Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Treatment
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) of the shoulder is a type of autoimmune disease which causes your body to start attacking healthy cells. This type of arthritis focuses specifically on cells in the joints as if they were an intruder or disease. This causes the cartilage or tissues in the shoulder to get destroyed, which results in rubbing bones.
RA causes immense pain and swelling in the shoulder area that only worsens over time. There is no known cure for RA as of now. However, there are several treatment options that can help you stay active by managing pain.
Thomas & Bigler Knee and Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, while also serving areas such as greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, and Mesquite, NV.
Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Shoulder
RA causes the joint lining to start swelling when it affects the shoulder. This results in stiffness and pain. The shoulder has two joints, which can both get affected by arthritis. The first joint is the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, in which the collarbone meets the shoulder blade tip. The other is called the glenohumeral joint, where the upper arm bone head fits perfectly into the shoulder blade.
Your physician will first identify the affected joint to help you with the most appropriate and effective treatment. They will also identify the type of arthritis you have. There is no known cause for RA. Environmental factors and genetics are said to play a major role in this disease. While there is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the shoulder, there are several treatment options that can help you with your pain.
Nonsurgical Options for Pain Management
Your physician will initially employ nonsurgical methods to treat RA of the shoulder. These are a few common options:
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications)
- Physical therapy
- Moist heat
- Corticosteroid injections for reducing pain and swelling
- Icing the shoulder
- Methotrexate and other disease modifying drugs
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and other biological treatments, like Orencia, Remicade, Enbrel, Humira, Rituxan, Actemra, Cimzia, Kineret, and Simponi.
- Dietary supplements to relive pain, such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine
Your physician may recommend getting a surgery if the above-mentioned nonsurgical methods don’t help in relieving pain and other symptoms. Surgical approach to treating RA of the shoulder involves the following:
- Tendon repair: Joint damage and inflammation can cause the tendons around the shoulder joint to rupture or loosen. The tendons would be repaired in this surgical procedure.
- Joint fusion: You may need to realign or stabilize a joint by surgically fusing it. This helps in relieving pain when joint replacement is no longer an option.
- Total joint replacement: Your surgeon, during a joint replacement surgery will remove the damaged parts of the joint and insert a plastic or metal prosthetic.
The surgical procedure chosen by your physician will depend on the severity and extent of your RA of the shoulder. Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada as well as greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, and Mesquite, NV for orthopedic surgery.
Contact Board Certified Surgeons Dr. Bigler or Dr. Thomas at the Knee and Shoulder Institute in Las Vegas, NV to Schedule an Appointment:
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.
Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada