Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and swelling of the joints. An autoimmune disease causes your immune system to attack healthy tissues. In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system targets the lining of the joints. This can lead to painful inflammation and joint damage, commonly in the smaller joints, such as the hands and feet. But hips and knees can also be affected.
The arthritisCARE purpose-built facility in Brisbane is designed for patient convenience and comfort, with our team embracing the latest technologies to deliver effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Brisbane patients, as well as patients from all areas of Queensland and regional NSW turn to us for expert care and relief of their muscle, bone and joint and pain.
What is rheumatoid arthritis: Causes and symptoms
While the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unclear, it is found to be more common in people who have a family history of the condition.
The symptoms vary but are most commonly:
- Joint pain, swelling, and tenderness
- Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
- Symmetrical symptoms with the same joints on both sides of the body being affected
- Approximately 40% of people who have rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don't involve the joints. Sometimes involving the skin, eyes, lung, heart and more.
While most forms of arthritis cause joint pain, a Rheumatologist will need to determine the specific disease that affects you. The best way to get a definitive answer is by booking an appointment at our Brisbane clinic. One of our arthritisCARE Rheumatologists will work closely with you to diagnose your specific form of arthritis, giving you relief from pain and inflammation.
The difference between a healthy joint and the effects that arthritis can have on your body.
How is RA diagnosed?
A physical examination and various tests will be required to determine whether or not you have Rheumatoid arthritis. These tests can include:
- Blood tests to confirm inflammation
- Blood tests for antibodies
- X-rays to confirm if the disease is physically damaging the joints
It can take time to diagnose this form of arthritis and to identify the best course of treatment and management of the rheumatoid arthritis joint pain, swelling and stiffness. The symptoms can be similar to other forms of arthritis, so consultation with a Rheumatologist is required to properly diagnose the condition and to start early treatment to avoid long term joint damage and deformity.
What can you do if diagnosed with RA?
Early diagnosis of arthritis along with the right treatment often make the possibility of leading a full and active life possible. No two cases of the disease are the same, and many people experience ‘flare’ periods when joints become more inflamed and painful.
The condition can cause permanent joint damage and deformity if diagnosis and treatment are left too late. While there is no cure for RA, treatment has improved dramatically, and the team at arthritisCARE are well-positioned to provide relief.
The arthritisCARE team embraces the latest technologies to deliver effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
What's the best pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis?
Our Rheumatologist will tailor your treatment to your symptoms based on the severity of your condition. There is no way of predicting exactly which treatment will work best for you, and several different treatments may need to be trialled before finding the right one.
Relief can come in the form of medications, such as:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Corticosteroid medicines or injections
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Biological DMARDs
Exercise is also strongly recommended to keep the joints flexible and muscles strong.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Options
Rest, avoidance of vigorous weight-bearing activities and taking anti-inflammatory medications can help. For more severe symptoms, a cortisone injection into the joint may also be advised.
While at home, the following may provide some relief:
- Exercises to keep joints flexible
- Medications are used to control pain
- Heat/cold therapy
- Joint protection to prevent stress on painful joints
- Weight control to prevent extra stress
Visit a Rheumatologist as early as possible to properly diagnose RA and make sure you get the proper treatment. If diagnosed, it is good to learn about RA and play an active role in your treatment. Always talk to your specialist about alternative treatments that you are thinking about trying.
There are many ways to manage the pain; the primary goal is to live a healthy life and be physically active with a healthy diet. It is also essential to stop smoking and reduce stress to help your overall health and wellbeing.
Trust the team at arthritisCARE to spend an in-depth amount of time with you to identify the reasons for your joint and muscle pain and to recommend a customised treatment plan.
What are the Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment costs in Brisbane?
Treatment costs will be specific to your needs and situation. The Frequently Asked Questions section of our website provides information on the fees that we currently charge for initial appointments and follow-up review appointments.
If you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, the arthritisCARE team can help
The pain and discomfort caused by rheumatoid arthritis can impact negatively on your quality of life. Our team understands this better than most, as we treat patients with this and other arthritic conditions every day including:
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica
- Psoriatic Arthritis
The arthritisCARE team of rheumatoid specialists in Brisbane has many years of experience and offers you a choice of both male and female Rheumatologists in Brisbane. Our goal is to ensure that you feel comfortable working with us so we can collaboratively treat your condition and significantly improve the way you feel each day.
Avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort. Contact us to set up an appointment for a comprehensive, expert medical review today.
Recommended further advice is available from:
Arthritis Australia's Rheumatoid Arthritis Resources page
Information Sheet: Rheumatoid Arthritis by Arthritis Australia
Booklet: Taking Control of your Rheumatoid Arthritis by Arthritis Australia
Designed to help people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) seize control and become active participants in their journey with RA.
Blog Post and Video: Rheumatoid Arthritis: What you need to know
by Dr. Peter Landsberg (Rheumatologist at arthritisCARE in Brisbane)