managing rheumatoid arthritis

Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain: A Comprehensive Guide to Relief and Prevention

Living a More Comfortable Life with RA

It sucks when it takes years before you get diagnosed officially with a disease that has been giving you pain that causes difficulty and exhaustion in your daily life. And guess what? For at least three years, some people have waited to finally have that validation: Rheumatoid arthritis as the final diagnosis.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis, you are in the right place. We will share some of the information about managing rheumatoid arthritis.
You may also hear your doctor mention the medications listed here, and with this post, you could be aware of these drug options and why they are being used for Rheumatoid arthritis.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation and pain. The inflammation can lead to joint damage and deformity if left untreated. Pain is a common symptom of Rheumatoid arthritis and ranges from mild discomfort to severe pain that interferes with daily activities.

The pain associated with Rheumatoid arthritis can be located in one or multiple joints and may be accompanied by swelling, warmth and stiffness. The pain can also be felt in the muscles and bones surrounding the affected joint. Rheumatoid arthritis pain can be constant or intermittent, and physical activity, weather changes and stress can exacerbate it.

Rheumatoid arthritis pain can significantly impact a person's quality of life, leading to depression, anxiety, and decreased mobility. Treating Rheumatoid arthritis pain effectively is crucial for improving a person's physical and emotional well-being.

Several medications and therapies are available to manage RA pain, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biologic response modifiers, glucocorticoids and pain relievers. The best approach to managing Rheumatoid arthritis pain will depend on the individual and their specific needs. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most effective treatment plan.

Which medication is the best for Rheumatoid arthritis?

There is no single "best" medication for rheumatoid arthritis pain, as the treatment plan can vary depending on individual factors such as the severity and type of symptoms, overall health, and medical history.
Like cocktail drinks, your doctor may have to mix a set of medications suitable for your needs. Hence, giving the whole picture of your condition is best to help your doctor blend the right combination.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself about your condition and the treatments available for it.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are medications commonly used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation.

Some common examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. These medications can be taken orally or applied topically and are generally considered safe and effective for short-term use.


  • Quick relief from pain and inflammation.
  • Over-the-counter availability.
  • Generally low cost.
  • Fewer side effects compared to other types of pain medication.


  • Stomach upset, including nausea and indigestion.
  • Increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Risk of kidney damage with long-term use.
  • Risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Interactions with other medications.

It is important to note that while NSAIDs can effectively relieve pain and inflammation in Rheumatoid arthritis, they do not treat the underlying cause of the disease and should be used together with other medications and therapies as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Additionally, individuals with a history of kidney, liver or heart disease, or taking other medications, should consult with their healthcare provider before using NSAIDs.

Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs

Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) are medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and slow disease progression. Unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which only treat symptoms, DMARDs target the underlying cause of RA by suppressing the immune system.

DMARDs slow down the production of specific cells in the immune system that cause inflammation and joint damage. Some common DMARDs include methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, and leflunomide.


  • Slowing the progression of RA.
  • Reducing joint damage.
  • Improving physical function.
  • Decreasing the need for joint surgery.


  • Slows down the immune system, making a person more susceptible to infections.
  • Risk of severe side effects, including liver damage and bone marrow suppression.
  • Long-term use may lead to liver, lung, or heart problems.
  • Interactions with other medications.

Note that DMARDs can take several weeks or months to become fully effective, and they may need to be taken in combination with other medications and therapies for optimal results.

Biologic response modifiers

Biologic response modifiers, also known as biologic drugs, are a type of medication used to treat Rheumatoid arthritis by targeting specific immune system components. Biologic response modifiers work by blocking the action of specific proteins or cells in the body that contribute to inflammation and joint damage in Rheumatoid arthritis.

Some common biologic response modifiers used to treat RA include tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, such as adalimumab and infliximab, and interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitors, such as tocilizumab.


  • Targeting specific components of the immune system, making them highly effective in treating RA.
  • Improving physical function and reducing joint pain.
  • Slowing the progression of joint damage.
  • Fewer side effects compared to other types of medication.


  • High cost.
  • Increased risk of infections.
  • Possible side effects, such as headaches, fatigue, and skin reactions.
  • Interactions with other medications.


Managing rheumatoid arthritis can be helped with glucocorticoids. They are a type of steroid medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis by reducing inflammation and pain. Glucocorticoids can be taken orally or injected directly into the affected joint.

Glucocorticoids work by suppressing the immune system and reducing the production of cytokines, which are proteins that contribute to inflammation. This leads to a decrease in pain, swelling, and joint damage.


  • Fast-acting relief of joint pain and swelling.
  • Effective in reducing inflammation.
  • Available in various forms, including oral, injectable, and topical.


  • Increased risk of side effects with long-term use, including osteoporosis, weight gain and increased risk of
  • infections.
  • Possible adverse effects on the digestive system, such as ulcers and bleeding.
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Interactions with other medications.

A Reminder for You

Managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pain requires a comprehensive approach including medical treatment and self-care strategies.

It is important to remember that RA is a chronic condition, and the treatment goals are to reduce pain, improve joint function, and slow the progression of joint damage. A healthcare provider can work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that best meets your specific needs and goals.