Ways to Protect Your Joints from Damage Caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you have RA, there are several non-drug treatments that can help you where medication can’t. And exercise is at the top of the list. Even though the prospect of exercising may seem painful, the right kind of activity can help prevent pain and disability.
Exercise is really critical for those suffering with arthritis. It causes you not just pain; it effects how you use your joints in a way that stresses other structures. It’s really important to maintain flexibility and strength. And the only way to do that is to exercise.”
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Choosing an activity that you enjoy, and not overdoing it is highly recommended. Options include walking, aquatic exercises, biking, yoga, and tai chi
Exercise has other significant benefits for RA patients, too. RA increases your risk of developing osteoporosis, and weight-bearing exercises can help keep your bones strong and improves blood circulation.
Physical activity also heads off depression, which can plague anyone coping with a chronic illness, including RA.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help heal and strengthen a body part or a region that’s aching and giving you pain.
A physical therapist may use heat, ice, Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (tens machine), range-of-motion exercises, gentle strengthening moves, and more to help ease inflammation and get you back into shape. Physical therapy is typically a short-term option. You might go a few times a week for several weeks, until you’re feeling better.
This type of therapy can be an excellent bridge to a regular exercise plan. The idea of the OT is to help a person live as independently and fully as possible, no matter what his or her age or condition.
An occupational therapist will work with you to identify problem areas in your daily life and figure out ways to eliminate them, or work around them. For example, your hands and wrists could be swollen and painful from daily work tasks. The therapist can help you modify your work so you can continue your tasks more comfortably and avoid overuse injuries.
Occupational therapists can also help identify assistive devices that can make your everyday tasks much easier.
Mind-body approaches can include mindfulness meditation, biofeedback, breathing exercises, and guided relaxation. Certain types of exercise—such as yoga, qi gong, and tai chi—also encourage you to focus your mind in ways that can help you cope with pain, and improve strength and flexibility at the same time.
Studies suggest that meditation and tai chi may improve mood and quality of life, and there’s evidence that mind-body therapies are helpful for chronic pain and other types of arthritis as well.
Acupuncture/ Herbal Medicine
This is an ancient Eastern healing technique of stimulating certain points in the body—usually by inserting very thin needles and leaving them in place for between several minutes and an hour—to promote the flow of qi, or life force, through the body.
Acupuncture can trigger the body to release the “feel-good” hormones known as endorphin’s, thus reducing pain.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can help with RA symptoms. Scores of people swear by acupuncture, and there’s really no downside to giving it a try—unless you’re scared of needles.
Herbal supplements in combination with acupuncture are all-natural, highly effective ingredients aimed at providing a respite from the pain as well as wide-ranging health benefits to your body.
Here is the list of some of the supplements that are of great benefit to those suffering from RA.
Glucosamine Sulphate – It is cartilage that serves to protect our joints from wear and tear. Glucosamine sulfate helps to stimulate and replenish this all-important cartilage as well as boosting joint function.
Barley and Wheat Grass – These magnesium-rich ingredients reduce the excess levels of calcium found in joint tissues, enabling joints to function better. Consuming foods that are high in magnesium has been proven to reduce the degeneration of tissue and the symptoms of arthritis.
Papaya – Papaya is known to ease the pain of rheumatism, as well as treating indigestion and mucus excess within the body; a true super fruit!
Rice Bran – Rice bran is high in B vitamins and vitamin E, while also reducing the degeneration and premature ageing of tissue caused by free radicals.
Apple – As well as being a tasty fruit, the humble apple has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation without resorting to synthesized chemicals.
Ginger – Another natural anti-inflammatory, ginger has been used effectively in treating the effects of rheumatoid arthritis and helping people to enjoy a pain-free life.
Green Tea Extract – Green tea is one of the strongest natural antioxidants and is highly effective in reducing the toll that damaging free-radicals take on the body. Green tea extract is also known as a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Licorice Root – Licorice root is a truly versatile, all-natural asset in combating joint pain and general ill health. As well as reducing inflammation, the root also provides protection from nasty viruses and boosts the function of adrenal glands.
Turmeric – This useful herb offers far more than just a pleasant flavor; it also helps to reduce swelling and provide increased mobility for painful joints.
Vitamin C – Is another natural agent which works to stimulate cartilage growth and rejuvenation in arthritic joints.
Lactobacillus with FOS – A friendly bacteria which works with your body’s natural processes to help it absorb nutrients more effectively, providing an overall boost to health.
Chlorella and Spirulina – Two great whole foods which provide complete proteins, chlorophyll and fatty acids to your body.
This unique combination of herbal ingredients helps to relieve the pain of arthritis and inflamed joints with one specially formulated supplement.
Depending on how your body is feeling, massage can be wonderful—or agonizing.
If your joints and muscles aren’t feeling too tender, it can be very beneficial in easing muscle tension related to joint stress. Helping you relax and feel in good health. You will be the best judge of whether massage can help you on any particular day, or not.
Give it a try, if you think it might help your body feel well again. But make sure your massage therapist has experience in treating people with RA.
Heat and Cold Treatment
One of the simplest home remedies is also one of the best: heat.
A 15-minute hot bath or shower can help you relax and soothe painful joints and muscles. You can also try applying heat to an area with a heating pad, or chilling out with an ice pack or ice water. Alternating hot packs with cold ones can also offer powerful relief.
Take a break
One of the most important things for you to do if you have rheumatoid arthritis is not to overdo it. When you need a rest, take it. Pushing yourself too hard can only make fatigue worse.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify problems in the way they think and act and encourages them to change their behavior, can be helpful if you have RA, especially if you are suffering from depression.
Counselling can also help you cope with the other stresses and strains of chronic illness.
Having a chronic illness can be isolating.
Being open with your family and friends about your condition so you feel comfortable asking for help when you need it—or just having a shoulder to cry on—can make a big difference in how you feel, both physically and mentally.
There are also online and real-life support groups where you can meet other people with RA and share coping strategies.
10 Ways to Protect Your Joints from Damage
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune condition that can damage joints over time. Treatment helps, but there are simple practices you can use in everyday life to take strain off joints and help prevent long-term damage.
People don’t have to struggle it’s just a matter of changing how they do things. If you have rheumatoid or another type of arthritis, take small steps daily to protect your joints.
Here are some recommendations that could bring immense gains in long-term joint protection.
It’s not only safer, but probably easier to slide heavy objects across a counter or floor rather than lifting them. For instance when shopping for groceries at the supermarket.
In fact, it’s an excellent idea in general to avoid heavy lifting, pushing and pulling if you have RA as these can put undue stress on joints that are already vulnerable.
Choose the biggest and strongest joint for the job
The smallest joints are the most vulnerable to damage. Transferring pressure to larger muscle groups protects those smaller ones. This means using a purse with a shoulder strap instead of a clutch purse that might strain your fingers.
You can also protect your hand joints by looping a grocery bag over your forearm or cradling it against your body instead of carrying it in your hand. And use your shoulder to open a door rather than your hand.
Two-thirds of people with rheumatoid arthritis have problems with their hands and wrists. Minimize stress on these areas by using two hands instead of one to pick up a carton of milk or the kettle. This will distribute the weight evenly.
When arranging storage space, place the objects that you use most often at the waist height and close to the front. This reduces the effort of having to reach up or bend down to grip things, both activities which can place stress on joints, including your back, knees, and hips.
An assistive device can be as simple as needle-nose pliers to pull cotton out of medicine bottles or automatic can and jar openers to save your hands.
Long shoe horns or long-handled bath sponges will reduce stress on shoulders. And, in general, products such as pens and toothbrushes with bigger grips are easier for people with rheumatoid arthritis to use. The bigger the grip the less stressful on the joints of your hands.
This avoids possible overuse of fragile finger muscles. You could also use a book stand or prop your novel on a tabletop rather than holding it. Also, turning the pages with a pencil eraser rather than your fingers will reduce wear and tear on this joint as well.
Or else use your thigh muscles, but avoid pushing up from the back of your fingers in a clenched fist. That places pressure on the joints. Chairs with arms are also easier to get out of, as are higher seats, such as raised shower seats. If you don’t want to invest in special chairs, use cushions to raise the height. And make sure your weight is planted evenly over your feet before standing up.
Buy light-weight products and appliances
Whenever possible, purchase lighter less bulkier products. Choose light-weight aluminum pots and pans instead of cast iron, and select the lightest-weight product you can for the purpose it’s used for, whether it’s an iron, a vacuum cleaner, anything that is frequently used around the home.
Repeatedly trying to manage tiny buttons on clothing, clasps on jewelry may not be the best idea of your joints. Choose clothing with larger buttons or alter the clothing you already have.
Change minuscule buttons to snaps or even Velcro. Use elastic laces in your shoes. Add large rings to zipper pulls. Magnetic clasps on earrings and other jewelry enable you to pull the pieces apart without a lot of pressure.
Dress and undress carefully
Dressing can still be difficult even without delicate buttons and clasps, but certain actions can help things along. If you’re pulling a garment over your head, put your arms in front of you, push the sleeves up past the elbows then flip the neck hole over your head. To undress, don’t struggle to pull one arm at a time out of a slip over.
Instead, reach one arm around to the neck hole at the back of the head and pull the shirt straightforward and over your head.
Rheumatoid arthritis can attack at any age, can come on rapidly, and may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as fatigue. So it’s important that once you recognize that you may have symptoms that you are careful in performing everyday tasks. I hope that this article raises some practical ways that can assist you to protect your joints from damage.