Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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RA Treatment

General treatment for rheumatoid arthritis usually includes rest, warm compresses, physical therapy, medications, splints, and a cane or walker. Other treatment for severe rheumatoid arthritis may include joint replacement surgery.

Treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis include:

It is also important to note that patients who are being treated for rheumatoid arthritis may have other problems that require treatment such as:

For more information:

RA Drugs

Rheumatoid arthritis requires long-term treatment with medications.

Medication selection in rheumatoid arthritis is based on many factors including:

  • Severity of disease
  • Frequency of attacks (flare-ups)
  • Patient age
  • Relative health of patient

Medications for rheumatoid arthritis:

RA Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • Will I need occupational therapy?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for worsening rheumatoid arthritis?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

RA Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat rheumatoid arthritis:

RA Surgery

Surgery for rheumatoid arthritis can correct deformities and improve joint function.

Surgery for rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Arthrodesis for rheumatoid arthritis:
    • Fusion of two adjacent bones, in order to stabilize a joint
    • Most commonly performed in the spine
  • Arthroplasty for rheumatoid arthritis:
    • Replacement of a diseased joint with an artificial joint
  • Osteotomy for rheumatoid arthritis:
    • Removal of a portion of bone, in order to realign the joint
  • Joint resection for rheumatoid arthritis:
    • Removal of a portion of diseased bone
  • Synovectomy for rheumatoid arthritis:
    • Removal of a portion of the diseased lining of the joint

Continue to RA Home Care

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed RA References
  1. Cooper NJ. Economic burden of rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2000 Jan;39(1):28-33. [10662870]
  2. Pedersen M, Stripp C, Klarlund M, Olsen SF, Tjonneland AM, Frisch M. Diet and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in a prospective cohort. J Rheumatol. 2005 Jul;32(7):1249-52. [15996059]
  3. Rennie KL, Hughes J, Lang R, Jebb SA. Nutritional management of rheumatoid arthritis: a review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2003 Apr;16(2):97-109. [12662368]
  4. Rindfleisch JA, Muller D. Diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Sep 15;72(6):1037-47. [16190501]
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