The arthritis rheumatoid is well remembered because of the joints. “It is characterized by great joint swelling with the symptom of stiffness in the morning for more than an hour and physical incapacity. Considered an autoimmune disease (no cure), arthritis occurs because the immune system starts to attack itself, inflaming the joints and even compromising the health of other regions of the body.
When a person frequently complains of pain and swelling in the parts of the body that correspond to the joints – especially the hands and feet – it is possible that their diagnosis is arthritis. One of the major problems related to arthritis is that it can incapacitate the patient, precisely because it leads to the destruction of joints, which causes deformities and limitations for work and for other daily activities.
However, there is no need to despair, since adequate treatment and carried out early can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
Causes of Arthritis:
There are some diseases that can contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis, such as gout, in which small crystals form in the joints (this problem usually affects the feet region); lupus, another autoimmune disease, in which the immune system can damage joints, the heart, and other organs; and viral hepatitis, in which a liver infection can lead to arthritis .
The onset of arthritis may feature only one or a few swollen, hot, and painful joints, usually accompanied by stiffness of movement. “The main symptom is pain and decreased joint function, that is, joint mobility.
However, it is also essential to be aware of other signs that may indicate arthritis, such as: tiredness, weight loss, anemia and low-grade fever. It is impossible to accurately predict the evolution of arthritis as it varies from case to case, showing different patterns.
For the physician to be able to determine an accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to have an analysis of the patient’s medical history, in addition to physical examinations. According to the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology, some complementary tests, such as blood or imaging tests, can be useful, including tests that measure inflammatory activity, rheumatoid factor, X-rays of affected joints and, eventually, ultrasound or resonance of the joints, in if there are any doubts.
From the results obtained, the professional detects the condition that the person presents, but, generally, the identification of arthritis is characterized when the following criteria occur with a frequency of six weeks: joint stiffness in the morning, lasting around 1 hour; at least one hand or wrist joint affected by swelling; presence of rheumatoid nodules around the joint; radiographic changes, such as decalcifications located in compromised joints.
It is very important to start treatment as soon as possible. Thus, right after the diagnosis is closed, it is most recommended that the patient start using specific medications to alleviate the symptoms and achieve better quality of life. The allopathic remedies (those conventional ones sold in pharmacies) that control the disease are immunosuppressants, that is, they regulate this exaggerated autoimmunity, reducing inflammation and its consequences for the joints and other organs.
As there are countless diseases that affect the joints, it is possible to find the most diverse medications to treat them, varying from patient to patient, remembering that they do not cure, only relieve symptoms.
These drugs, despite being very effective, have a slower onset of action, and may take a few weeks to months to have their best performance in disease activity. “The use of anti-inflammatory drugs is also indicated, always taking care with kidney function and blood pressure, since older patients tend to have other diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension”, emphasizes rheumatologist Claudia Velasco.
The Arthritis Pain Map:
Below, you can identify the points on the body most affected by the effects of arthritis. According to the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology (SBR), arthritis affects about 1% of Brazilians, and anyone, from children to the elderly, can develop the disease.
The risk of mortality increases up to twofold in patients with arthritis. In addition, four to ten years of life can be lost if the disease is not treated.
Herbal Medicine Treatments for Arthritis:
The arthritis can also be treated with physical therapy, bringing a much better quality of life to the patient. “The main objectives of physiotherapy in the treatment of Arthritis are:
- Reduce pain and discomfort;
- Increase range of motion;
- Prevent and stop the evolution of joint deformities;
- Maintain and/or increase muscle strength;
- Ensure independence in carrying out day-to-day tasks.
Check out some of the treatments and what their effects are:
It is the application of heat to the body for therapeutic purposes. Generally speaking, heating methods are classified into surface heat and deep heat, and there are various equipment and forms of application. “Surface heat is applied through infrared lamps, compresses and hot water bags, paraffin baths, whirlpools or immersion in hot water.
Deep heat, on the other hand, can be applied by diathermy and ultrasound devices. Thermotherapy accelerates local metabolism, increases cell regeneration, reduces muscle retraction, increases tissue elasticity and relieves pain and discomfort.
Technique performed through passive movements (the physiotherapist performs the patient) or active (the client performs alone, under guidance). “The exercises aim to rescue the patient’s physical qualities so that he can regain his functionality. They involve stretching to gain strength, balance, agility and coordination.
3. Massage therapy:
Set of manual maneuvers in order to undo tension points, reduce muscle retraction, undo adhesions and fibrosis of various body tissues such as scars and tendons, among other objectives.
Therapy through tissue cooling, with objectives such as analgesia, anesthesia, anti-inflammatory and edema reduction. It can be applied using bags and compresses, massage with ice, immersion and spray.
Use of electric current to relieve pain. The best known current is the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (Tens).
It is the physiotherapeutic treatment of immersing the body or part of it in hot water (photo). The patient performs exercises inside hot water pools. The main benefits are muscle relaxation, pain relief, reduction of edema, gain in joint range of motion and increased muscle strength.