In this week’s blog post we will be talking about self-care treatments for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Coping with RA can be difficult, especially when one week you feel great and the next week you can barely get out of bed. We will discuss simple at home remedies and self-care treatments that can help relieve some of your RA symptoms.
Heat and Cold Therapy
The first at home remedy that we recommend is applying heat or cold to the affected area. But how do we know when to apply cold or heat to the area? When experiencing acute pain, it is best to apply a cold pack to numb the area and reduce inflammation. Put the cold pack on for fifteen minutes and off for fifteen minutes. Apply a heat pad or take a warm bath when your muscles are tired and your joints need to be soothed. The heat will allow an increase in your blood flow, allowing tight muscles to relax.
Lowering your stress level is one of the best things you can do to reduce your symptoms. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing will help painful muscles relax. Massages and acupuncture are another two treatments that help relieve pain, increase joint function, and reduce stress.
Exercising is an important treatment for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Light aerobic exercises that strengthen muscles around your joints is highly recommended. Swimming and any water aerobics is a good exercise routine to get into. During a flare up it is important to take a break from exercising and bed rest may be what is best for you at that time. However, try to only bed rest for one to two days. It is important to keep you muscles moving and to stretch, so once you feel you are able to exercise again try going for a walk to get your muscles warmed up.
Having positive emotional support allows you to have a positive outlook on life and help you get back to your normal lifestyle faster after a flare up. As we talked about last week, it is important to go to your friends and family for help when needed.