Sunday, March 3, 2024

What Can You Do To Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

The 4 Ps Of Energy Conservation: Planning Pacing Prioritizing And Positioning

Safe Exercise Tips : How Do I Exercise With Rheumatoid Arthritis?


This involves trying to use your body in the ideal way. If you are a morning person, schedule activities that are difficult for the morning, when you typically feel your best. Or, if you usually feel better during the afternoon, wait until then to attempt the task. Also, make sure you have enough time to accomplish the task and, when necessary, plan time for breaks. Try this: Write down your tasks on a calendar.


Related to planning, is pacing. Don’t try to rush a task, but proceed at a moderate tempo. Movements that are either too fast or too slow can be taxing on your joints. Power napping for 10 or 20 minutes at a time, can be extremely effective in reducing symptoms and increasing productivity. Try this: Build rest breaks into your daily/weekly tasks.


Perform the most important activities, and postpone or eliminate tasks that are unnecessary. For example, wait to do a physically difficult task until someone is available to help you. Use your energy for things that only you can do. Try this: Write each task on a sticky note. Then arrange them in order of priority.


How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed

RA can be difficult to diagnose because many conditions cause joint stiffness and inflammation. Your doctor will do a physical examination, checking your joints to see if they are swollen and to find out how easily they move. It is important to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms, not just the ones you think are important.

If your doctor thinks you have RA, they should refer you to a specialist called a ‘rheumatologist’. A rheumatologist can diagnose this disease and ensure you receive the right treatment. If you have RA and have not yet seen a rheumatologist, you can ask your doctor for a referral.

Your doctor may carry out a series of tests, which may help to confirm the diagnosis, or they may refer you at the same time as requesting tests. Tests that you may have are outlined below.

What Is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks cells in the thyroid gland. Over time, this can cause chronic inflammation and eventual thyroid failure. Therefore, people with Hashimoto’s often develop hypothyroidism because their thyroid gland cannot produce thyroid hormone, which helps control metabolism.

Often, Hashimoto’s goes undetected until a person develops an underactive thyroid. Therefore, people with this condition develop symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Weight gain

Suppose you or your doctor suspect you have Hashimoto’s. In that case, you should order a complete thyroid panel to check your thyroid hormone levels and TPO antibodies, which help indicate if there is an autoimmune process at play.

Recommended Reading: How Can You Stop Arthritis In Your Hands

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes Symptoms Treatments And More

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that can causes joint pain, swelling and damage. Learn what causes RA and how to treat it.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation and pain. It happens when the immune system doesnt work properly and attacks the lining of the joints . The disease commonly affects the hands, knees or ankles, and usually the same joint on both sides of the body. But sometimes, RA causes problems in other parts of the body as well, such as the eyes, heart and circulatory system and/or lungs. For unknown reasons, more women than men get RA, and it usually develops in middle age. Having a family member with RA increases the odds of developing RA.


In a healthy person, the immune system fights invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. With an autoimmune disease like RA, the immune system mistakes the bodys cells for foreign invaders and releases inflammatory chemicals that attack, in the case of RA, the synovium. Thats the tissue lining around a joint that produces a fluid to help the joint move smoothly. The inflamed synovium gets thicker and makes the joint area feel painful and tender, look red and swollen and moving the joint may be difficult.

Researchers arent sure why some people develop RA. They think that these individuals have certain genes that are activated by a trigger in the environment, like a virus or bacteria, or physical or emotional stress or some other external factor.


Use Heat And Cold To Relieve Pain

10 Ways Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Body

Applying heat, either with a heating pad or warm water, can help relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain temporarily, the Mayo Clinic says. Katy says that taking regular baths with generous handfuls of Epsom salt helps ease her pain and stiffness.

Samantha sometimes uses a heating pad and she also swims in a heated pool when she is feeling well enough. When I get into an 80-degree pool, all the pain goes away, she says. I dont do it more often because of all the pain it takes to get to the pool. She also has a bathtub that she uses occasionally to get some relief.

On the flip side, exposure to cold temperatures may also reduce pain and inflammation, says the Mayo Clinic, which suggests using cold packs on your muscles after intense exercise. Be sure to put something between your skin and the pack to protect yourself.

Recommended Reading: Is Marijuana Good For Arthritis Pain

Ways To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a Chinese traditional therapy that requires a trained practitioner. There is no specific research regarding the effects of acupuncture on RA, but limited studies have reported that it reduces the amount of chemicals that cause inflammation.
  • Biofeedback therapy: Biofeedback therapy involves a technique to control automatic responses such as heart rate and blood pressure. Your therapist will teach you stress management techniques, which can help prevent attacks of RA and ease your pain.
  • Massage: Massage can help relieve pain. If you have had acute RA for a long time you may benefit from massage therapy from a trained massage therapist.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise may help strengthen the muscles near the affected joints. A physical therapist can provide guidance to make sure you are following the right techniques.
  • Heat: Heat helps relax your muscles and increase blood circulation. You can use a moist heating pad, warm damp towel, microwaveable hot pad, warm shower, or hot tub.
  • Cold: Cold has a numbing effect that reduces pain and swelling. Use an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time and take a 30-minute break in between.
  • Topical ointments: Most ointments are made from capsaicin which can be found in chili peppers. Application on affected joints may help reduce RA pain.
  • Passive muscle relaxation: This involves contracting and relaxing all of your musclesfrom your face to your feet. Inhale while contracting and exhale while relaxing.
  • Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

    Getting quality sleep is beneficial for health in general, of course. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , skimping on sleep can increase the risk of a whole host of health conditions, including high blood pressure, depression, and diabetes. Unfortunately, as you may well know, many people with rheumatoid arthritis find it difficult to get quality sleep because of the pain and discomfort. On the flip side, sleeping well may help reduce the associated fatigue and help you feel better overall.

    Practicing good sleep hygienewhich just means developing habits and behaviors that promote sleep and increase the chance youll fall asleep quickly then wake up refreshedis a great way to get better rest. Julie has a whole nighttime routine to wind down and get her body and mind ready for bed. I avoid blue light at least two hours before bed and have a red light in my bedroom. I can feel my brain kind of sigh when the red light comes on. Thats the beginning of my body anticipating bedtime, she says. Shes also conscious of what she does between dinner and bed, making sure to do only calming activities. She also showers and journals as part of her nighttime routine. Julie also tracks her sleep, which shes found helps her figure out whats influencing her rest. Sleep tracking isnt for everyone, but if youre curious about how it might impact your restand your rheumatoid arthritis symptomsconsider giving it a try.

    Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Cream For Arthritis Pain

    Starting And Raising A Family

    If you are taking medicines for rheumatoid arthritis, let your healthcare team know if you want to start a family or if you are worried about becoming pregnant while on medication.

    Some medications, such as methotrexate, leflunomide and biological treatments, should not be taken by men or women while they are trying for a baby. The doctors and nurses will work with you to ensure your rheumatoid arthritis is controlled while you are trying to get pregnant.

    Babies and young children are physically and mentally demanding for any parent, but particularly so if you have rheumatoid arthritis. If you are struggling to cope, it may help to talk to other people in the same situation as you. You may also be able to get additional support from your health visitor or occupational therapist to help you manage your young family.

    Want to know more?

    However, thanks to early treatment, inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis affecting other parts of the body is becoming less common.

    Physical And Occupational Therapy

    Rheumatoid Arthritis | Causes, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

    Physical therapy helps you to restore joint function through specific exercise. This can help alleviate pain for many patients. Activities like cooking and bathing can sometimes be difficult to perform and may cause pain. Occupational therapy will help you to learn how to change some of your daily behaviors so they arent painful.

    Other professional therapy services that can help alleviate pain include massage therapy and acupuncture.

    Recommended Reading: Does Glucosamine Help Arthritis Pain

    Next Steps & Resources:


    • J Nutr. 2014 Jul 144:1037-42. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.189480. Epub 2014 Apr 17. Dietary intake of advanced glycation end products did not affect endothelial function and inflammation in healthy adults in a randomized controlled trial. Semba RD1, Gebauer SK2, Baer DJ2, Sun K3, Turner R3, Silber HA3, Talegawkar S4, Ferrucci L5, Novotny JA2.
    • Autoimmun Rev. 2018 Sep 10. pii: S1568-997230210-6. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2018.05.009. Are we really what we eat? Nutrition and its role in the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Philippou E1, Nikiphorou E2.
    • Adv Nutr. 2017 Jan 17 8:54-62. doi: 10.3945/an.116.013912. Print 2017 Jan. Formation of Fructose-Mediated Advanced Glycation End Products and Their Roles in Metabolic and Inflammatory Diseases. Gugliucci A1.
    • Neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment causes obesity, diabetes, and macrovesicular steatohepatitis with liver nodules in DIAR mice. Tsuneyama K1, Nishida T, Baba H, Taira S, Fujimoto M, Nomoto K, Hayashi S, Miwa S, Nakajima T, Sutoh M, Oda E, Hokao R, Imura J.
    • Rheumatology . 2013 May 52:856-67. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes376. Epub 2013 Jan 3. The protective effect of alcohol on developing rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scott IC1, Tan R, Stahl D, Steer S, Lewis CM, Cope AP.

    Remedies Now Target Inflammation As Well As The Ache

    by Barbara Stepko, AARP, February 1, 2019

    En español | We all know what its like to wake up in the morning with an aching back or stiff knees. But for those with chronic inflammatory arthritis, a disease in which our immune system starts attacking healthy cells by mistake manifesting in widespread pain and red, swollen, inflamed joints the discomfort is very different. The distinction has to do with the pervasiveness of the experience, says Nortin Hadler, M.D., emeritus professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Without medicine, people with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis are lucky to feel good ever during the day. It is remittent: There are good days, and there are bad days.

    Getting the disease under control with drugs, such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or biologics, can significantly reduce the pain. But while medication these days is very effective, its not completely effective, says Nancy Shadick, M.D., a rheumatologist at Bostons Brigham and Womens Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Youre dealing with the intermittent flares or some ongoing pain or disability.

    You May Like: Are Eggs Bad For Psoriatic Arthritis

    Hand Therapies For Rheumatoid Arthritis

    When rheumatoid arthritis affects your hands and wrists, a variety of treatment options are available to help relieve pain, offer better mobility and prevent joint deformity.

    With its 29 joints and intricate network of muscles, ligaments and tendons to support them, the human hand is capable of exacting tasks such as performing surgery or playing the violin. But with arthritis, even the simplest of tasks can become difficult or painful. For rheumatoid arthritis of the hands, treatment includes good medical management, along with occupational therapy interventions for some. This could mean using splinting and adaptive aids to reduce deforming stresses on the joints of the hands and maintain mobility. Finally, if joint damage has occurred, surgery may be an option.


    Assistive Devices and Occupational Therapy


    In many cases, strengthening and stretching exercises, as prescribed by an occupational or physical therapist can also help relieve symptoms and improve function. In a 2016 study published in Arthritis Care & Research, 242 people with hand RA were randomly assigned to continue their regular treatment, while 246 were assigned to a program of exercises designed to improve a variety of hand and wrist movements. Researchers found improvements in grip strength at 4 months predicted improved hand function at 12 months.


    Quick Links

    Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis In Hands


    Many home care strategies, medical treatments, and surgeries help relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in the hands. Through trial and error, an individual may find one treatment or a combination of treatments that works best for them.

    Treatments specifically for the hand joints may be used in addition to treatments aimed at the whole body, such as medications and dietary or other lifestyle changes. A complete treatment plan can be designed with the help of a rheumatologist, orthopedist who specializes in the hand, or another physician familiar with rheumatoid arthritis in the hand.

    Also Check: How Does Methotrexate Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

    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.

    Ra Diet: What Foods To Eat If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis patients require a stable, healthy diet for a number of reasons. Patients may become overwhelmed by their chronic pain and inflammation, remain undernourished, or develop medical complications.

    Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of protecting your overall health, managing weight, improving energy levels, boosting your mental health and boosting your immune system. While diet alone cant treat your symptoms, the right diet for RA can certainly go a long way in helping you feel better overall.

    Recommended Reading: Does Arthritis Qualify For Social Security Disability

    How To Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis , but many dont know the source of the condition or how to relieve its symptoms. In this post, well discuss what Rheumatoid Arthritis is and who is most likely to be affected. Additionally, we will dive in to what its like to experience symptoms and how to find relief living with RA.

    Tips For Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Management

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Cure| Mudra for Rheumatoid Arthritis| How to cure joint pain? Alternate Healing

    Other than the pain itself, rheumatoid arthritis can cause many other problems and disruptions in life. There are some things you can do to stay healthy and reduce your pain. These are in addition to your regular treatments.

    Here are some tips to help you with your rheumatoid arthritis pain management and coping with the disease:

    Dont smoke: Smoking can have serious health consequences on rheumatoid arthritis patients. Smoking causes inflammation, which can complicate these disease and cause more pain.

    Be conscious of your use of joints: Try reducing the stress on your joints by being conscious of your daily activities. Picking up items and turning door handles can add pressure to your joints causing them to feel sore. Look for ways to adjust your daily habits and limit the aggressive use of your joints.

    Talk to your doctor and rheumatologist: If you still feel pain despite treatment, or you notice new pain, be sure to communicate with your physician and your rheumatologist. There may be additional pain relieving options available.

    Seek emotional support: Deal with any stress or trauma you may feel by joining a support group of other rheumatoid arthritis patients. Professional counseling may also help improve your mood and help you to remain positive.

    If you continue to experience chronic pain, there are several options for you to try. Talk to your rheumatologist about rheumatoid arthritis pain management options that are right for your individual case.

    You May Like: How To Ease Arthritis Pain In Fingers

    Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis is a lifelong disease. When its treated, it may go away for a little while, but it usually comes back. Its important to see your doctor as soon as symptoms begin. The earlier you start treatment, the better your outcome. Some of the damage from RA is irreversible, so finding the disease and treating it early is very important.

    If left untreated, RA can cause other health problems. Your hands may become bent or twisted. Other joints can become deformed. Inflammation will affect your cartilage and bones. Lung and heart problems also can occur. Talk to your doctor if you notice any new symptoms or problems.

    Popular Articles
    Related news