at Absolute Health & Wellness


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the joints. It primarily affects the synovium, the lining of the joints, but can also involve other organs and systems in the body. RA typically leads to joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and progressive damage, which can result in functional impairment and disability.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues, specifically the synovium. This immune response causes chronic inflammation in the joints, leading to the production of excess synovial fluid, thickening of the synovium, and erosion of cartilage and bone within the joints. Over time, this inflammation can cause deformities, joint instability, and irreversible damage.

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. Women are more commonly affected than men, and the disease often begins between the ages of 30 and 60, although it can occur at any age.

The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can vary from person to person, but commonly include:

  1. Joint pain, tenderness, and swelling: Typically affecting multiple joints, especially in the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, and feet.
  2. Morning stiffness: Stiffness and reduced joint mobility, particularly in the mornings or after periods of inactivity.
  3. Fatigue: Persistent feelings of tiredness, often accompanied by a general sense of malaise.
  4. Joint stiffness and limited range of motion: Joints may become stiff, making movement difficult or painful.
  5. Systemic symptoms: In some cases, RA can cause systemic symptoms such as fever, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
  6. Rheumatoid nodules: Firm lumps that may develop under the skin, usually near joints.
  7. Joint deformities: Over time, joints affected by RA may become deformed or misaligned.

Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis involves a combination of clinical evaluation, medical history, physical examination, blood tests (such as rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies), and imaging studies (such as X-rays or ultrasound) to assess joint damage and inflammation.

While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment aims to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, slow the progression of joint damage, and improve quality of life. Treatment plans are often individualized and may include a combination of medications (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, and biologic agents), physical therapy, occupational therapy, lifestyle modifications (including exercise and stress management), and occasionally, surgery for severe joint damage. Many natural compounds are proven to have a role to play in disease management. 

Early diagnosis and appropriate management can help control symptoms, prevent or minimize joint damage, and improve long-term outcomes for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Regular monitoring and collaboration with healthcare professionals are important for optimal disease management.


At Absolute Health & Wellness, we recommend starting with the Naturopath. Naturopathy is an evidence based form of medicine, where the goal is to use natural therapies to manage inflammation, disease progression and overall joint health. 

Physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy and massage therapy may be helpful in some combination. From balance and gait problems, pain, weakness and any associated findings, these healthcare providers can help!



  • Supplements (Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals): many natural substances have strong human research showing they can be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, even in conjunction with pharmaceutical medications
  • Lifestyle and Behavior Modification: the things we do everyday such as diet/gut health, exercise and sleep have huge impacts on our health, including our immune system
  • Acupuncture:  for pain management, circulation and other benefits in autoimmune disease, acupuncture may be recommended.
  • Physical Medicine: when there is joint involvement or muscular pains our team of physios, chiros, osteos and massage therapists can have roles to play in assessment and treatment.

Every person is different. Even two people with rheumatoid arthritis can present differently, so we always take an individualized approach to treating your autoimmune disease.