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Spondyloarthritis

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We've put together information to answer your questions about RA.

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What is Spondyloarthritis?

Spondyloarthritis is a form or arthritis (swelling in joints) that involves the spine. It can also cause arthritis in other joints as well as enthesitis or inflammation where tendons and ligaments attach to bones. In some people it affects other organs in the body such as the eyes, intestines and skin. It is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissues in the body.

There are different types of spondyloarthritis including:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Reactive arthritis (formerly called Reiter’s syndrome)
  • Enteropathic spondylitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis

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Our Approach

Early diagnosis and treatment are important. At UR Medicine, our experienced health care workers provide diagnostic testing, education, physical activity programs, and the latest medicines—some of them delivered in our state-of-the-art infusion center. Our health care team will work with other specialists to provide you with the care and treatment you need. We will also help you coordinate the appointments you need for lab work, x-rays, and other tests.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

One of our expert rheumatologists will make the diagnosis based on your symptoms and exam findings, as well as blood tests, X-rays and sometimes MRI. They will also order tests or consult with other specialists as needed to look for inflammation in other organs.

Treatments

There is no cure for spondyloarthritis. Symptoms vary from person to person so treatment will be tailored to each individual. Treatment with medications can improve pain and swelling and help prevent joint damage. Physical and occupational therapy can help preserve motion in the spine.

Medications

  • Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs reduce or relieve pain and help reduce swelling in your joints so you feel better. Some NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are available over the counter.  Others require a prescription.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Sometimes pain and swelling is localized to one joint or tendon.  An injection of corticosteroids can be very effective in controlling symptoms in that area.
  • Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): These medications decrease inflammation and may protect joints from permanent damage. DMARDS take several weeks to begin working.  Sulfasalazine is an example.
  • Biologics: Biologics are medications that block proteins which cause inflammation and cause joint damage. Biologics cannot be taken orally. Examples include etanercept and infliximab..

Surgery

In patients with extensive hip involvement, hip replacement can be beneficial in restoring a more active lifestyle. Learn more about UR Medicine Orthopedic Surgeons.

Lifestyle Management

  • Healthy Eating: Food choices alone cannot treat symptoms. However, the right combination of different foods can help you feel your best overall and maintain a healthy weight. Foods rich in omega-3s and antioxidants may help control inflammation. UR Medicine nutritionists can help you develop a diet plan that works best for you. Learn about our UR Medicine Improve Nutrition Program.
  • Staying Active: Staying active is an important part of staying healthy. It will improve your energy, range of movement, and flexibility as well as increase bone strength. It is especially important in maintaining flexibility in the spine.  UR Medicine physical therapists can also work with you to devise an exercise regimen that is best for you. Learn more about UR Medicine Physical Therapy.
  • Smoking Cessation: Smoking makes symptoms for people with spondyloarthritis worse. At UR Medicine our team of physicians, nurse practitioners and lifestyle counselors can help you develop a plan to quit. Learn more about the UR Medicine Stop Smoking Program.

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What Sets Us Apart

Because we’re an academic medical center, our physicians also lead research into better treatments and cures. Our experts have published numerous articles in national journals, and they work collaboratively with other specialists to create ideal treatment plans for patients.

Onsite Infusion Center

Infusion Center at Lattimore RoadSome people with rheumatoid arthritis need medications that cannot be taken at home. Two of our rheumatology clinics (Lattimore Road in Rochester and Red Creek Drive in Henrietta) have an Infusion Center. An infusion center is a room in the clinic where patients can receive these medicines in comfort and with privacy. Nurses in the Infusion Center will also provide patients with support and education.

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Our Providers

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UR Medicine Rheumatology Locations

Phone: (585) 486-0901
Fax: (585) 340-5399

Rochester
Part of Strong Memorial Hospital
125 Lattimore Road, Suite G-110
Rochester, NY 14620
Get Directions

Henrietta
Part of Strong Memorial Hospital
400 Red Creek Drive, Suite 240
Rochester, NY 14623
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Canandaigua
Part of FF Thompson Hospital
Thompson Professional Building
395 West Street, Suite 007
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Get Directions

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Patient Education and Support

Our team has developed printable handouts and videos which answer many of the commonly asked questions about diagnosing, treating and living with RA. If you have concerns about RA or your treatment, talk to your doctor.

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Clinical Research

Our researchers are studying ways to improve treatment and quality of life of people with rheumatoid arthritis. You may wish to help others by participating in a clinical study while receiving the newest treatment available.

To learn about participating in a clinical trial, see our Clinical Trials and Research Studies or contact us at AIR_Research_info@urmc.rochester.edu.

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