Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disorder. The origin of RA is unknown. The most common area that it affects is the hands, but it can appear in the wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, and knees as well.
Symptoms of RA differ from person to person, but the most common symptom is joint inflammation. Joint inflammation can cause stiffness (especially in the morning), water retention, pain, increased skin temperature, and a redness tone to the skin. These symptoms may cause people to feel tired, less hungry, and have muscle aches. With more severe cases of RA, tissues of internal organs and the synovial lining of tendons can be affected.
Conservative treatment for RA can include:
Gentle exercises to assist with flexibility
Education in joint protection and energy conservation
Splinting for protection or for positioning
Strengthening activities and pain management
The most effective treatment for RA is early and aggressive intervention.