Does it feel like your body is fighting itself because of painful joint swelling, undesired weight loss, or joint stiffness? If so, Julio Ramos, MD, FACR, FACP, and Tracy Sokoloski, CRNP, at Ramos Rheumatology, PC in Avoca, Pennsylvania, are experts at diagnosing and treating joint disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and can help restore your quality of life. Call Ramos Rheumatology to speak with the friendly staff or schedule an appointment today.
It’s unclear what exactly causes rheumatoid arthritis, although researchers believe that genetics play a big role. As an autoimmune disease, if you have rheumatoid arthritis your immune system attacks and breaks down the lining that protects your joints. This makes the protective lining thicker, which destroys both cartilage and bones that make up your joints.
Over time, all the tendons and ligaments that allow your joints to function start weakening. Your joints lose their shape and alignment. Much of the damage is irreversible, although you may slow the progression with regular treatments and therapy sessions.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint, though it generally starts in smaller joints like your fingers and toes. As the disease progresses, it attacks tissues in your wrists, knees, elbows, or other larger joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis gradually gets worse, although for some people it worsens quickly. In rare cases, rheumatoid arthritis goes into remission. Without continuous care and treatment though, your rheumatoid arthritis reoccurs as strong as before.
During your first visit, Dr. Ramos or Ms. Sokoloski may take X-rays of the affected areas. This allows them to see how far the disease has progressed and which treatment options are best for you. The majority of men and women who have rheumatoid arthritis benefit from physical therapy sessions.
When you have a customized physical therapy treatment plan, your therapist spends time working with you during your visits and provides gentle stretching exercises to do at home. Gentle Pilates movements often help strengthen and increase flexibility in your joints.
The providers at Ramos Rheumatology stay up to date on the latest treatment options and have an infusion suite in-office for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This treatment delivers medication intravenously directly to your bloodstream to better target specific areas where you’re experiencing pain.
Ultrasound therapy may help, too. This treatment uses sound waves to produce a massaging effect on your joints, resulting in reduced swelling, pain, and stiffness. Electrical stimulation and low-level laser therapy both work in a similar manner and may also be beneficial. Chances are, your care plan will include one or more treatments to resolve your rheumatoid arthritis pain.
To learn more about managing your rheumatoid arthritis, speak with the friendly staff at Ramos Rheumatology or schedule an appointment today.