May 16th, 2022: Dr. Noah Aksu

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Rheumatoid


Arthritis 



"What is it?"

Rheumatoid Arthritis affects almost 2% of Australians! It is more common in those above 75, however can affect anybody! You may have heard of this condition causing significant pain, but do Rheumatoid Arthritis affects the human body?

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What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it's caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue. However, it's not yet known what triggers this. Your immune system normally makes antibodies that attack bacteria and viruses, helping to fight infection. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system mistakenly sends antibodies to the lining of your joints, where they attack the tissue surrounding the joint. This causes the thin layer of cells (synovium) covering your joints to become sore and inflamed.

Joint involvement is the characteristic feature of RA. In general, the small joints of the hands and feet are affected in a relatively symmetric distribution. In decreasing frequency, the metacarpophalangeal (MCP), wrist, proximal interphalangeal (PIP), knee, metatarsophalangeal (MTP), shoulder, ankle, cervical spine, hip, elbow, and temporomandibular joints are most commonly affected.

Affected joints show inflammation with swelling, tenderness, warmth, and decreased range of motion (ROM). Atrophy of the interosseous muscles of the hands is a typical early finding. Joint and tendon destruction may lead to deformities such as ulnar deviation, boutonniere and swan-neck deformities, hammer toes, and, occasionally, joint ankylosis.

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How do you know?

RA most commonly has an insidious onset. It may begin with systemic features (eg, fever, malaise, arthralgia, and weakness) before the appearance of overt joint inflammation and swelling. Approximately 10% of patients with this disease have an abrupt onset with the acute development of synovitis and extra-articular manifestations.

A common presentation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is persistent symmetric polyarthritis (synovitis) that affects the hands and feet, although any joint lined by a synovial membrane can be effected. The severity of RA may change over time, but chronic RA most commonly results in the progressive development of various degrees of joint destruction, deformity, and a significant decrease in functional status.

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What may you see?

During our examination procedure we may find the following signs:

  • Stiffness

  • Tenderness

  • Pain on motion

  • Swelling

  • Deformity

  • Limitation of motion

  • Extra-articular manifestations

  • Rheumatoid nodules

How can Chiropractic care help?

Chiropractic Adjustments help restore proper functioning of the nervous system, which helps prevent the body’s immune system from attacking itself. And, patients who manage rheumatoid arthritis can restore flexibility to their joints through ongoing Chiropractic Treatment. Hence reducing common aches and pains that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Chiropractic treatment is a very safe form of therapy for patients that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Your chiropractor is your partner in movement, helping to guide your body so that it moves as well as possible. Results are different for everyone based on their unique situations, but you can be sure that chiropractic will serve as a powerful tool to keep your body working as well as possible.

Other forms of treatment include:

  • Dietary changes

  • Pharmacological interventions

  • Surgery

  • Exercise

Sources

    • Aletaha D, Neogi T, Silman AJ, et al. 2010 Rheumatoid arthritis classification criteria: an American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism collaborative initiative. Arthritis Rheum. 2010 Sep. 62(9):2569-81.

    • Anderson J, Caplan L, Yazdany J, et al, for the American College of Rheumatology. Rheumatoid arthritis disease activity measures: American College of Rheumatology Recommendations for use in clinical practice. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2012. 64:640-7.

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    • Smolen JS, Landewé RBM, Bijlsma JWJ, et al. EULAR recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis with synthetic and biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs: 2019 update. Ann Rheum Dis. 2020 Jan 22. 73(3):492-509.

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    • Deane KD, Holers VM. Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis, Prediction, and Prevention: An Emerging Paradigm Shift. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2021 Feb. 73 (2):181-193.

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