Your days with Rheumatoid Arthritis may be great some days, and on other days, they may feel like hell. The pain that's associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis can get unbearable at times and impair your ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Even the simplest of tasks like holding a heavy object or walking a sloped surface may feel like too much.
Without proper care, management and treatment, you may not be able to do anything at all. If you suffer from this condition, you've got two options; either you give up on yourself and stay in bed feeling helpless, or you could get a hold of yourself, do whatever it takes to manage your condition, and lead your life like nothing is stopping you.
If you want to be the latter, you've come to the right place. This blog post is all about helping your work with Rheumatoid Arthritis. We've also put together a list of some must-have products that can help you greatly with your condition.
Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis
We all know that Rheumatoid Arthritis, often referred to as RA, is a condition of joints that's characterized by pain, sometimes mild, other times quite intense. However, not many people know what exactly it is.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are those whereby the body's immune system fails to differentiate between healthy body cells and external or harmful cells and starts to attack the body's cells. It's like producing an immune response against the body itself. As a result, there's inflammation in different parts of the body, which will be presented as painful swelling.
Rheumatoid Arthritis majorly affects the joints, and that too, multiple joints at a time, which makes this condition extremely painful and hard to manage. The most common joints where RA attacks first include the joints of wrists, knees, and hands, The lining of these joints becomes inflamed. The inflammation damages the tissue of joints. Tissue damage causes chronic pain and is usually long-lasting.
Some common symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis are:
- Stiffness in joints
- Pain in joints
- Weight loss
- Swelling and tenderness in joints
The best way to tell if the pain you're suffering is due to Rheumatoid Arthritis is to check if the symptoms appear on both sides of the body, like pain in both knees and stiffness in finger joints of hands. If yes, you're most probably suffering from RA.
This condition can also affect other tissues of the body like the heart, eyes, and lungs and cause different problems of varying degrees.
Tips to Help You Work with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Living with RA is not easy. Imagine not being able to get the tight lid off a can or carry a bag of groceries home. A lot of people lose a major part of self-esteem and willpower when they get diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, but you don't have to. You can continue living like nothing's wrong if you know how to.
Let's have a look at some tips that may prove quite helpful for you.
Self-Care is Above All
Some days you may just feel like giving up on yourself and not leaving the bed. But that's the worst thing to do. You've got to take care of yourself, maybe more now. Don't miss your medications. Even on days when your pain is better, you shouldn't miss your medicine.
It's what will keep the pain at bay. Another important thing is not to miss your doctor's appointment. Make sure you're visiting them 3 to 4 times a year to evaluate your condition and progress. Your doctor will tailor your treatment plan based on your progress.
Don't Skip Exercise
The idea of exercising when the joints are stiff and aching may not seem doable, but it's extremely important. You may not be able to do as much physical activity with RA as you used to do once, so you should try to stay as active as possible. Even if it's basic stretching or low-impact workout, or simple muscle strengthening exercises. It need not be any strenuous exercises; just enough to keep your muscles and joints moving.
See a Physical Therapist
A physical therapist will be able to tell you the safest ways to move your body to d day-to-day tasks. You may be able to do things in a certain way that doesn't feel as painful. Physical therapists are experts in the area, and they can help you develop flexibility and strength.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Although there's not much research to back the fact that diet can help treat RA, taking a balanced diet can certainly help you with relieving pain and some symptoms. Eating seafood like tuna, sardines, and salmon that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of cytokines which are chemical markers that promote inflammation. Consuming the right diet can help reduce inflammation, thereby helping reduce swelling and pain.
Maintain Healthy Weight
If you're overweight, you've got to start losing weight now. Extra weight will put stress on your knees that can worsen the Rheumatoid Arthritis-related knee pain. If you're able to reduce your weight within recommended limits, you've got a better chance at preventing complications.
Save Your Energy and Plan Smartly
You may not have the strength to run around to get done with your tasks. If you've got RA, you don't have to stop doing what you used to. All you've got to do is plan smartly and do things as planned. That'll save your energy, and you'll be able to get done with your tasks without getting exhausted.
Don't Put Unnecessary Stress on Your Joints
Try to avoid putting any stress on your joints as much as you can. If you've got to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, use a stool to sit and work. Use a shower chair so that you don't have to stand throughout while you're taking a shower. Wear a ring in the thumb (make sure it's not too tight) to use as a bottle opener. Roll or slide heavy objects whenever you can instead of lifting them up. Bringing about small changes in how you do things will help you massively.
Pay Close Attention to Your Posture
This might be the most important tip. You've got to make sure you're moving and sitting in the correct posture. Staying in the same posture (and that too, incorrect) can put excessive stress on your joints and make you feel tired. It can also increase inflammation and make your arthritis pain worse. Pay very close attention to your posture and invest in ergonomic products.
Best Products That You Should Consider Investing In
There are various products available in the market today that can help you with your condition and make it easier to work with Rheumatoid Arthritis. You don't have to worry about finding the right products because we've got you covered.
Image Source: Amazon
If you're a working individual, you may have to use a pen several times a day. Holding a pen may be too painful with swollen fingers. An ergonomic pen might just be what you need. Ergonomic pens have a unique design that makes the grip a lot more comfortable for the user, making it easier for them to grip and write.
Image Source: Amazon
Foam Tubing for Cutlery
There will be days when holding the spoon, fork, and knife will feel like a huge task. Rheumatoid Arthritis is often associated with swollen fingers, and this is the reason why a task as simple as gripping the fork or knife may feel difficult and painful. This is where foam tubing can help you. It covers the cutlery and offers a comfortable grip over the cutlery. So, you'll no longer drop your fork due to poor drip and hence, no longer have to feel embarrassed in front of anyone.
Compression sleeves are an excellent product. If your RA has already progressed too far, the pain will always be there. However, with compression sleeves and wraps, you can ease the intensity of pain through compression. Although it's not quite clear how these compression products work, they're definitely known to help reduce arthritis pain and make it possible for people with this condition to carry out their everyday tasks on their own.
If you're working from home, you've got to invest in ergonomic furniture like an ergonomic chair and a standing desk like the Vici Duplex Standing Desk to ensure that you're working with your posture right. Incorrect posture can have serious consequences on your condition. With ergonomic furniture, you'll be able to continue working with maximum efficiency without feeling fatigued or exhausted and without putting undue stress on your joints that may worsen the pain.
There are many other products that you can invest in, including an automatic potato peeler, and specialized can opener, and scissors, among plenty others.
Always remember – Rheumatoid Arthritis doesn't take away your right to life. You can live it as you did before you got this condition. The only thing that changes is the way you look after yourself. If you take good care of yourself, you can continue doing everything on your own just like you did before Rheumatoid Arthritis happened!