Arthritis Doctors Maryland

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes swelling and pain in the joints. Typically, if there is swelling in one joint, it will be found in the same joint on the other side of your body. Paralleled inflammation in the body is a way for doctors to distinguish individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

When the lining of the joints becomes inflamed it can cause painful swelling and long-lasting symptoms. This thin lining is called synovium. This inflammation can be a result of your immune system mistakenly attacking the healthy cells in your body. Eventually, this chronic inflammation can lead to permanent damage on the joints. This inflammation in the joints is referred to as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). 

Women with chronic wrist pain

How It Effects The Body

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes swelling and pain in the joints. Typically, if there is swelling in one joint, it will be found in the same joint on the other side of your body. Paralleled inflammation in the body is a way for doctors to distinguish individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

If you believe you are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, or would like to discuss the therapies we offer, Dr. Jyothi Rao can evaluate your symptoms and create a treatment plan tailored for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Arthritis Doctors FAQ's

What types of conditions do arthritis doctors treat?

Arthritis doctors can treat a wide range of conditions, including different types of arthritis, joint pain, and other conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system.

What can I expect during a visit with an arthritis doctor?

During a visit with an arthritis doctor, you can expect to have a comprehensive consultation and physical exam, as well as potentially undergoing tests such as X-rays or blood tests to evaluate your health and identify underlying issues. The doctor will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific condition and supports your overall well-being.

What are the treatment options for arthritis?

Treatment options for arthritis can vary depending on the specific condition and the severity of the symptoms. Treatment may include medication, physical therapy, joint injections, and other therapies such as acupuncture or massage. In some cases, surgery may be recommended.

What are some signs that I should see a doctor for arthritis?

Signs that you should see a doctor for arthritis may include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, or redness, as well as difficulty moving or using the affected joints.

What are some potential complications of arthritis?

Complications of arthritis may include joint deformity, limited mobility, and difficulty performing daily tasks. In some cases, arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, such as the eyes, skin, or internal organs.

Can lifestyle changes help manage arthritis symptoms?

Yes, lifestyle changes can help manage arthritis symptoms. For example, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and practicing stress management techniques may all help alleviate symptoms of arthritis.

What is an Integrative Medicine Approach?

Integrative medicine combines conventional medicine and alternative therapies to enhance a patient’s vitality, focusing on whole body wellness. An Integrative Medicine physician will address the root cause of your illness and not just treat the symptoms. By determining what the root is, you and your practitioner can devise a health plan to successfully treat the disease. At Shakthi, we take into account other factors in your life that may be preventing the root cause of your illness or disease from fully healing. We work closely with our patients to address their immediate health needs while developing a personalized wellness plan that encourages whole body wellness. You can learn more here.

What are the benefits of integrative medicine?

Integrative medicine’s biggest benefit is the fact it looks at the patient as a whole individual and addresses the root causes of illnesses by doing so. I went along with this though integrative medicine promotes a symbiotic and collaborative relationship between the doctor and the patient. This means that there is better communication. Another great benefit is that it utilizes every therapy possible to ensure that the patient gets the treatment that is perfect for them.


Where are you located?

We have two locations in Mount Airy and Elkridge Maryland.

Why is integrative medicine not covered by insurance?

Over the past decade or so, integrative medicine has been becoming more and more popular. Because of this popularity, there has been an increase in doctors that practice it. But even with all this popularity unfortunately insurance does not cover integrative health care. The lack of coverage from insurance companies is solely because integrative medicine often encompasses treatments that these health insurance companies degenerative treatments. Because these treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, infrared sauna, and many others are all deemed alternative they are not covered.

What costs are involved? 

We offer two options:
• Yearly Membership
• A La Carte

How do I make an appointment?

You can expect your first visit with Dr. Rao and our team to be more comprehensive than anything you have ever experienced. Our practice is not a revolving door, we won't just visit with you for 5 minutes, hand you a prescription and send you on your way. You can expect the initial visit to last approximately 60 minutes. In that time, Dr. Rao will spend time with you, listen to your history, ask questions, hear your concerns. We put great emphasis on the listening and hearing part of the consult. It is vital in developing a strong doctor, patient relationship and is the only way we can help you get on the right path to healing. After your consult, we will order your testing. Depending on your specific needs a number of tests will be administered. Testing is tailored to each individual. Schedule Appointment Here.

What are five alternative medicines?

There are many different types of alternative medicines but many of them can fall under one of the five main alternative categories. These categories are homeopathy, eastern medicine, naturopathy, and Ayurveda. Within these five types so there are many variations and so choosing one that works for you all relies on what exactly you're looking to gain from choosing alternative medicines.

What does Shakthi Mean?

Shakthi (Shuk-thee) means Strength, Empowerment, and Agent of Change.

Shakthi Digital Guide

At Shakthi Health and Wellness we offer a la carte and yearly plans that are more comprehensive and often cheaper than traditional insurance plans.

What To Expect

Arthritis Specialists

Meet Our Doctors 

Our team is composed of board certified medical doctors who are highly knowledgeable in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis. Our Specialized Health Care model provides patients with in depth consults with each appointment without the restrictions of time limits and jumping through insurance hoops. 

Jyothi Rao


Dr. Jyothi Rao has been practicing medicine for over 20 years. She received her Doctorate of Medicine (MD) from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed her internship and residency at the prestigious New England Medical Center (Tufts) in Boston. Before opening Shakthi Health & Wellness Center, Dr. Rao practiced medicine in New York and Maryland.

Sudhir Rao


Dr. Sudhir Rao obtained his Medical Doctorate from St. George's University School of Medicine, and is the founder of Pain and Spine Specialists. Despite Dr. Rao's years of training focusing on traditional medicine, he developed a strong interest in Functional and Integrative Medicine to treat chronic illness with alternative methods after a personal experience with limitations in traditional medicine.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis? 

  • Joint pain 
  • Joint swelling 
  • Fatigue 
  • Joint stiffness 
  • Loss of joint mobility 

While the symptoms of RA may vary from person to person, there are common bodily locations they may first appear. Early pain symptoms of RA manifest in the hands, moving towards the knuckles, wrists and elbows. However, RA can appear anywhere on your body including, toes, hips, and your ankles.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis? 

Because Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammation autoimmune disorder, one needs to understand what autoimmune disorders do to the body in order to receive effective treatment. When your body’s natural defensives start attacking the healthy cells and tissue, you are suffering from an autoimmune disorder. Your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body, wreaking havoc on the healthy tissue. 

When your immune system begins acting abnormally (either with low activity or overactivity) healthy tissue can be damaged. This abnormality in the immune system causes the autoimmune disorder.  

Because doctors don’t fully understand what causes autoimmune disorders, that means the direct cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not fully understood either. Other potential risk factors that enhance an individual's chances of developing RA are age (typically between 40-60), hereditary history, obesity, and harmful environments. 

How Do You Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis? 

Recognizing the symptoms is critical for effective care. Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is most effective when detected and diagnosed early. After evaluation from your physician, and depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be referred to a specialty doctor, a rheumatologist.  

A rheumatologist is a physician with specialty training in the diagnoses and treatment of arthritis, and diseases in the joints, muscles, and bones. This allows the individual to begin treatment promptly and prevent further deterioration to their joints.  

Treatment can vary from person to person. For most suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a combination of treatments is required to manage symptoms and improve an individual’s quality of life. Common treatments include combinations of pharmacological approaches and home remedies. These include: 

  • Medications (NSAIDs, steroids, DMARDs) 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Surgery 
  • Healthy weight management 
  • Light exercise 
  • Acupuncture 
  • Massage therapy 
  • Cognitive therapy (to help you emotionally cope with your symptoms) 

If left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can spread to other regions of the body, wreaking havoc. It is important to begin treatment under the care of a medical professional who is skilled in identifying your symptoms correctly and providing effective treatment.  

If you believe you are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, or would like to discuss the therapies we offer, CALL Shakthi Health and Wellness Center today! With an Integrative Medicine approach, Dr. Jyothi Rao will evaluate your symptoms and create a treatment plan tailored for you. Speak with our dedicated staff to schedule your consultation and begin optimizing your body’s vitality. Call (301) 703-5067 and speak to our concierge staff today! 

About Us

We believe in practicing medicine that focuses on whole body health. As integrative medicine doctors we focus our on root cause of your condition with comprehensive treatments that actually heal the body rather than just masking the symptoms of your illness. 

Helpful Resources

July 11

Tips to Manage Chronic Fatigue from Rheumatoid Arthritis

Tips to Manage Chronic Fatigue from Rheumatoid Arthritis

February 17

Pros and Cons of Acupuncture: Is it worth it?

Pros and Cons of Acupuncture: Is it worth it?

January 20

Prevention is the Best Medicine

Prevention is the Best Medicine

May 5

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month

Digital Guide

A comprehensive guide to our services, providers, and locations.

Patient Testimonials

Patient Testimonials

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Susan Doyle

I started by seeing Dr. Sudhir Rao for my Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome. I had an accident in July 2010 that caused nerve damage in my ankle. After treatments and surgery, it spread up the entire left side of my body. The only way to describe how you feel is by saying you’re a human pinball machine ? you just never know where the pain is going to be that minute. I had asked about acupuncture because someone had told me that it worked for them. I was at the point of trying anything to lessen the pain because it was getting worse every day.

Anonymous Patient

I am actually a relatively healthy 50-year-old woman. I try to eat well and exercise, but I (like many) felt the creep of age in the form a subtle pounds and decreasing energy. Dr. Rao helped point me in the direction of the correct detox program for me (Core Restore!) as well as the supplements I needed to boost my metabolism and increase my energy! I still need to eat what works for me and avoid the things that don't, and I still have to exercise every day, but my clothes fit better and I have more energy!!

- Shakthi Patients

Anna Smoot

I came to see Dr. Rao with symptoms of chronic fatigue, abdominal pains, depression, and weight gain. I had seen a couple other doctors and they had found that I had very high inflammation levels and over 15 food allergies/sensitivities. They wanted me to just take prescription drugs, but I wanted more than a quick fix. I wanted my health and my life back! When I scheduled the appointment, I was surprised how by helpful Kelly was on the phone. I didn’t know the details of my insurance coverage and Kelly offered to call my insurance for me. I’ve never had anyone at a doctor’s office do that before.

Debbie Helman

After visiting the Shakthi website and reading other patient testimonials, I was curious about the wide variety of treatments that were available. I have a very slow metabolism, was fatigued, had insomnia, back pain, and just didn’t feel as well as I wanted to in general. I had more allergic reactions and respiratory issues in the preceding months before coming to see Dr. Jyothi Rao. I had completed three courses of prednisone while under the treatment of my traditional doctor and was fed up with that cycle and was looking for another path.

- Debbie Helman

Linda J.

I was given the gift of Dr. Rao's integrative specialty care for Christmas in 2016. I didn?t take advantage of it until March of 2017. My mindset at the time was negative. I had heard about changing eating habits and I felt that I liked the foods I was eating and I was nearly 70, so why change now? After meeting with Dr. Rao and hearing her suggestions, I said I would take it one small step at a time and see what happens.

I was in the worst shape of my life

I was in the worst shape of my life with depression and anxiety. I had given up. Shakthi provided me with a manageable plan that included supplements, diet, and an exercise program that has transformed my body and given me a new outlook on life. Perhaps the most surprising outcome was learning how to be healthy and have a good relationship with my body. I am now more productive, energetic, and focused. The fog that had been clouding my thoughts has lifted.

- Shakthi Patient

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What To Expect

How Treatment Works

Our doctors and staff take time to get invested in your health and well-being. We've taken a step back from mainstream medicine and are challenging the norm. Everyone's healthcare needs are different. You are different. We believe patients shouldn't settle. Our practice is not a revolving door. We listen, and most importantly, we hear you.


Appointments are conducted on an as-needed basis. Patients can expect appointments to be more thorough and focused on their needs. As Integrative speciality care doctors, we see a limited number of patients which means each of our patients receives dedicated care without the concern of being “rushed” our of an appointment.

Diagnostic Testing

We offer patients scientifically backed health assessments to better understand the root causes of their health conditions. We evaluate any disruptions to your health and body to develop effective wellness plans to optimize your vitality. To learn more about the specific tests we offer visit this page here

Costs Involved

Patients receive personalized and tailored care in exchange for a flat fee. Overall cost will be discussed during your initial consultation. Each subsequent appointment will not need to be individually paid for. All patients receive unlimited access to their physicians which leads to better overall health and wellness.

Choose A Plan

Are you ready to make long wait times a thing of the past? View our plan options below:

Contact Us

Our Locations

Our patient care coordinators are available to answer questions Monday - Friday from 8:30 am - 5:00pm.

Mt Airy

2702 Back Acre Circle

Mt. Airy, MD 21771


6816 Deerpath Rd Elkridge, MD 21075

Get In Touch!

Main Phone

(301) 703-5067

Main Phone

(301) 703-5067



Fax #

(301) 703-8880

Fax #

(301) 703-8880

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