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Coping With the Pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Being in pain can be the hardest part of living with rheumatoid arthritis. While medications help, they don't always make the pain go away completely.

Coping with pain means acknowledging that the problem is not just the pain itself. Constant pain has an effect on your whole life.

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Most people with rheumatoid arthritis are faced with frequent or ongoing pain. While you may not be able to avoid pain, you can take control of the situation. Is the pain of rheumatoid arthritis starting to affect your life? There are specific positive steps you can take to live with it -- but keep it in its place:

Get Educated About Arthritis Pain

Understanding your pain will better help you deal with it. There are a number of types of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Acute pain from inflammation. Anyone with rheumatoid arthritis knows the pain that comes with a disease flare-up.
  • Pain from joint damage. Joints may become damaged over time by rheumatoid arthritis and cause pain even though the inflammation from arthritis itself is inactive.
  • Exacerbation of pain. After living a long time with pain and the other struggles of rheumatoid arthritis, you can get stressed and worn out. The real pain you feel is made worse by your emotional state.

Most people with rheumatoid arthritis will experience all of these types of pain. This can become a complicated and overwhelming situation and requires an overall approach.

There are educational programs available to help people who have to live with pain. The benefits they provide can make a big difference.

  • Learn how pain works, why it happens, and what it means.
  • Gain coping and life-management skills for when you are in pain.
  • Get trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy or biofeedback. These are methods of reducing the pain you feel by using the mind.

Contact the Arthritis Foundation to find your local chapter and sign up.

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