Lifestyle Changes for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lifestyle Changes

As part of treating rheumatoid arthritis, certain activities can help improve a person's ability to function independently and maintain a positive outlook. These activities can include:
 
  • Rest and exercise
  • Joint care
  • Stress reduction
  • Helpful diet
  • Climate.
     
Rest and Exercise
People with rheumatoid arthritis need a good balance between rest and exercise, with more rest when the disease is active and more exercise when it is not. Rest helps to reduce active joint inflammation and pain and to fight fatigue. While the length of time needed for rest will vary from person to person, shorter rest breaks every now and then are generally more helpful than long times spent in bed.
 
Exercise is important for maintaining healthy and strong muscles, preserving joint mobility, and maintaining flexibility. Exercise can also help people sleep well, reduce pain, maintain a positive attitude, and lose weight. Exercise programs should be planned and executed based on the person's physical abilities, limitations, and changing needs.
 
(Click Rheumatoid Arthritis and Exercise for more information.)
 
Joint Care
Some people find using a splint for a short time around a painful joint reduces pain and swelling by supporting the joint and letting it rest. Splints are used mostly on wrists and hands, but may also be used on ankles and feet. A doctor or a physical or occupational therapist can help a person choose a splint and make sure it fits properly. Other ways to reduce stress on joints include self-help devices (for example, zipper pullers, long-handled shoe horns, etc.); devices to help with getting on and off chairs, toilet seats, and beds; and changes in the ways that a person carries out daily activities.
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Information About Rheumatoid Arthritis

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