Rheumatoid Arthritis - Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Living with rheumatoid arthritis often means making changes to your lifestyle. You can do things at home, such as staying active and taking medicines, to help relieve your symptoms and prevent the disease from getting worse.
Arthritis: Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
You can also plan for those times when the disease symptoms may be more severe. It is important to work closely with your health professionals, who may include a physical therapist or counselor, to find ways to reduce pain.
Rest when you're tired
The disease itself causes fatigue. And the strain of dealing with pain and limited activities also can make you tired. The amount of rest you need depends on how bad your symptoms are.
- With severe symptoms, you may need long periods of rest. You might need to rest a joint by lying down for 15 minutes several times a day to relax. Try to find a balance between daily activities that you must do or want to do and the amount of rest you need to do those activities.
- Plan your day carefully, including rest periods. Pace your activities so that you don't get overtired.
Protect your joints
You may need to change the way you do certain activities so that you are not overusing your joints. Try to find different ways to relieve your joint pain.
- Joint pain and stiffness may improve with heat therapy, such as:
- Taking warm showers or baths after long periods of sitting or sleeping.
- Soaking hand joints in warm wax baths.
- Sleeping under a warm electric blanket.
- Use assistive devices to reduce strain on your joints, such as special kitchen tools or doorknobs.
- Choose the right shoes that fit well and will not cause joint problems.
- Use splints, canes, or walkers to reduce pain and improve function.
Keep moving to keep your muscle strength, flexibility, and overall health.