Video Q & A:

RA Pain 101

Question:

What causes the joint pain associated with RA?

Expert:   Linda Russell, MD, Hospital for Special Surgery »

You always hear that your overactive immune system causes your rheumatoid arthritis, but what does that even mean? If you want to learn about the process in a bit more detail, this video is for you.

Transcript: The pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system ATTACKS your joint lining as if it were an INVADING bacteria. White blood cells FLOOD to the affected area and release molecules -- called CYTOKINES-- that inflame your JOINT lining and cartilage. The inflammation causes your joint lining to swell and expand into areas where it doesn’t belong, which erodes cartilage and bone over time. Rheumatoid arthritis flares occur when the immune system and cytokines are at their MOST active. The PAIN -- as well as the other symptoms of your flare-- is a direct result of the INFLAMMATION these cytokines wreak on your joints. And after all this damage, the joint is weakened, making it MORE painful to bear weight. Early treatment is VITAL when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis. If you use medication to slow down the activity of those white blood cells and cytokines you can arrest the progression of the disease-- AND you MAY save yourself years of pain. To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis, play other videos in this series. More »

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