Thursday, June 13, 2024

How To Cope With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ra Fatigue: How Do I Control Chronic Fatigue From Ra

How to cope with rheumatoid arthritis? – Dr. Prashanth Jain

Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating condition that causes a wide range of symptoms. One of the most prevalent symptoms experienced in suffering from rheumatoid arthritis is chronic fatigue. Fighting fatigue for rheumatoid arthritis patients seems like an ongoing uphill battle.

For those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, feelings of fatigue and constant tiredness can make it difficult to get through each day. But there are some ways to help beat fatigue, stay alert, and feel more rested and happy.

Evening Primrose Oil Supplements

Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.

A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.

Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.

Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.

According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.

A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.

Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.

Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.

Coping With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hearing those two words come from your doctors mouth causes many feelings in you. As soon as you receive the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, you begin the coping with rheumatoid arthritis process.

Consider the parallel between a loved ones death and a medical diagnosis. Both are losses that trigger changing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Both take time to process and resolve, with acceptance being the goal at the end of the road.

The acceptance you seek can only be had through positive coping skills. If your coping skills are overwhelmingly negative, you will have extended periods of denial, anger, depression and anxiety that continue on a steady rotation. Your mental health will decline with your physical health. You will never attain the acceptance, understanding and peace that you prize.

You want acceptance and peace, but you have to work for it. Positive coping following a chronic medical diagnosis does not happen magically. Instead, it requires an effort that is deliberate, organized and followed with consistency. So, you need a plan for coping with rheumatoid arthritis.

Recommended Reading: Aching Arms And Hands Rheumatoid Arthritis

How To Manage Ra Pain: 9 Tips

Most people with rheumatoid arthritis have some pain. You can take steps to keep it from stopping you.

  • Tell your doctor how you feel. They may want to change your medications or their doses. Itâs important for you to let them know whatâs going on. Donât say âIâm fine,â or, âItâs OKâ if itâs really not.
  • Take a breathing break. Quietly tune in to your breaths. Breathe in and out normally. Just notice each one. If other thoughts come up , let them go and turn your attention back to your breath. Itâs a simple way to tune in and calm down. Even a few minutes a day can help.
  • Keep doing things you enjoy. The activities you love help you feel good inside and out. If some are hard to do when your RA flares up, ask your doctor or a physical therapist for tips to make them easier.
  • Use heat, cold, and massage. Put an ice pack on an inflamed area. Use heat to warm up a stiff joint. Gentle massage can also give quick relief for mild symptoms.
  • Notice your emotions. If your pain starts to make you feel bad a lot of the time — youâre depressed, angry, or anxious often — tell your doctor, or talk with a professional counselor. It may help to do cognitive behavioral training, where you learn new, positive ways to handle pain and other problems.
  • Join a support group. Youâll be able to talk with people who know what you are going through because theyâve been in the same situation.
  • Show Sources

    Use Your Energy More Efficiently

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Ra. Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis. How to ...

    During an RA flare, dont waste energy on activities that arent necessary or helping you get well. For example, sit down while brushing your teeth or doing your hair. If your finger joints hurt, wear clothing thats easy to get on and off. Ask family members and friends for help with specific chores and errands.

    See Coping with RA Fatigue by Prioritizing and Simplifying Tasks

    Recommended Reading: Mayo Clinic On Arthritis

    Seeking Help And Getting Through It

    I know now that the anger, self-pity, and suicidal thoughts with which I struggled were not just me being dramatic. It was me suffering from disease and going through the cycle of pain and stages of grief.

    This was especially heightened during the postpartum depression I experienced after the birth of my son, when my hormones and inflammation were raging uncontrollably. That was when I saw that I needed help from a health care professional.

    A clinical social worker was a key component in my health care team and helping me accept my new life. Before my diagnosis I had no idea what mental health care could offer me, and how much I needed that compassion. Not all health care providers who save you are patching up wounds or prescribing medication. Some simply listen to you and help you understand you are not alone.

    As I went through medication after medication, I found myself having to stop many because the side effects exasperated my poor mental health state. I learned why some drug commercials say that medications may cause suicidal thoughts and actions or increased depression. It takes time to find the right RA medication that works for your symptoms and doesnt cause too many side effects.

    The Negative Moods Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

    RA makes me feel grumpy because functioning through chronic pain and fatigue especially around others who dont get it can be extremely frustrating. Its hard to see your body not working like it used to or like you need it to.

    RA makes me feel angry and bitter toward people who did not support or help me when I needed it or toward those who have not shown me understanding or compassion, especially when they assume I am fine because I dont look sick or I am too young for my disease to be serious. Im angry when Im told I am fine by people whove never had to question their health like I do.

    RA makes me feel annoyed when people tell me I shouldnt listen to Western medicine or when they incorrectly opine that the disease-modifying medicines I take to treat my illness are actually making me sick. Theyre not and I desperately need them.

    RA makes me feel worried that I cant be the mother I need to be to my son. RA makes me worried about whether others will accept me as I search for love and friendship, like any 33-year-old woman does. I often struggle with when to reveal my disease to others.

    RA makes me feel hopeless because my disease is not curable, comes with so many misconceptions and myths, and is invisible to many. RA made me feel like a fraud at first because of those misconceptions and how others dont believe me.

    Read Also: Finger Arthritis Relief

    What Is An Ra Flare

    Flare-ups are episodes of increased disease activity in which the body is fighting itself. With RA flare-ups, inflammation increases.

    With a flare-up, you experience a short-term increase in RA symptoms. A flare-up can last a few days or persist for weeks or months.

    Flare-ups typically involve joint stiffness and pain, but all RA symptoms can worsen, including fatigue. If a flare-up is especially severe, it can affect your ability to perform daily tasks.

    Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

    How I cope with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis

    While rheumatoid arthritis affects everyone differently, some common symptoms include:

    • Pain, swelling, stiffness and tenderness in more than one joint.
    • Stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods.
    • Pain and stiffness in the same joints on both sides of your body.
    • Fatigue.

    More than 1.3 million people in the U.S. have RA. It typically starts to develop between the ages of 30 and 60. Some people may have joint symptoms develop over the course of a few years, while others may have symptoms that progress rapidly.

    Also Check: Rheumatoid Arthritis Upper Back Pain

    Be Smart About Daily Tasks

    Rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t have to change your daily to-do list. Some simple fixes can make it easier to get things done.

    Streamline your approach

    Have a plan. When you have RA, you may have less energy. So it helps to be organized. If you want to get things done tomorrow, plan how you’ll do it now. Keep your goals realistic, and don’t forget to schedule breaks.

    Save your energy. What slows you down? Putting on your shoes? Getting ready in the morning? Once you know the things that get you stuck, you can come up with ways to make them easier.

    Divide up the day. Spend 30 minutes on a task, and then do something else. Focusing too much on one thing could leave you feeling achy and fatigued. If you switch things up, you’ll get more done.

    Pace yourself, especially on good days. Even if you wake up feeling like you can do anything, squeezing in too much can backfire. If you overdo it — going on a hike or gardening all afternoon — your fatigue the next day could set you back. Tackle a high-energy task or two in the morning, take a short nap at lunchtime, and do lighter work in the afternoon.

    In the kitchen

    Use a stool. Don’t stand while you cook. Sit and rest. You can wash dishes from a stool too.

    Cook simpler meals. Stick with easy recipes, especially after work. Use shortcuts like pre-cut vegetables. Save dishes with lots of steps for weekends or nights when a family member can help. Or split up the cooking over 2 days.

    Bathing and dressing

    Around the house

    Try Starting Your Day With Meditation

    Meditation can help you live better with chronic illness and pain. Studies indicate that regular meditation can reduce anxiety, pain, and depression.

    Learning to meditate is simple there are many books and recorded programs that can show you how. Starting the day with a meditation or body scan can help you reset a body that is consumed by morning stiffness. Combined with some of the other techniques mentioned, it can help you have a better day.

    Also Check: How To Prevent Arthritis In Fingers

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Management

    While the overall goal of rheumatoid arthritis therapy is to prevent disease progression and further joint damage, pain management is a necessary daily practice for patients, in order to maximize their quality of life. Chronic pain can adversely affect a patients ability to work, participate in physical and social activities, and can generally interrupt day-to-day life.

    Despite medications and aggressive forms of treatment, many rheumatoid arthritis patients experience ongoing pain and stiffness. The reality is, it may never completely go away. But there are specific things patients can do to manage pain and limit its impact on their lives.

    Sleepand Restto Manage Ra Flares

    5 Tips for Coping with Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

    If you’re like the average person, you’re not getting anywhere near the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night. But lack of sleep may trigger a flare up and leave you feeling even more exhausted.

    Rest is important, too. It signals your body to slow down. Work in a little restand enough sleepevery day. Your body will definitely thank you.

    Although it’s difficult to predict when an RA flare-up will flare, these tips may help prevent future flares. And if you do have a flare-up, you can significantly help reduce its effects by taking extra good care of yourself.

    If you have frequent flare-ups or an incredibly intense flare-up, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor and let him or her know what symptoms you’ve been experiencing.


  • Aerobic exercise safe and effective for rheumatoid arthritis patients. American College of Rheumatology Web site. February 23, 2010. Accessed November 17, 2011.
  • Woods T. Foods that cause arthritis flare-ups. Livestrong Web site. Updated March 28, 2011. Accessed January 16, 2012.
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    Recommended Reading: What Makes Rheumatoid Arthritis Worse

    Take Care Of Yourself

    Taking care of yourself and staying on top of the disease is a big part of RA treatment. Take your medicine as directed. Try not to skip a dose. Tell your doctor about any side effects. Talk to them or your pharmacist if you have questions.

    Even when your pain and stiffness is less of a problem, keep up with your medical appointments. Check in with your doctor two to four times a year.

    If you don’t already see a rheumatologist, consider asking for a referral. This is a doctor who specializes in arthritis. They can review your treatment plan and see if it needs any tweaks. Studies show that people with RA who see a rheumatologist several times a year do better.

    Coping With Ra Is A Personal Journey

    Copper bracelets, yoga, hot yoga, goat yoga, hot goat yoga – look, heres the bottom line: coping with RA is as personal as your underwear you wear what makes you comfortable and the only ones you show to people are the ones you want them to see . Meditation, medication, elevation, delectation or vacation it doesnt matter.

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    Chill Your Joint Stiffness With Ice

    On the other end of the spectrum, some people find ice to be more useful in treating their pain and stiffness.

    Usually getting an ice pack involves having to get out of bed, but you can get packs that turn cold when you bend or crack them check with your local pharmacy.Keep a couple in your nightstand for use on bad mornings. Remember to wrap the ice pack in a towel before you apply it to your skin and limit the application to no more than 20 minutes at a time.

    How To Manage Ra Fatigue

    How To Deal With Setbacks & Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Ups

    You may need a mix of treatments, lifestyle changes, and a new attitude to keep fatigue under control.

    Recognize that fatigue is a part of life with RA. You cant always control it or predict when youll be too tired to work or join a social event. Listen to your body. Youll feel better if you take the time to rest when you need to. Take breaks if you have a task that takes a lot of energy.

    Tune out the guilt. Your friends and family may not really get how bad you feel. You arent lazy. Youre exhausted by your arthritis. Dont feel guilty if you have to rest instead of going out or leave early because youre too tired. Explain that fatigue is a symptom of your disease.

    Dont push yourself to keep up with everyone else. If you need help with household chores that exhaust you, ask others to give you a hand. Cut out any steps you dont need to complete a task. Set your own pace. You decide what you can and cant do on days when fatigue is high.


    Get regular exercise. The last thing you may want to do is work out. But studies show that aerobic activity — the kind that makes your heart beat faster — cuts fatigue in people who have an immune system disorder like RA.

    Exercise also strengthens the muscles around your joints, keeps your bones strong, and boosts your mood.

    Try to do something, even if its just stretching, on days when youre really tired.

    Two or three short periods of downtime may give you the boost you need.


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    Tips For Coping With Ra Flare

    Get tips on how to control rheumatoid arthritis flare-upswhen your RA symptoms temporarily intensify. This slideshow provides you with 5 ways to help you cope with RA flare-ups.

    If you have rheumatoid arthritis , you know that all too-familiar feeling: extremely stiff, swollen joints, tremendous fatiguebasically a time when your symptoms get temporarily worse. This magnification of symptoms is called a flare-up, or flare.

    These flares can happen to anyone with RAeven when your RA is well-controlled. In this slideshow, we show you what to do to deal with RA flare-ups.

    What Is Morning Stiffness

    Stiffness in joints affected by RA is due to swelling caused by the inflammation of active disease.

    Although it can happen at any time after an extended period of inactivity, such as sitting still, it is especially prevalent in the morning. This is partly because you don’t move much overnight while youre sleeping. However, studies have also shown that inflammation follows the circadian rhythms of the body. This can explain why you sometimes feel awful early in the day and much better toward the evening.

    Don’t Miss: Living With Arthritis In Back

    Yeah But What Works For You

    Yeah, but what works for you? I hear you asking somehow through the internet. Well, what works for me is a combination of a few things. First, theres pain meds, then sometimes I also use pain meds, and even on occasion I mix in some pain meds when it gets really bad. One time, I decided to be adventurous and I tried some pain meds!

    Sorry, but there is only one thing that really works well enough for me to be considered a remedy pain meds. How do I know this? Well, because in the thirty-some-odd years Ive dealt with RA, Ive tried everything out there. No, really, I mean everything. Dont believe me? Well lets go through the list, shall we?

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