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How We Can Help Manage Your Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are always new and emerging medications designed to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Have a low-grade fever, joint swelling, and redness, and overall fatigue become the “new norm” for you? If so, you may be surprised to discover that you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early RA often begins in the hands and wrists but it’s also common to experience symptoms in the knees, ankles, and shoulders. While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis the good news is that our Haddon Height, NJ, rheumatologist Dr. Mark Fisher can provide you with a long-term treatment plan to get your symptoms under control.

Your treatment plan will most likely consist of lifestyle modifications and medications designed to control symptoms and prevent joint damage. Let’s break these down into specifics so you understand more about the treatment plan our rheumatologist may create for you here in Haddon Heights, NJ,

Lifestyle Modifications

While you may need to take more rest days, it’s important that you are still getting regular physical activity. Fitness can help improve joint mobility and stability while strengthening muscles. Certain exercises that can improve your RA symptoms include,

  • Range-of-motion exercises
  • Low-impact aerobic exercises (e.g. swimming; walking)
  • Strength training

Physical therapy is typically recommended for those living with RA. Physical therapy provides a variety of modalities to alleviate symptoms while improving overall joint functionality. Some types of physical therapy include,

  • Splinting
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Heating or cold therapy
  • Relaxation techniques

Medications

Medication will play a larger role in being able to control symptoms to make it easier to perform your daily activities. The type of medication our Haddon Heights, NJ, rheumatologist prescribes will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID) such as ibuprofen may work well for those with mild symptoms. However, most patients with moderate symptoms will benefit from,

  • Corticosteroids: reduces inflammation and pain
  • COX-2 inhibitor: a prescription-strength NSAID
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs: medication that targets the disease itself to slow its progression (the newest anti-rheumatoid drug on the market, designed specifically for RA, are Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors known by their brand names Rinvoq, Xeljanz, and Olumiant)

Of course, there are always revolutionary new drugs coming out every few years that are providing patients living with RA even better relief from their symptoms, especially when other medications haven’t been as effective. Biologics are one type of revolutionary drug. These medications are typically administered as an injection or through an IV. Since RA is an autoimmune disease, biologics act on the immune system itself to halt the progression of RA, which prevents severe joint damage and inflammation.

Whether you suspect that you might be dealing with RA or you have questions about the new RA medications on the market, we are happy to discuss new, emerging treatment options with you. Our rheumatologist and his team provide comprehensive rheumatology and arthritis care to patients living in Haddon Heights and the South Jersey community. To schedule an appointment please call (856) 547-8004.

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