Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis is as complex as the disease itself. After all, it is an autoimmune condition that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints, resulting in pain, redness or inflammation that can affect your daily activities and quality of life. Staying on top of the disease by taking care of yourself is a big part of Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment.
Apart from taking your medicine as directed, there are many things you can do to help yourself manage your Rheumatoid Arthritis every single day. Here is a list of ways to do it:
1. Find exercise that works for you: stay as active as possible to ease your symptoms and prevent long-term problems. Stretch and strengthen your muscles with resistance bands and light weights, and try low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking, biking and swimming. Yoga, Pilates and tai chi can help your balance, flexibility and even reduce pain.
2. Eat a diet that helps fight inflammation: Omega 3 fatty acids may ease joint pain and stiffness (i.e. salmon, tuna, sardines). Emu oil can be ingested daily for anti-inflammation.
3. Streamline your daily tasks: Divide your tasks up in the day to avoid fatigue. Pace yourself on good days. Don’t overdo it as your fatigue could set you back the next day. Tackle high energy tasks in the morning, and do lighter work in the latter part of the day.
4. Save your energy: know what slows you down. Once you know the tasks that get you stuck, come up with ways to make them easier. For example, use a food processor to slice, shred or chop. Sit on a stool in the kitchen so you don’t stand while you cook and wash dishes. Use an electric blender to save you from stirring and whisking.
5. Change your wardrobe: choose clothes that are easier to put on, or alter the clothes you have with easier alternatives. For example, bigger buttons, Velcro fasteners, elastic shoelaces, rings for zipper pulls.
6. Use a shower chair: and a showerhead that you can adjust or hold (even if you don’t really need one). It may help you relax while bathing, and not put more stress on your joints
7. Garden ergonomically: sit on a low stool while you’re working outside. Work on raised beds instead of on the ground, so you can avoid crouching or kneeling for extended time.
8. Do your shopping online: save the energy of going to and from the shops by browsing the web for all your essentials. If typing on a keyboard is troublesome, try a voice recognition software.
9. Pay attention to your posture: if yours is off, it will stress your joints and increase fatigue. When sitting at the desk, life your head, neck and shoulders, keep your shoulders relaxed and pelvis upright (don’t tilt it forward or backward) and don’t lock your knees.
10. Lift correctly: use the largest, strongest joints to lift items, such as leg muscles, and bending at the knees instead of the waist. Rely on your arms to lift, not your hands or fingers to grip. Hold the item close to your body so your back isn’t strained.
11. Tweak your strategy when going out of the house: if you’re going somewhere new, plan ahead so you know what to expect, how long you’ll need to walk, and what facilities are available. For example, if you’re going to the movies – sit by the aisle so you can stretch your legs.
12. Start the day later: mornings can be tough with rheumatoid arthritis, so plan outings for later in the morning so your stiff joints can take their time to loosen up.
13. Dine smart when dining out: bring your own utensils if your rheumatoid arthritis affects your wrists and hands, making it hard to lift glasses or grip heavy forks and knives. Order something that doesn’t need cutting, to save your hands and wrists hurting.
14. Watch your alcohol intake: remember you need to limit or avoid alcohol if you’re taking certain medications.
15. Go easy on yourself: you may need to pare down your schedule and take time for breaks during the day. Don’t overdo it, or you could risk a flare up. Listen to your body and take it day by day.
Last but not least, pure emu oil can be used daily to manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Emu oil contains high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), antioxidants, and compounds, including: essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 & 9). These can help reduce inflammation and arthritis joint pain.