Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints—synovium–to thicken, resulting in swelling and pain and reduced mobility in and around the joints.
If inflammation goes unchecked, it can damage cartilage, the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, as well as the bones themselves. Over time, there is loss of cartilage, and the joint spacing between bones can become smaller. Joints can become loose, unstable, painful and lose their mobility. Joint deformity also can occur. Joint damage cannot be reversed, and because it can occur early, doctors recommend early diagnosis and aggressive treatment to control RA.
- Nodules—they can occur on the joints but also systemically in the lungs, cardiovascular system and elsewhere. They are small pockets of inflammatory tissue. Methotrexate use increases incidence of nodules.
- Inflammation in the hands, feet wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. Joint effect tends to be symmetrical so both joints will be affected.
- RA can affect body systems such as the cardiovascular or respiratory systems. It is a systemic condition so systemic inflammation is a symptom.
- Numbness, tingling in hands and feet. Foot pain.
- Decreased mobility in joints, stiffness, locked joints.
RA creates systemic and localized inflammation which is effectively addressed by whole body cryotherapy. WBC triggers the fight or flight response–this autonomic response causes the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines and analgesic (pain relieving) biochemicals. WBC is indicated for RA because it will reduce inflammation throughout the body including in vital organs and the brain.
WBC also inhibits collagenase—an enzyme that breaks down collagen. Collagenase production is triggered by inflammation—which WBC actively combats. Collagen is a major component of cartilage. Inflammation associated with RA diminishes cartilage in joints—so by re-building collagen reserves, cartilage is repaired, potentially reversing some of the damage caused by RA.
Local cryotherapy is indicated for the treatment of RA nodules and all joints affected by inflammation. Local cryotherapy should be used in addition to WBC as it will directly target areas of painful inflammation that cause stiffness, immobility and pain. Local cryotherapy directly reduces localized inflammation—halting collagenase production and cartilage destruction.
Compression therapy is the tertiary treatment for RA foci. Once WBC and local cryotherapy treatments have reduced inflammation, compression can aid in the lymphatic drainage and detoxification of the inflammation. Compression therapy should be applied to localized inflammation.
At ChillRx, we provide our RA clients with a formalized treatment plan to address their specific symptoms. RA is a spectrum—some clients experience severe symptoms which require intensive cryotherapy intervention; other clients can get away with less frequency and less intensity. ChillRx also offers a Severe Inflammation Protocol for the rapid reduction of systemic and localized inflammation.
ChillRx Rheumatoid Arthritis clients experience significant symptom suppression and a welcome return to a full, active lifestyle. Please check out our client testimonials for more information on how whole body cryotherapy at ChillRx can improve your life!!