You can take steps to care for your body if you have rheumatoid arthritis. These self-care measures, when used along with your rheumatoid arthritis medications, can help you manage your signs and symptoms:
Oct. 29, 2014
- Exercise regularly. Gentle exercise can help strengthen the muscles around your joints, and it can help fight fatigue you might feel. Check with your doctor before you start exercising. If you're just getting started, begin by taking a walk. Try swimming or gentle water aerobics. Avoid exercising tender, injured or severely inflamed joints.
- Apply heat or cold. Heat can help ease your pain and relax tense, painful muscles. Cold may dull the sensation of pain. Cold also has a numbing effect and decreases muscle spasms.
- Relax. Find ways to cope with pain by reducing stress in your life. Techniques such as guided imagery, distraction and muscle relaxation can all be used to control pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/rheumatoid_arthritis/. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Handout on health: Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Rheumatic_Disease/default.asp. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/conditions-treatments/disease-center/rheumatoid-arthritis/. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Living with arthritis. American Occupational Therapy Association. https://www.aota.org/en/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/Adults/Arthritis.aspx. Accessed Sept. 4, 2014.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and complementary health approaches. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/RA/getthefacts.htm?lang=en. Accessed Sept. 4, 2014.
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