The main goals of Rheumatism TreatmentsRheumatism is a term used basically to encompass the non-inflammatory and inflammatory forms arthritis and pain syndromes. Rheumatic disorders which are a part of the inflammatory rheumatism variety are those affecting the joints as well as those affecting the entire body and other soft tissues. No single treatment or medication can be used to improve the arthritis conditions or the inflammatory pain syndromes. There are some agents that show more effectiveness for certain individuals compared to others. The modalities and aims of treatment include:

Management and pain relief

Basically, this is the main objective of treatments availed for rheumatism disorders regardless of whether they are non-inflammatory or inflammatory. There are two ways in which pain can be managed. This includes either using the traditional pain relievers or using pain relievers meant for reducing inflammation. The traditional ones include opioids or opioid analgesics such as morphine and codeine which eases pain but don’t affect the inflammatory processes in anyway.

The next group comprises of agents referred to as NSAIDs or non steroidal anti- inflammatory agents like diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen etc. Such agents help in relieving pain as well as reduction of the inflammatory processes. Those with inflammatory joint disease can benefit intensely from these treatments. But due to the risks of severe side effects such as kidney, gastric ulcers, liver and heart damage when used for a long term, these agents aren’t recommended for long term use for those suffering from the inflammatory rheumatic disorders.

Reduction of joints/ tissues inflammation

The next major goal of this therapy is reduction and prevention of inflammation at joints. This can be achieved by use of corticosteroids and such agents are very effective in reducing inflammation and can also help in prevention of joint damage progression over time.

Even though using corticosteroids on long term comes with the risk of severe side effects, such agents are a treatment mainstay for most rheumatic disorders. Other agents used for combating acute inflammation in various arthritis conditions such as gout include colchicines.

Newer agents referred to as BRMs or biological response modifiers are also used effectively for reduction of inflammation especially in rheumatoid arthritis. They mostly target inflammatory markers which cause joint damage and include Etanercept, Adalimumab etc which inhibit inflammatory mediators such as Tumor Necrosis Factors.

Reduction and prevention of joint damage and joint mobility preservation

Most rheumatic disorders usually cause severe disability as a result of joints affliction by the processes of inflammatory. A highly significant goal of the therapy is prevention of further progressive joint damage. Exercises and physical therapy help in maintaining optimum joint mobility depending on the patient.

Use of agents known as DMARDs or disease modifying anti rheumatoid arthritis drugs can also prevent and stop joint damage. These agents include leflunomide, methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine and gold salts.