Dealing with rheumatoid arthritis can be overwhelming. Managing the pain and discomfort that comes with this condition can be the most difficult part. About 1.3 million people in the United States suffer from this serious autoimmune condition that wreaks havoc on the joints and several other parts of the body. While medication can help, painful and uncomfortable flare–ups are still a fact of life. In fact, people with this condition are often faced with ongoing or frequent pain that affects their outlook on life, which can lead to anger and depression. While it may be impossible to avoid the pain, one can deal with the situation using strategies that keep pain in its place.
To better deal with pain, people with rheumatoid arthritis should understand their pain. There are several types of pain caused by this condition:
- Pain from joint damage
- Acute pain from inflammation
- Exacerbation of pain after living a long time with it and the other struggles caused by rheumatoid arthritis
Sadly, most people with rheumatoid arthritis will go through all these types of pain. This can become an overwhelming and complicated situation that requires a good pain management plan. Fortunately, there are educational programs available to help individuals who have to live with this condition. Other resources, such as the ScannerDoc: Medical Imaging and Health Blog, can also help people:
- Learn how pain works, what it means, and why it happens
- Get training in biofeedback or cognitive–behavioral therapy
- Gain life–management and coping skills for when they are in pain.
Tips for Dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Build a life around wellness, not sickness and pain. This means thinking positively, eating a balanced diet, having a sense of humor, surrounding oneself with positive people, exercising regularly, and enjoying activities with family and friends.
- Adopt a good posture to minimize stress on the spine as well as the joints.
- Lose any excess weight to take pressure off the knees.
- Reconsider wearing high heels and go for functional footwear.
- When doing chores, listen to music, take frequent breaks, and do everything it takes to help make the job pleasant and easy.
- Measure any improvements in pain levels.
- Keep a pain diary to document pain levels at different times.
- Get adequate sleep to restore energy.
- Focus on other things, not the pain.
Living with the pain and discomfort caused by rheumatoid arthritis is not fair. Thus, it is natural to sometimes experience any number of emotions, such as depression, despair, anxiety, and anger. While these are normal human reactions to severe pain, they cannot help anyone feel better. People with rheumatoid arthritis should, therefore, take a positive approach to living with it.
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