Rheumatoid arthritis can be uncomfortable at best, and debilitating at worst. The symptoms of acute pain, swollen joints, and fatigue can interfere with your quality of life and ability to undertake daily tasks and projects. Developing a better understanding of your arthritis and knowing what steps you can take to cope with your pain can make a huge difference in your overall happiness.
What is Rheumatoid arthritis?
Affecting almost 1.3 million people in the US, Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues of the body. In this case, the results are chronic inflammation of joints and other parts of the body. Its underlying causes are not completely understood, and manifests in symptoms such as fatigue, fever, loss of joint function, and tenderness, stiffness and even deformity in joints.
Lifestyle changes that can support and strengthen your system
Although there is no way to stop the progression of joint deterioration, the best way to cope with and manage your rheumatoid arthritis is to make choices on a daily basis that actively strengthen and nurture your body. Here are some ways to do so.
Easing Arthritis Pain with Exercise
The last thing you wan to do when pain strikes is get up and move, but studies are showing that moderate exercise- even just a ten minute walk around the block- can help ease arthritis pain over the long run. Getting active tempers pain and improves muscle function. This includes walking, strength based training, water exercise, cycling, and balance therapy. These activities can have positive and lasting effects such as improving balance, strengthening muscle, improving endurance and increasing range of motion in the effected joints.
If you are currently physically inactive, it’s fine, just start out small and begin to develop an enjoyable routine. Exercise is one of the most effective and safest ways to reduce and better tolerate pain, and improve the conditions of your arthritis.
When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, and most physical discomfort, for that matter, inflammation is typically the underlying cause. While following your doctor or pharmacy’s recommendations is key, there are foods that you can enjoy that will reduce inflammation.
• Foods high in omega-3s like avocado, walnuts, fish oil, olive oil, and flax seeds.
• The Indian spice turmeric is one of the highest anti-inflammatory compounds found in nature. It can be used in meals of all kinds to add flavor, drunk as a tea or taken as a supplement.
• High fiber foods have shown to be excellent in reducing inflammation. These include strawberries, leafy greens, apples, almonds and legumes. Fiber binds to toxins and escorts them out of your system, easing the burden from toxins on your entire body.
Remember that you can also consciously reduce your intake of inflammatory foods also, such as processed grains and sugars and meat cooked at high temperatures, and seed oils.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not something anyone should have to go through and is a terribly physically painful and emotionally draining condition to live with. However, by taking the right steps and knowing you have the power to reduce your pain in some ways, living with RA can become manageable.