Dr. Rodolfo Gari Talks Rheumatoid Arthritis: Who It Affects and Ways To Treat

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Interviewer: Arthritis is something you usually think about only dealing with later in life, but rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of all ages. Your body’s immune system starts attacking its own joints, and that can obviously be incredibly painful. Dr. Rudy Gari from the Florida Pain Relief Group joins us now with more on this. And I got to tell you I know from experience Dr. Gari, I have rheumatoid arthritis in both my right knee and my foot that started developing I’d say about 15 years ago when I was in my 40s, my early 40s. So, what are we talking about here?

Dr. Gari: So, rheumatoid arthritis is one of the subsets of arthritis. So, arthritis, the definition is, itis is inflammation and arthro means joint, so inflammation of joint, and the most common one be osteoarthritis, which we get normally. But rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where your body’s own immune system begins to attack the soft tissues of the joints. There’s something called rheumatoid factor that we can perform on a laboratory exam to determine that. So, the way that that’s treated is twofold. One is the rheumatologist or the doctor that specializes in this can give you medications to actually try to combat that immune system response at your joints.

We get a lot of referrals from rheumatologists because there’s only so much they can do with that, but then you have the pain coming from the inflammation. So, we work in conjunction with rheumatologist so that they can work with the actual underlying rheumatoid factors, and we’re gonna work at the inflammation of those joints that’s an outcome of the rheumatoid arthritis.

Interviewer: Yeah, because for my knee, for instance, and I can relate to this. They’ve given me several cortisone shots, but then they say, “We can’t give you any more.” So what, you know, what do I do now?

Dr. Gari: Well, there’s different things you can do.

Interviewer: And a lot of people probably ask that same question.

Dr. Gari: Yeah. There’s a lot of things can be done. So, the reason why cortisone tends to work because cortisone reduces inflammation, all of this is about inflammation. So, besides cortisone injections, there is also sometimes the lining of your joints, it’s almost what they called bone on bone. So we can actually put in material there that lubricates, like long lasting lubricants, that can lubricate those joints. We can actually even go in and put in some stem cells. We’ve got the medicine right into the joints and try to regenerate some of that tissue that’s been destroyed, whether by normal arthritis or by an attack from your immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Interviewer: Now, let’s talk about some other ways of treating this. A lot of people will take an aspirin. Is that smart? Will that take care of the pain?

Dr. Gari: Aspirin is going to help because aspirin is an anti-inflammatory just like steroids. The problem with aspirin, and like a lot of pills, if you take a pill by mouth, it goes into your stomach, and it goes into bloodstream. It affects your entire body. And only a small portion of that actually gets those joints that are inflamed.

Interviewer: Let’s talk about eliminating medicine altogether and alleviating this pain just through exercises. Is that possible?

Dr. Gari: Exercise is a good thing when you have arthritis, because what exercise does is it actually increases the hydration into the joints. People should try to get a good night’s sleep, because when we go to bed, the fluid tends to rehydrate the joints, and you feel better.

Interviewer: All right. And any preventative measures, fairly quickly here, in order to prevent arthritis from happening?

Dr. Gari: I think eat healthy, try to stay through with normal weight, exercise, good night’s sleep, and, you know, just those conservative measures.

Interviewer: And if those things don’t work, come see you.

Dr. Gari: Come see us, and we’ll help you out.

Interviewer: All right, Dr. Gari, thank you so much. And you can visit his website  to schedule your same day appointment, or give him a call, 844-jKICK-PAIN. Thank you so much, Dr. Gari.

Dr. Gari: Pleasure.

Interviewer: All right. We’ll be right back with more Daytime right after this.

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