Did you know that rheumatoid arthritis affects 1.5 million Americans?
If you’re someone who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, you know how much this disease can disrupt your life.
Luckily, there are many medications you can take to help with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. But, as helpful as these medications are, they’re sometimes not enough. Painful flareups are still a part of life.
The good news is that there are things you can do to manage the pain of these flareups.
Check out this guide to learn the top easy hacks for rheumatoid arthritis pain management.
1. Protect Your Joints
First, you need to do what you can to protect your joints as much as possible, even the ones that currently aren’t affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
Even when doing small tasks, you should always think of your joints.
For example, instead of picking up a heavy pot, slide it across the counter. Instead of using your hand to open the door, use your shoulder. To hold a book, use the palm of your hand instead of your fingers.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Diet can play a key role in managing rheumatoid arthritis pain.
For starters, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight when suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Obesity and its other related health issues can severely impact your ability to manage your RA symptoms.
When you have RA, you should also focus on eating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties include:
- Foods rich in omega-3s, like fish oil, nuts, and seeds
- Turmeric ( a yellow spice that you can add to many dishes)
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
In addition to foods with anti-inflammatory properties, you should also eat foods with fatty acids. One fatty acid that is particularly helpful for those with RA is gamma-linolenic acid, also known as GLA. This fatty acid is in the seeds of certain plants, such as hemp, black currant, borage, and even primrose.
Many people with rheumatoid arthritis worry that exercise will only further aggravate the pain in their joints.
However, staying physically active can help improve joint function and range of motion.
Some of the best exercises include walking, running, swimming, and biking. Not only will these exercises help manage your pain, but they’ll also help boost your mood and energy levels.
Before starting a new exercise regime, however, you should consult with your doctor.
4. Use Hot and Cold Therapy
When it comes to managing arthritis pain, hot and cold treatments can make a world of a difference.
To ease the stiffness in your joints, you should start the morning with a long, hot shower or bath. At night, you can use an electric heating pad or blanket to help keep your joints loose.
You should also intersperse these hot treatments with cold treatments, as these will help with relieving joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. For quick pain relief, wrap a gel pack or a frozen pack of vegetables around the joint that’s experiencing pain.
5. Get a Massage
Getting a massage is one of the best rheumatoid arthritis pain management techniques.
Massages can help reduce pain and improve your range of motion. You can either set up an appointment with a massage therapist, or you can work with your physical therapist to learn about different self-massage techniques.
If you choose to work with a massage therapist, make sure you choose one who has experience working with arthritis patients.
Acupuncture relieves symptoms of several different orders and illnesses, including anxiety, depression, arthritis, and over 100 other conditions.
For those who don’t know, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicinal technique that involves inserting thin needles into different points in the body. Acupuncture is said to restore balance and reroute energies in the body.
If you wish to explore acupuncture for relieving your arthritis pain, make sure you do so with a board-certified acupuncturist.
7. Consider Herbal Supplements
Many kinds of herbal supplements can help with reducing your arthritis pain. Some of the best herbal supplements for arthritis pain include:
- Stinging nettle
- Devil’s claw
Before you start any new supplements, you should always talk to your doctor. To learn more about supplements for arthritis, check out this site.
8. Stretch it Out
Starting the day with a nice stretching routine is one of the best ways to ward off joint pain.
However, you want to make sure that you don’t stretch to a point where you’re causing yourself more pain. To ensure this, you should set up an appointment with your physical therapist or doctor to start a stretching routine that works for you.
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, you must get adequate rest.
In addition to getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, don’t be afraid to take small breaks to rest throughout the day. Taking a break can help relax your mind, ease joint pain, and reduce the fatigue that is so often associated with the disease.
How much rest you need is personal and will depend on the amount of endurance you have.
10. Hot Wax
If you experience pain in the joints of your hands and feet, a hot wax bath can be the perfect antidote to ease inflammation. This is a classic technique used for relieving sports-related injuries.
Many doctors believe that a hot wax bath works better than a heating pad, as a bath allows the heat to completely work its way around your toes and fingers.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Management: Wrap Up
As you can see, there are many rheumatoid arthritis pain management techniques out there.
Before you try any of these, however, you should consult with your doctor.
If you liked this blog post, be sure to check back in with our blog for more health-related articles.