medication under constant monitoring. Physiotherapy is a very effective method of treating Rheumatoid Arthritis as it improves body functions and assists in the reduction of pain and swelling.

At Physio Tattva, we offer a comprehensive treatment plan that helps manage the condition.

Read on to find out more about it.

Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are several signs to look out for during the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis. While some of them are more common, they can vary with time and the individual. But, some of the most common symptoms are pain in the joints and muscles around the joint, swelling in certain joints, and redness.

Other symptoms include heat within the joints, pain while trying to move joints and certain parts of the muscle around the joints. Tiredness, difficulty to perform everyday functions, and reduced mobility can also be signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Morning stiffness in joints and muscles can often last longer than 30 minutes making waking up and getting out of bed difficult and painful. Generally, hips, shoulders, wrists, ankles, and knees are common areas affected. All these symptoms should be persistent for more than 6 weeks to be diagnosed as Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Symptoms of having trigger fingers, and swelling in joints are also signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

What Standards do Doctors Use to Diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis?

It is advisable that these symptoms be shown to a Rheumatologist, who specializes in understanding arthritis. They can offer treatment and diagnosis that will help treat the condition and manage it well.

One of the first sets of diagnoses is to conduct a physical examination, where they may ask the individual to perform simple tasks such as flexion and extension of the joints and understand the condition.

This can be followed with an x-ray and a series of scans to locate any other form of injury or to visualize the intensity of the condition.

A series of blood tests that help understand protein levels, tests on C-reactive protein with the possibility of it being high and Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, can be combined with the Rheumatoid Arthritis physical examination results to diagnose the condition.

Keeping Physically Active can Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Physical activities are important to reduce the intensity of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It allows the body to engage in movement with ease and reduces the risk of inflammation, morning stiffness, and pain in the joints.

Exercises such as walking, stretching, and flexibility exercises can help increase mobility and reduce inflammation as it creates movement. It also prevents the joints from stiffening. Physical activities while walking up as a simple stretch of the neck, shoulder, and legs can also reduce morning stiffness and improve mobility.

Besides these activities such as swimming, massages, hydrotherapy, and hot and cold treatment on joints can reduce inflammation, improve posture, reduce stress on the joints, and contribute to the better management of Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

It is important to reduce a sedentary lifestyle and engage in physical activities.

How Rheumatoid Differ in Women

It is important to understand that women are affected differently than men. While medical conditions can be one reason, they can be amplified due to gendered roles, and social, cultural, and economic factors. It, therefore, impacts women not just in physical terms, but can make accessing healthcare more difficult due to the above reasons.

In medical cases, women are more prone to have an impact on their hips and wrists, due to the extensive workload they manage that involves domestic labor among many other things. 

It is also noted that hormones play a role in the intensity and onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis in women as they age and estrogen plays an important role in it.

Studies are trying to understand the impact of estrogen and other hormones in the management of inflammation, age, and other factors.

Medical conditions that increase the risk of weight gain also increase stress on the joints and may result in joint pain and cause an onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis or other forms of arthritis.

Access to medical care is more difficult for women due to concerns such as travel, transport, and financial freedom - all resulting in delays in access to care and treatment for women.

How does Physiotherapy help with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Physiotherapy is an effective Rheumatoid Arthritis management treatment. It aims at improving quality of life and allows the individual to carry out their daily activities without difficulty. 

Flexibility and mobility exercises help reduce inflammation and improve body movement in the individual. This can help manage pain and the individual can go about their activities without much support.

Strengthening exercise for joints, wrists, and shoulders can also help increase muscle strength and reduce the risk of injury to the muscle and provide strength to the joints. This can allow steady growth in strength and functioning in the region.

Physiotherapy can help reduce pain and inflammation through hot and cold therapy. This prevents clotting, redness, and swelling in joints and eases movement. Hydrotherapy can restore smooth functioning in the joints. Massages can also help reduce pain, increase blood circulation and relax the bones and joints.

Seek Relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis at Physiotattva

Physio Tattva offers extensive care in the treatment and management of Rheumatoid Arthritis. With over 2 decades of experience in the medical field, our trained professionals offer some of the best care. We offer specialized care in Arthritis and have trained professionals in the field.

Our team offers various treatment plans that are tailored to the individual's needs. It aims at a sustained recovery and management plan that is highly effective.

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