Nowadays medications that are available for treating rheumatoid arthritis help many to cope with living with a disease as debilitating as rheumatoid arthritis, but what other treatment options are out there if medication is not the route for you? Stay tuned for Dr. Teitel's answer that you will not want to miss.
Dr. Teitel: Our goal as rheumatologists, as physicians treating this disease, is basically to get the patient, hopefully to feeing back to normal again. Getting them back to work, getting them as pain free as possible, to the point where they feel like they don't feel like they have the disease anymore if that's possible, that's what we try to do. Physical therapy is an important part of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, it's helpful, but it's not gonna change the disease process, so that would be an adjunctive treatment, it would be very helpful for patients. Just as physical therapy can be helpful, occupational therapy is the field that we usually go to for assistive devices. So if somebody has a problem putting on a shoe, different problems with their hands for increased grip, there are many assistive devices for sure. Surgical intervention is definitely an option for rheumatoid arthritis, because of better control recently the need for that has decreased, but it's definitely an option. Generally speaking, you should continue on treatment, even if you feel fine, even if you're in complete remission, there are multiple cases where you stop the treatment and it comes back, and it may be harder to control. There's a whole list of side effects, the question is, how common are they, and then, wait against the benefit of the medicine. That's one problem that people often get into, they'll look at the list of side effects, and they'll say, look at all this, this is terrible, I don't want to take a risk with cancer, but rheumatoid arthritis itself has a small risk of cancer, which maybe the same as the risk of the medication. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but medications that are available nowadays are so excellent, that basically many people that have it, feel like they have it anymore, I mean, this is incredible, this wasn't the case 20 years ago.
More Videos from Rheumatoid Arthritis Education Series Health Community