Rheumatoid arthritis can make even the simplest tasks difficult like opening the door or a jar, but you shouldn’t let it stop you from living a normal life. Use these tips to adapt to your lifestyle and enjoy each day.
It’s just after midnight and I’m sitting with my laptop trying to work. No matter how I position my hands the pain creeps slowly up my fingers and into my wrists moving up my elbows if I stay in one position too long. I shift around, rotate my wrists and pop my fingers bringing maybe 10 minutes of relief. My fingers disobey me almost displaying a will of their own as I watch typo after typo appearing on the screen. I wonder how I’m going to catch up with my work for school and for my internship after missing several days due to the pain. The pain scares me and it makes me angry.
While many people think of rheumatoid arthritis as something that only strikes people in mid-to-late life and with good reason given that the average age of diagnosis is around 60 years old, it can afflict people who are in their 20s, but that is not the norm. I’m 28 years old and I am still suffering from RA. Globally, it affects 1 to 2 per cent of the population.
Living with RA is quiet frustrating and debilitating, but keeping certain things in mind, life can become much easier. The activities or tips mentioned below can help a person’s ability to function independently and maintain a positive outlook. Read on.
Tips to keep in mind while living with Rheumatoid Arthritis to make life easier
- Rest and exercise : People with rheumatoid arthritis need a good balance between rest and exercise, with more rest when the disease is active and more exercise when it is not. Rest helps to reduce active joint inflammation and pain and to fight fatigue. The length of time for rest will vary from person to person, but in general, shorter rest breaks every now and then are more helpful than long times spent in bed. Exercise is important for maintaining healthy and strong muscles, preserving joint mobility, and maintaining flexibility. Exercise can also help people sleep well, reduce pain, maintain a positive attitude, and manage weight. Exercise programs should take into account the person’s physical abilities, limitations, and changing needs.
- Healthcare Team : In order to live well with RA, it's important to get the information and help you need. It is advised to take help of a homeopath to treat the ailment. The homeopathic treatment for RA aims at offering a symptomatic relief to patients and correcting altering immunity in order to control the progress of the disease. Besides offering you best Homeopathic Medicines for Rheumatoid Arthritis, homeopaths help you deal with the emotional, mental, and/or physical trauma. Your family, friends, colleagues, and employer may also see solutions where you don't.
- Heat : Heat can help reduce your pain, relax muscles and increase blood flow. You can apply heat to painful areas in many ways. For instance, you can take a hot shower, or bath, or sit in a sauna. You can also use a hot pack, an electric heating pad, or a heat lamp.
- Stress reduction : People with rheumatoid arthritis face emotional challenges as well as physical ones. The emotions they feel because of the disease—fear, anger, and frustration—combined with any pain and physical limitations can increase their stress level. Although there is no evidence that stress plays a role in causing rheumatoid arthritis, it can make living with the disease difficult at times. Stress also may affect the amount of pain a person feels. There are a number of successful techniques for coping with stress. Regular rest periods can help, as can relaxation, distraction, or visualization exercises. Exercise programs, participation in support groups, and good communication with the health care team are other ways to reduce stress.
- Healthful diet : There is no scientific evidence that any specific food or nutrient helps or harms people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, an overall nutritious diet with enough—but not an excess of—calories, protein, and calcium is important. Some people may need to be careful about drinking alcoholic beverages because of the medications they take for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Tool : There are so many wonderful products available today. If you work at a computer you may need a special chair or keyboard. Consider speech recognition software. If your job requires standing, have a soft surface under your feet. Use a cart if you need to move materials around. Your occupational therapist can help you make adjustments in your work environment.
Related: 10 Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis