8 Ways To Manage And Cope With The Pain Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

03 Oct

Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the most disabling types of arthritis, affecting 1.3 American’s per year, and causes daily pain, depression and sometimes even anger.  Although there is no current cure, there are 8 things that you can do daily to help you to better manage and cope with the pain you are feeling from rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Sleep

It may sound simple, but a good night’s sleep can work wonders for sore joints.  Take frequent naps during the day or any time that you are feeling stressed.  With this disease it is important that you do not push yourself too far, as this will worsen your muscle fatigue.

Massage

Another key to manage your pain is to have regular massages done either by yourself or by a licensed therapist.  This can greatly help to:

  • reduce pain
  • lessen stiffness
  • increase your range of motion
  • strengthen your hand grip
  • improve the function of your joints

Be sure to select a massage therapist that has experience in treating people with RA.

Daily Exercise

Exercise can increase your body’s blood circulation, keep your bones and muscles strong, and give you the endorphins you need to thwart depression.  Since it is best to avoid high-impact sports, some low-impact activities that will assist in decreasing your pain are:

  • stretching
  • swimming (or water aerobics)
  • biking
  • yoga
  • tai chi (a type of martial art that involves slow, gentle movements and deep breathing)
  • pilates 
  • qi gong (an Ancient Chinese form of exercise and meditation)

Fish Oil

Fish oil helps to reduce inflammation, decrease joint tenderness and lessen stiffness.  Before taking this supplement, talk to your doctor to find what the appropriate dosage is for your individual circumstances.

Healthy Diet

Along with avoiding alcohol and smoking whenever possible, there are some things that you should increase within your diet to improve your condition.  These include:

  • fish (works similarly to fish oil)
  • turmeric (spice used in curry that contains anti-inflammatory properties)
  • calcium 
  • vitamin D

Relaxation and Meditation

One of the best ways to manage your pain is to train your mind to help your body to feel better.  Relaxation techniques and meditation will help to decrease the effects of stress on your mind and body by:

  • lowering your blood pressure
  • slowing your breathing and heart rate
  • increasing the blood flow to all of your major muscle groups
  • decreasing the activity of stress hormones

Some of the best forms of relaxation and meditation are:

  • deep breathing
  • progressive muscle relaxation
  • autogenic relaxation

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is much more involved that simply taking in oxygen and breathing the air out.  To get the most out of this relaxation technique you will need to:

  • sit in a comfortable position with your back straight
  • place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach
  • breathe in through your nose (letting your stomach push out)
  • breathe out through your mouth and count slowly as you exhale (push out as much air as you can while simultaneously contracting your stomach muscles)

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This technique involves tightening (for about 5 seconds) and relaxing  (for about 30 seconds) specific parts of the body while breathing deeply.   This will help you to be more aware of when you are more tense and can assist you in relaxing certain parts of your body when you are in a more stressful state. 

Autogenic Relaxation

This form of meditation involves using visual imagery and body awareness to help to slow the heart rate and relax every part of your body.  When using visual imagery, imagine a peaceful setting, using as many of your senses as you can, and focus on controlling and relaxing your breathing.

Cognitive-Behavioral Training

This type of psychotherapy will allow a therapist to help you to identify problems in the way that you think and act.  He or she will do this by changing your negative thinking patterns and replacing them with more positive thoughts.

Pain Management Clinics

If you find that you cannot manage your pain alone, these types of clinics or centers will provide a supportive and caring environment, specifically designed for patients who are struggling with the effects of chronic diseases.  These clinics will work daily to decrease your pain and suffering by teaching you life-long pain management skills and helping to improve your overall quality of life. 

Although medicines can assist with this disease, what will make the most difference is these 8 daily remedies that you incorporate into your life.  These tools will help you to experience a less painful and more fulfilled life despite your disease. Check out the site here or similar ones for more information.

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