Living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Living with your rheumatoid arthritis day to day
There are steps you can take when living with your moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Click on the tabs below for tips on staying active, eating well, and connecting with others who are living with RA. Don’t forget to also give your body the rest it needs.
If you have moderate to severe RA, you might think exercise will aggravate joint pain and stiffness. In fact, an appropriate exercise program, approved by your doctor, can strengthen muscles and their surrounding tissue, helping to ease the stress on your joints. Speak with your doctor or physical therapist to find the program that’s right for you. It may include the following types of exercise:
Stretching can help increase flexibility. These exercises include:
- Basic stretches, like touching your toes or reaching for the sky
- Tai chi
Low-impact aerobic exercise can help increase your energy and stamina. Some examples include:
- Aquatic exercise
Increasing muscle strength helps keep your bones and joints positioned properly and may also increase bone density. To strengthen your muscles, you might try:
- Lifting light hand weights
- Using resistance bands
- Standing in a warm pool and pushing against the water
Whichever exercises you and your doctor decide are right for you, remember to start slowly and increase your exercise program gradually. Don’t forget to give your body the rest it needs.
Find more exercise tips at ArthritisToday.com.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet can benefit anyone, but it’s especially important for people living with moderate to severe RA. Poor eating habits can increase stress on weight-bearing joints and decrease your energy and mobility.
Talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet. Ask for a referral to a registered dietician for advice about healthful eating and the right eating plan for you.
Find more healthy eating tips at ArthritisToday.com.
If you have moderate to severe RA, you don’t have to feel like you’re alone. There are plenty of resources available online that can offer support and help you connect with others who are living with your condition. These include local support groups, fundraising walks, outreach programs, online communities, and volunteer opportunities. The websites below can help you learn more about your condition and connect with the RA community.
Arthritis Connect is a social network that makes it easy to start conversations, share treatment experiences, read and post recommendations, and much more.
The mission of the Arthritis Foundation is to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control, and cure of arthritis and related diseases.
Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF)
The ANRF is a charity that funds research to cure arthritis. The ANRF website provides a comprehensive look at all the research projects they have funded. You can also get their free report that will give you a great information overview about arthritis and some research projects under way.
The online home of the Arthritis Foundation’s Arthritis Today magazine is a great source of tips and information for people living with arthritis. It includes a community where you can share ideas, ask for advice, read blogs, play games, and more.
CreakyJoints provides treatment information, advice from professionals, and public forums for people living with arthritis to share their experiences.
Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center
This website provides interactive, educational information about RA. It features a “Patient’s Corner” with lifestyle information.
Mayo Clinic’s award-winning consumer website offers health information and self-improvement tools. Mayo Clinic’s medical experts and editorial professionals bring you access to the knowledge and experience of Mayo Clinic on topics ranging from cancer, diabetes, and heart disease to nutrition, exercise, and pregnancy.
National Infusion Center Association
The National Infusion Center Association provides information on office-based infusion centers with a mission of improving access and awareness to patients.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
NIAMS is a component of the National Institutes of Health, whose primary focus is to provide research, training, and information resources on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. This website offers information and links to various resources about RA symptoms, treatment, research, and disease states.
Patients Like Me
This site allows you to share your experiences on living with RA in order to help yourself, others like you, and organizations that focus on your condition.