Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis is a medical condition that is described as joint pain and swelling which is stimulated by an infection in another part of body (generally intestines, urinary tract or genitals).

It generally attacks knees and the joints of ankles and feet. However the inflammation can affect your eyes, urethra and skin also. It is uncommon type of arthritis. In many people signs and symptoms come and go, which ultimately disappear within 12 months.

Reactive arthritis is caused by infection from a number of bacteria. The most common bacteria that cause reactive arthritis are Chlamydia, Shigella, Salmonella, Yersinia or Clostridium difficile. Reactive arthritis is not contagious. But, the bacteria that cause it may be sexually transmitted or transmitted through contaminated food. However, only a few people develop reactive arthritis on exposing to these bacteria.

Some of the risk factors for reactive arthritis are as follows:

  • Age: Reactive arthritis occurs mostly in people who are between the ages of 20 and 40 years.
  • Sex: Men and women are equally prone to develop reactive arthritis caused by food borne infections. But, men are more susceptible to develop reactive arthritis than women when the infection is caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.
  • Hereditary factors: A specific genetic marker has been associated to reactive arthritis however many people who carry this gene never develop reactive arthritis.

The common signs and symptoms of reactive arthritis are as follows:

  • Pain and stiffness: The joint pain linked with reactive arthritis usually occurs in ankles, knees, and feet. There may be pain in heels, low back or buttocks.
  • Eye inflammation: Patients of reactive arthritis suffer eye inflammation.
  • Urinary problems: Discomfort and increased frequency of urination can occur.
  • Inflammation of soft tissue: This can take place in tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
  • Swollen toes or fingers: Severe swelling of toes and fingers can occur.
  • Skin problems: Some of the skin problems associated with Reactive arthritis are mouth sores, rash on soles and palms.
  • Low back pain: Worse pain can be felt at night or in the morning.

Following are the ways to diagnose the development of reactive arthritis:

  • Physical examination: Your doctor will check your joints for signs and symptoms of inflammation, range of motion in spine and affected joints. He/she may also check your skin for rashes and eyes for inflammation.
  • Blood tests: Blood test may be advised to reveal the past or current infection, inflammation, or genetic marker associated to reactive arthritis.
  • Joint fluid tests: Joint fluid from the affected joint may be withdrawn with the needle by your doctor. Then this sample is tested for:
    • White blood cell count: An increased count of white blood cells may indicate inflammation.
    • Infections: Bacteria in joint fluid indicate septic arthritis.
    • Crystals: Uric acid crystals in joint fluid may indicate gout.
  • Imaging tests: X-rays of low back, joints and pelvis can reveal any of the signs of reactive arthritis. They can also detect other types of arthritis.

Following are the treatments of reactive arthritis:

Medications for Reactive Arthritis

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor if reactive arthritis was stimulated by the bacterial infection.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs will be prescribed to control the inflammation and pain of reactive arthritis.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroid injections into affected joints can decrease the inflammation and improve your conditions.
  • Topical steroids: They are used for the skin rashes caused by reactive arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis drugs: Medications as Sulfasalazine, Methotrexate or Etanercept can relieve pain and stiffness in some cases of reactive arthritis.

Physical therapy for Reactive Athritis

A physical therapist may suggest you exercise for joints and muscles. Strengthening exercises may also be suggested to develop the muscles around affected joints to provide joint support. Range-of-motion exercises will increase the flexibility of joint and reduce stiffness.

Alternative Treatments for Reactive Arthritis

  • Ayurvedic treatment of reactive arthritis: It is done by prescribing the medicines used for fighting the bacterial infection and decreasing the pain. Herbal medicines are given to the reactive arthritis patient for 2-3 times in a day. They stop the bacterial infection and strengthen the immune system.
  • Acupuncture for reactive arthritis: Acupuncture is recommended to the patient of reactive arthritis just to reduce the pain and discomfort temporarily.

Dietary Supplement for Reactive Arthritis

Dietary supplements include herbs, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and many other products that help in the maintenance of health. They come as pills, drinks, powders, capsules, and energy bars. GLME is the best dietary supplement for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

  • GLME (Green Lipped Mussel Extract): GLME (Green lipped mussel extract) is the best dietary supplement for reactive arthritis. It is extracted from the shell fish (green lipped mussel) which is grown in the farms of New Zealand. It is highly beneficial for the people with reactive arthritis as it has great nutritional value.

Following are benefits of GLME (Green lipped mussel extract) in the treatment and management of reactive arthritis:

  • It enhances joint mobility by improving the joint lubrication.
  • It protects gastric lining from the harsh effects of medicines used in the treatment of reactive arthritis by serving as Gastro-protective.
  • It aids other medicines to show their maximum efficiency.
  • It controls the inflammation process through several mechanisms and reduces swelling, pain, and inflammation.

Seatone is the best brand of GLME (green lipped mussel extract) which comes as capsules because:

  • It is extracted only from the premium, fresh mussels at their peak condition. Full control is kept to ensure that the harvesting is done at the best times of year.
  • Several tests are conducted to check the toxicity of Seatone. Toxicity is not detected even at higher doses.

Seatone is better than all the other treatments for reactive arthritis because:

  • Seatone is obtained from natural source therefore it does not show any side effects. Whereas the medicines used in the treatment of reactive arthritis show numerous side effects.
  • Medicines used in the treatment of reactive arthritis damage the delicate lining of stomach while Seatone guards your stomach lining from the harsh reactions of these medicines.
  • Medicines for reactive arthritis generally provide fast relief but it is temporary. However Seatone provides slow relief which is progressive.
  • Seatone is safe at higher doses but the medicines as antibiotics or NSAIDs can cause adverse effects at higher doses.

Reactive arthritis can be managed as follows:

  • Rest: In the early stages of reactive arthritis adequate rest and sleep can play a major role in recovery.
  • Exercise: To maintain muscle strength and keep joints moving you may be recommended by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist to do some exercises.

Genetic factors are thought to play a role in the development of reactive arthritis. Well you cannot change your genetic makeup but you can reduce exposure to the bacteria which cause reactive arthritis. Following things can help you to prevent the occurrence of reactive arthritis:

  • You must take care that you store food at proper temperatures and you eat food which is properly cooked to avoid food borne bacteria.
  • Use of condoms can lower the risk of some sexually transmitted infections that stimulate the reactive arthritis.

The prognosis for reactive arthritis is usually very good. Now, there are many effective treatments for reactive arthritis. The prognosis is best if the disease is diagnosed and treated promptly. It is possible to completely cure reactive arthritis if the specific cause is identified and eliminated. Complications as eye, skin, or prostate disease require co-management with their appropriate specialist (ophthalmologists, and urologists) along with rheumatologists.

Disclaimer : All information on this website is only for general educational purpose and it cannot substitute the consultation with a doctor. It is highly suggested that you seek advice from doctor to determine your requirements. Women who are in their gestation or lactation period and children should not take any supplement without the consultation of their doctor.