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Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a relatively common autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system misfires and attacks its own tissues. The result is inflamed joint linings, which may lead to painful swelling, stiffness, and eventually, joint deformity and bone erosion. It is a chronic disease that progresses over the course of a patient’s lifetime, potentially producing “flare-ups” along the way. This form of arthritis can develop in anyone at any age, but most often affects women.

Rheumatoid arthritis is not curable, but there are several conservative treatments that may slow the disease’s progression and help relieve uncomfortable symptoms.

The ideal course of rheumatoid arthritis treatment will vary according to each patient’s specific needs, but generally speaking, a physician may recommend a combination of the following conservative treatments:

  • Physical therapy to promote joint flexibility and increase mobility
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic medications (DMARDs) to help slow the growth of the disease and preserve tissues
  • Corticosteroid medications to slow damage to the joint and relieve inflammation
  • Biologic response-modifying medications to address parts of the immune system that trigger inflammation

Surgery to repair joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis may be recommended for patients who do not respond to conservative treatment. Board-certified orthopaedic surgeon Stephen Raterman, MD of Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine performs hip arthroscopies, joint replacements, and joint resurfacing procedures for patients whose joint health has been severely affected by arthritis. A leader in arthroscopic medicine, Dr. Raterman uses muscle-sparing techniques and advanced surgical technologies to ensure his patients can return to the activities they enjoy as safely and quickly as possible.

Allow Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine to direct you to a physician within our network who can best meet your needs. Whether you’ve been living with rheumatoid arthritis for years or would simply like a physician to evaluate your joint pain, Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine has the staff and resources to help you live your best life.

Proudly serving the Wiregrass/Wesley Chapel area, Brandon, Tampa, and Zephyrhills FL

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