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Do you ever use ice or heat?

Ice and heat may be old-fashion remedies, but they help a lot of people with arthritis. A cold compress, ice pack, or a frozen bag of peas on a painful joint can help ease swelling. Try ice packs for 15 minutes at a time with 30-minute breaks in between.

Moist heat can help relax muscles and ease muscle aches, pain, and stiffness. Try wrapping a hot towel or pad about the area that hurts. Or try a warm bath or shower.

Could lack of sleep be part of the problem?

Many people with RA have trouble sleeping. Do you? It would not be surprising. RA pain can interfere with sleep, and lack of sleep can result in more pain and fatigue. Be sure you're not caught in that cycle. You may have heard about good "sleep habits," and perhaps you don't have faith they can help. But give them a try. Research shows they improve sleep for many people. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even if you didn’t sleep well the night before. Get some physical activity each day. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. It’s also important to "unplug" your bedroom. Turn off TVs, computers, and phones. If none of this helps, talk to your doctor.

Have you ever tried to relax your muscles?

It’s tough to relax when you are in pain. Yet studies show doing just that may reduce your sense of pain. Use progressive muscle relaxation to help your muscles -- and your mind -- relax. To do this, tense or tighten one muscle group and then relax it. Start at your feet. Move slowly up your body, ending with the muscles of your face. As you tense and relax muscles, take deep breaths. Give it a try. It can't hurt, and may help.

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RA Checklist Challenge

Want to take better care of yourself? See how many things you can check off the list in the next 30 days!

I ordered salmon instead of a burger when I went out to eat today.

I took a walk 5 days this week.

I didn't let my RA stop me from having fun today.

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You Are Not Alone

  • 1.3 million Americans are living with RA.
  • 75% of people with RA are women.
  • 3 in 5 people with RA try to stay active.
  • 91% of people with RA are able to keep working.
  • 3 in 5 patients are satisfied with their doctors.
  • 80% say they hope for new, innovative treatments.
  • 75% want to feel better in 3 months of treatment.
  • 80% want treatment to resume full social lives.
  • 2 out of 3 say friends don't understand their RA.
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