Video Q & A:

RA Pain 101


Will RA become more and more painful the longer I have it?

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

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive disease-- it probably will get worse, if you let it. Get the details on this inflammatory condition.

Transcript: The answer to this question is yes AND no. Since rheumatoid arthritis is an INCURABLE, PROGRESSIVE disease, it WILL get worse and worse over time—IF you let it. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by your immune system MISTAKENLY attacking your joint. The main actors in this process are white blood cells and the inflammatory molecules they release. If you allow them to run rampant, they’ll continue to damage your joint tissue and cause your joint lining to swell and expand into places it doesn’t belong. Left unchecked, the inflammatory molecules WILL eventually lead to the degradation of your cartilage and bone. When this happens, your joint bones will rub together because there’ll be no cartilage protecting them. That friction will make your pain worse. But disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, or simply DMARDs, DELAY the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Biologic response modifiers are revolutionary drugs that will also help you slow your disease. They are DMARDs, but they’re different in that they target highly specific components of your immune system reaction. Traditional DMARDs and biologics prevent those inflammatory molecules from attacking your joints again...meaning there’s a chance that your joint pain will NOT get worse as the years pass. In fact, DMARDs and biologics have even helped some RA patients send their disease into REMISSION. And that’s the closest you can get to a cure. To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis, check out other videos in this series. More »

Can't Find an Answer? Send us your question »