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What are some tips for living with rheumatoid arthritis?

PRACTICAL TIPS

What are some tips for living with rheumatoid arthritis?

Although rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be a chronic and sometimes debilitating condition, a combination of medications and health behavior activities may help people with RA retain their independence and remain active. On this page, you’ll find useful tips and practical strategies to help you manage your RA, including:

  • Joint care techniques
  • Balancing rest and exercise
  • A healthy rheumatoid arthritis diet
  • Stress reduction techniques
  • Creating a support system

What time of the day are RA symptoms generally worse? ClickTap for answer

Joint care tips

  • Ask your doctor or physical therapist if using a splint for short periods would allow your painful or swollen joints to rest
  • Ask your doctor or physical therapist if you would benefit from the use of assistive devices, tools and gadgets to help reduce stress on your joints
  • Occupational and physical therapists can teach you techniques to help reduce pain and discomfort during everyday activities

Rest and exercise

People with RA need to maintain a proper balance between rest and exercise. More rest is needed when your disease is active to help reduce joint inflammation, joint pain and general fatigue; however, more exercise may be appropriate when your disease is less active.

Your doctor or physical therapist can help create an exercise program that’s right for you.

Rheumatoid arthritis diet

A healthy rheumatoid arthritis diet

With rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation leads to swelling in the joints, making them progressively less and less mobile. You can choose to live a healthier lifestyle by eating less of the “bad” choices:

  • Processed food
  • Sugary food
  • Fried food

Instead, eat more of the “good” choices:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts

Certain diets and foods may have an impact on rheumatoid arthritis. Talk to your doctor about your diet and what you can do to help manage your RA.

Rheumatoid arthritis exercises

Reducing stress

Although stress does not cause RA, it can make the condition more difficult to manage. Stress can even increase the amount of pain you feel. Stress reduction techniques may include:

  • Regular rest periods
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Exercise programs
  • Participation in support groups

Talk to your doctor about your stress levels and healthy ways you can help manage your stress.

Support system: a foundation for health

Research has found that people who participate in support groups may enjoy better overall health. You can build your own support network by:

  • Participating in a support group or other similar program (your local Arthritis FoundationArthritis Foundation chapter can help you find programs in your area)
  • Asking friends and family for extra help during flare-ups
  • Educating friends and coworkers about rheumatoid arthritis so that they are more likely to be supportive if you need to postpone plans or need help at work

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