Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tabish Azim

By - Tabish Azim
Functional Manual Therapist at VARDĀN
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is what can damage other parts of the body as well. While new types of medications have improved treatment options dramatically, severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical disabilities.
What are the symptoms of RA?
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include:
  • Tender, warm, swollen joints.
  • Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity.
  • Fatigue, fever and loss of appetite.
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first — particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet. As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.
About 40% of people who have rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don't involve the joints. Areas that may be affected include:
  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Salivary glands
  • Nerve tissue
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood vessels
Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity, and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity, called flares, alternate with periods of relative remission — when the swelling and pain fade or disappear. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.
What causes RA?
RA is the result of an immune response, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells. The specific causes of RA are unknown, but some factors can increase the risk of developing the disease.
What are the risk factors for RA?
Researchers have studied a number of genetic and environmental factors to determine if they alter the person’s risk of developing RA.

Factors that may increase your risk of rheumatoid arthritis include:
  • Your sex - Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Age - Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, but it most commonly begins midlife.
  • Family History - If a member of your family has rheumatoid arthritis, you may have an increased risk of the disease.
  • Smoking - Cigarette smoking increases your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, particularly if you have a genetic predisposition for developing the disease. Smoking also appears to be associated with greater disease severity.
  • Excess weight - People who are overweight appear to be at a somewhat higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Characteristics that can decrease risk
Unlike the risk factors above, which may increase risk of developing RA, at least one characteristic may decrease risk of developing RA.

Breastfeeding - Women who have breastfed their infants have a decreased risk of developing RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of developing:
  • Osteoporosis - Rheumatoid arthritis itself, along with some medications used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, can increase your risk of osteoporosis — a condition that weakens your bones and makes them more prone to fracture.
  • Rheumatoid nodules - These firm bumps of tissue most commonly form around pressure points, such as the elbows. However, these nodules can form anywhere in the body, including the heart and lungs.
  • Dry eyes and mouth - People who have rheumatoid arthritis are much more likely to develop Sjogren's syndrome, a disorder that decreases the amount of moisture in the eyes and mouth.
  • Infections - Rheumatoid arthritis, itself and many of the medications used to combat it, can impair the immune system, leading to increased infections. Protect yourself with vaccinations to prevent diseases, such as influenza, pneumonia, shingles and COVID-19.
  • Abnormal body composition - The proportion of fat to lean mass is often higher in people who have rheumatoid arthritis, even in those who have a normal body mass index (BMI).
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome - If rheumatoid arthritis affects your wrists, the inflammation can compress the nerve that serves most of your hand and fingers.
  • Heart problems - Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of hardened and blocked arteries, as well as inflammation of the sac that encloses your heart.
  • Lung disease - People with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues, which can lead to progressive shortness of breath.
  • Lymphoma - Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of lymphoma, a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymph system.
How is RA diagnosed?
RA is diagnosed by reviewing symptoms, conducting a physical examination, and doing X-rays and lab tests. It’s best to diagnose RA early — within 6 months of the onset of symptoms, so that people with the disease can begin treatment to slow or stop disease progression (for example - damage to joints). Diagnosis and effective treatments, particularly treatment to suppress or control inflammation, can help reduce the damaging effects of RA.
How FMTTM Helps
FMTTM is a comprehensive system of evaluation and treatment through hands-on techniques. This approach is based on three pillars - mechanical capacity, neuromuscular control & motor control. Our evaluation is focused on finding the root cause of pain and we rarely recommend for X-ray or MRI post evaluation. We treat the joint and muscles with hands - on approach and then make sure we work on neuromuscular and motor control i.e. reminding the brain of the efficient body position and movements. We educate the patient on exercises and postural advice, specific to his/her body and ergonomic requirement, so that change we have obtained are maintained. In systemic disease like RA, we emphasize more on improving body functioning and prevention of the disease by improving flexibility of muscles, ligaments and tendon and other connective tissues through stretching, joint mobilizations, and strengthening exercises. Also, we educate the patient time to time, on the same.

In FMTTM, we design patient-specific home exercise programmes for better recovery, efficient body mobility, and pain management in RA.
Our Client Speak

I would like to share my experience at Vardan in last 4.5 years. I am a RA patient from last 15+ Years and suffering with multiple joints inflammation and stiffness. One of my colleague suggested me to take sessions in Vardan. I have been undergoing treatment under Tabish since 2018-2019. My experience with him is excellent. He treated all my joints and keep on guiding me on how I can control my RA to deteriorate further with regular exercise and diet control. Tabish carries extensive knowledge in Rheumatoid Arthritis and all other bone and muscles issues. He treats me with extra care keeping in mind my Rheumatoid situation. I have severe issue with my shoulder joints and neck which frequent gets inflamed and freeze. Post his treatment I get immediate relief. Additionally, he keeps on guiding me on diet and exercise front.

I am delighted and fortunate that I got such a dedicated and experienced therapist who handles his patients with extra care and dedication. THANKS A TON TABISH FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE FOR MY TREATMENT !!

- Neetu Srivastava

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