Here are 10 techniques to help ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
1- Protect your joints Always be aware of your joints, even when doing the smallest tasks, and even if you are currently symptom-free. Instead of lifting a heavy pot, slide it across the counter; use a shoulder to open a door rather your hand; and hold books in the palm of your hands, not with your fingers.
2- Exercise can be a key component in keeping joint pain at bay. It can also give you more energy and improve your mood. Walking, cycling, swimming, and light weight training done three times a week for 30 minutes can offer these benefits, but check with your doctor to make sure they are safe for you. Other tips: don’t exercise when joints are inflamed; take a break if you feel pain, and alternate positions periodically when performing tasks such as gardening or cooking.
3- Stretch it out assuming you are pain-free, you should try to stretch all of your joints each day to the extent that it does not cause you pain. A physical therapist or other physician can help tailor a stretching program for your needs. People with RA tend to feel stiffer in the morning than at other times of the day, so take a shower to warm up your joints, and then stretch to help loosen you up for the rest of the day.
4- Give it a rest getting enough rest is important. Taking a break can relax your mind, ease pain in your joints, and help reduce the fatigue that is often associated with the disease.
5- Take a warm shower, moist heat in particular seems to penetrate well and provides relief from rheumatoid arthritis pain. Additionally, moist heating pads, available at most pharmacies, can be applied for 10 to 15 minutes at a time to provide temporary pain relief.
6- Try hot wax. If you have pain in the joints of the hands or feet, a hot wax bath can ease inflammation. (This is a classic technique used for sports related injuries.) It can work better than a heating pad because, as with soaking in a warm water bath, the heat works its way completely around the fingers or toes.
7- Try a cane. A lot of people think a cane signifies disability, but if it helps reduce joint pain, who cares? Canes are easy to find and can take up to 20% of your body weight off of your legs, hips and ankles.
8- Lose weight. Being overweight can place excessive stress on, and adversely affect, your weight-bearing joints like the knees, back, and hips. Studies have shown that fat tissue may produce chemicals that can increase inflammation, something rheumatoid arthritis patients need to avoid.
9- Use special tools. Certain types of equipment can help make everyday tasks less painful. Pens, knives, can openers, zipper pulls and additional products are available to help you protect your joints.
10- Plan carefully. It is difficult to tell when a flareup may occur, making your joints become stiff and swollen, or when you will overdo it when exercising. Because you can’t foresee these events, it’s a good idea to be prepared and plan for problems before they arise. Break chores up into sections— plant one garden bed one day and the second another day instead of tackling them all at once. And when exercising, it’s not necessary to do 30 minutes at once; try three 10-minute increments throughout the day.
source: health.com Living with (RA) Rheumatoid Arthritis By Tammy Worth