Wow, I can't believe I see no one talking about this here.
When I was diagnosed with RA, my rhuemy said "We don't know what causes it and we don't know how to cure it, but we can slow it down". That was not what I wanted to hear. Like all of you probably felt, I was terrified. I went home and began researching RA. Just because the cause is not known, does not mean there is not a cause.
To my amazement, there is much documented research clearly indicating a number of causes. One of those causes (triggers) is Lyme disease. I already had a positive diagnosis for lyme which had not phased the rheumy or even peaked his interest. Another possible trigger I found was food allergies and this particular article promoted a vegan diet (no animal protein of any kind not even dairy or eggs). It said if food is your problem, go on this diet and you will see improvement within 2 weeks. I felt I could do anything for 2 weeks and it cost me nothing to try.
When I began the diet I could not stand long enough to shower due to swollen feet and ankles. I could not hold a pen to write or brush my hair due to swollen fingers, hands and wrists. All my joints were inflamed except my hips and spine. Two weeks later, my swelling had reduced about 50% from diet alone and I could now walk 2 hrs before having to sit. I could write and brush my hair again. This was very important to me.
When I went back to the rheumy for my follow up and told him about the diet results, he said "it has been scientifically proven that animal proteins promote inflamation in the joints". Uh-huh. Why didn't he tell me not to eat animal proteins the first visit? When I said I wanted to try low dose minocycline instead of mtx, he about screamed me out of his office. He did agree to give it a try though. Six months later I was so much better, he happily refilled my prescription.
One year later, he declared me nearly dormant and bloodwork supports this. I have dropped from a high moderate to a weak positive.
I found a doctor who was trained in nutrition to help me identify my food sensitivities and now I can eat lean meat without causing swelling to my joints. If I slip up and eat food I am allergic to, my joints react.
The low dose minocycline reduced my RA significantly but did not put me in remission. I have sought and finally found a rheumatologist who believes in infectious causes to RA. She has run extensive tests and found in addition to lyme I have babesia. She strongly suspects strep in my gut but that test had not come back as of my appt last week. She says when we eliminate these triggers, we will most certainly put the RA into remission.
Many rheumatologists do not pursue infections as a possible cause. They only treat symptoms.
If anyone here is interested in identifying and eliminating their causes to RA I highly recommend you research to learn about the many identified causes (there is no one single cause) and find a doctor who believes in and is trained in this approach. I will be happy to share with everyone things I have learned and sources I reference if interested.