Recent research has significantly improved therapies for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and have furthered understanding about the disease, but there is still no cure. Here is a self-care plan for managing RA—and preventing the condition from managing you.
Along with recommended medication, Arthritis Foundation suggests the five following ways you can manage RA symptoms and promote overall health.
1. Anti-inflammatory Diet and Healthy Eating
While there is no specific “diet,” researchers have identified certain foods that are rich in antioxidants and can help control and reduce inflammation. These diets emphasize fish, vegetables, fruits and olive oil. It’s also important to significantly reduce foods that fuel inflammation, such as sugar, fried and processed foods.
2. Balancing Activity with Rest
Rest is important when RA is active and joints feel painful, swollen or stiff. Rest helps reduce inflammation and fatigue that can come with a flare. Taking breaks throughout the day conserves energy and protects joints.
3. Physical Activity
An exercise program should emphasize low-impact aerobics, muscle strengthening and flexibility. The program should be tailored to fitness level and capabilities, and take into account any joint damage that exists. A physical therapist can help to design an exercise program that works for you and your body.
4. Heat and Cold Therapies
Joints feeling especially sore? Heat treatments, such as heating pads or warm baths, tend to work best for soothing stiff joints and tired muscles. Cold is best for acute pain. It can numb painful areas and reduce inflammation.
5. Support System
Having a network of friends, family members and co-workers can help provide emotional support, as well! It can help you cope with life changes and pain. Find community resources and events in your area with the Arthritis Foundation’s search tool.
January 12, 2018
Like What You Read?
Stay informed! Be sure you receive regular research updates. Subscribe
Join the Conversation
This blog does not provide medical advice, nor is it a substitute
for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.