Vivienne Parry explores the world of clinical trials.
Doctors can offer traditional treatments or places on clinical trials, but, when all else fails, what can patients do for themselves? Vivienne visits a Challenging Pain course run by Arthritis Care in Plymouth and hears how patients are trialling their own pain relieving techniques at home.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the whole body, but especially the joints, and it can be so painful that a normal life is not possible.
Even the newest 'biologic' drugs - which target individual molecules that cause the inflammation and damage in the joints - don't work for everybody, and so ongoing research is needed.
Patients who volunteer for such studies are closely monitored and often hope for success for future patients, as well as relief of their own pain.
Vivienne Parry asks what patients can do for themselves to relieve pain.