Pain Management Strategies for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Effective Pain Management Strategies for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition that leads to inflammation of the joints and the surrounding tissues. It can be characterized by joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness in individuals. The fact that everyone can accept is that there is no cure for these conditions. However, there are enormous strategies that help to manage the pain and the symptoms of RA, which are the only ray of hope in managing RA-related symptoms in patients. Today, we are going to explore various strategies to manage RA in patients.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Joint pain: Individuals may experience joint pain, tenderness, swelling, or stiffness that lasts for more than six weeks.
  • Stiffness: Patients may experience a morning stiffness that lasts for 30 minutes or more than that. 
  • Fatigue: Individuals may experience tiredness or lack of energy during rheumatoid arthritis.

Strategies to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis


  1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These medications are involved in reducing and alleviating joint swelling, pain, and inflammation. Medications like ibuprofen, naproxen, and celecoxib effectively reduce the joint pain of RA. However, these medicines can cause long-term side effects (kidney and eye damage) in individuals.
  2. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): DMARDs are a group of medicines used in RA to slow down the progression of disease and manage symptoms. They are immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory agents which reduce the immune response during RA. Some of the common medicines that can be used as DMARDs are methotrexate, leflunomide, hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine.
  3. Analgesics: They are also known as painkillers, which help to manage rheumatoid pain in patients. Medicines like paracetamol or a combination of paracetamol and codeine (co-codamol) are usually used to treat pain in RA.
  4. Corticosteroids: They help to relieve pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients. It can be used in combination with disease-modifying antirheumatic medications (DMARDs) in RA patients.


Disperzyme tablet contains the active constituent trypsin, bromelain, and rutoside trihydrate. It is used to relieve RA-related pain, manage edema and inflammation, and also helps to stimulate muscle contraction.

Holistic approach

  1. Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy is a holistic therapy that helps restore movement and function in RA patients with muscle joint stiffness. It includes cold/hot applications, electrical stimulation, hydrotherapy, and spa therapy.
  2. Occupational Therapy: They are given by trained professionals (occupational therapists) to support the patients to overcome the barriers that affect them to do their daily activities due to the symptoms of RA.
  3. Heat and Cold Therapy:

It is often used as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of RA by rehabilitation specialists. Applying heat or cold by using heating pads or ice packs in the affected area can help to alleviate rheumatoid pain and reduce inflammation.

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  1. Joint Protection Techniques:

Protecting your joints and bones from stressful movements like falling, lifting heavy weights, and doing aggressive activities is important. This can be achieved by several assisting devices like jar openers, kneelers, lightweight hoses for gardening, and book stands for hands-free reading.

  1. Weight Management:

Maintaining an ideal weight can reduce the stress on joints. Eating a balanced diet contributes to weight management and the individual’s overall well-being.


  1. Food to include: It is recommended to incorporate foods like fish, olive oil, beans, turmeric, berries, ginger, and broccoli, which can help alleviate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in patients.
  2. Food to avoid: Foods like red meat, fried foods, fast foods, dairy, processed foods, salt, and sugar can worsen RA symptoms in patients. So, it is advised to avoid highly processed foods during rheumatoid arthritis.

Mind-Body Techniques

Techniques like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help to manage RA-related pain in patients. Procedures like mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) are effective in managing RA-related pains.


Rheumatoid arthritis can cause severe, unbearable pain in patients. Medicines like painkillers or corticosteroids help manage RA-related symptoms. However, it is important to note that it may cause some chronic side effects, which you need to discuss with a doctor. Following a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle can aid in improving RA-related health issues without causing any adverse effects. It is important to engage with your healthcare provider to get a tailored treatment for managing rheumatoid arthritis.

Read more: Types of Medicines Used in the Treatment of Cancer in India

About the author: mrmed

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