Rheumatoid Arthritis

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis in Singapore is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the joints, causing pain and inflammation.

The effects of RA can be debilitating to those who suffer from it. Steps should be taken to help prevent or manage your symptoms including exercise and healthy eating habits.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

There are many causes of rheumatoid arthritis, but one of the most common is an overactive immune system. While the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis in Singapore is unknown, there are many factors that can contribute to its onset. These include genetics, environment, hormones, and other illnesses.

Types of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Seropositive RA
  • Seronegative RA
  • Juvenile RA (only affects children)

Why Do I have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where a person’s immune system attacks the synovium lining of the joints, this damages the cartilage and bone, and also weakens the ligaments and tendons. This can cause warm, painful and swollen joints, especially in the mornings, as well as fatigue. The precise medical cause is not yet determined although we know that genetic factors play a part in making a person susceptible to environmental factors. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause very significant personal distress, making it hard to walk, needing time off work, affect a person’s social interactions and result in depressed mood.

Do I Need To Do Blood Tests, X-ray or MRI?

Blood investigations are performed in cases of suspected rheumatoid arthritis to help with diagnosis assessing the severity of your condition. X-rays are useful for assessing how much your bone and cartilage have been affected. In most patients, MRIs are usually not recommended in the early stages.

How Can Rheumatoid Arthritis In Singapore Be Treated?

While there is currently no known medical cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are many effective treatments. For many Singapore patients, their rheumatoid arthritis clinic doctors will likely prescribe rest and medications for a short period of time. Medications with the lowest risk of side effects should generally be used first. NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can help reduce pain and swelling. While they tend to be one of the safer choices, long term use can cause cardiac, kidney, liver and gastric bleeding problems. Oral steroids are another option used to reduce inflammation. However long term use can cause thinning of the bones, weight gain and diabetes.

DMARDS, are a group of medications known as disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs which can slow the progression rheumatoid arthritis but are associated with potentially severe side effects such as liver damage, bone marrow suppression and lung infections. They are often used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in Singapore.

A newer class of medications are known as Biologics. They are biological response modifiers which can target parts of the immune system causing inflammation but also increase the risk of infections.

Physiotherapy is another well accepted option. Using techniques such as manual therapy, stretches and muscle strengthening exercises, it can have a good result in many patients. Physiotherapy can strengthen muscular support, reduce pain and inflammation and increase overall joint function when properly applied. Unfortunately many patients face difficulty getting the regular appointments and the personalized attention of a physiotherapist needed to achieve good results.

Why Are My Treatments Not Working?

While treatments of rheumatoid arthritis can be very effective, patients may experience problems such as:

  • Side effects from the strong pharmaceuticals
  • Difficulty finding a suitable physiotherapist
  • High cost of long term treatments required
  • Limited improvements in severe cases

In very advanced cases of joint damage, surgery might be a recommended option. In most other cases, even where pain and stiffness are severe or have been present for a long time, there are multiple non-surgical options that a patient should first consider. As surgery can have significant risks and cost, it is important to discuss this carefully with your rheumatoid arthritis specialist (rheumatologist).

What Is Your Doctor’s Experience Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Dr Terence Tan has been treating rheumatoid arthritis in Singapore at The Pain Relief Clinic since 2007. For the past 15 years, he has been using non-invasive technology to help patients get relief from complex pain problems.

He is accredited with both the Family Physician Accreditation Board and the Singapore Medical Council. He is also a member of the Singapore Medical Association and The Pain Association of Singapore.

Committed to providing quick pain relief, his philosophy is to always offer patients the safest, most effective and least invasive technology driven  treatments possible.

Can I Use Medisave And Medical Insurance To Pay For Treatments?

As our treatments are very affordable and cost-effective, many patients choose to self pay.
For those with insurance coverage, we are happy to help support medical claims.
Medisave is another very popular option to help pay for medical treatments.

I Am Worried About The Side Effects Of Long Term Medication. What New Treatment Options Can The Pain Relief Clinic Offer For My Rheumatoid Arthritis?

At The Pain Relief Clinic, we adopt a biomedical targeted approach that addresses how the multiple aspects of rheumatoid arthritis affect you. This allows us to provide treatment strategy using medical technology in a comprehensive and cost-effective way. The aim of treatments is to improve your symptoms as well as to prevent long term deterioration and surgery. Depending on the severity of your condition, some of the useful options that can give very good results include:

  • Dietary Correction
  • Non-Invasive Indiba Activ
  • Rehabilitative Electromedical Stimulation

If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and your condition has not improved despite other treatments, we are able to help.

Simply call us at +65 6732 2397

or leave a message below for Dr Tan to discuss a customized non-invasive solution for you.

What To Expect When I Visit The Pain Relief Clinic

A typical visit will involve our doctor first understanding your medical history, concerns and previous experience with other pain treatments.

For patients who have consulted many people but have yet to receive a clear diagnosis, selecting an affordable imaging scan might be recommended to confirm the cause of your pain..

Some patients have already done scans with other doctors for their pain condition but are still not clearly told what they suffer from.

Dr Terence Tan is happy to offer you a second opinion and recommend how best to manage your condition.

We also see patients who already have a confirmed diagnosis from specialist pain doctors, but are "stuck” because treatment options offered are not practical or acceptable.

We can help by discussing options that you might have potentially never been told of.

A common experience is when a patient has already consulted a specialist doctor for pain management and is told to consider orthopaedic surgery which they find too aggressive.

Or they may have seen doctors for their pain and were prescribed painkillers with potential side effects which made them feel uncomfortable.

Many of our patients have also first tried complementary treatments or acupuncture with traditional Chinese pain doctors.

They look for a second opinion after finding any relief experienced from other treatments to be temporary or requiring repetitive treatments, which add up to time and cost.

Especially in such situations, we emphasize using non-invasive medical technology you likely have not been told about .

This can make a big difference to your results.