Inflammation

Inflammation is a process by which your body's white blood cells and the things they make protect you from infection from outside invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.

But in some diseases, like arthritis, your body's defense system -- your immune system -- triggers inflammation when there are no invaders to fight off. In these autoimmune diseases, your immune system acts as if regular tissues are infected or somehow unusual, causing damage. 

Treatment for inflammatory diseases may include medications, rest, exercise, and surgery to correct joint damage. Your treatment plan will depend on several things, including your type of disease, your age, the medications you’re taking, your overall health, and how severe the symptoms are.

The goals of treatment are to:

  • Correct, control, or slow down the disease process
  • Avoid or change activities that aggravate pain
  • Ease pain through pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Keep joint movement and muscle strength through physical therapy
  • Lower stress on joints by using braces, splints, or canes as needed