Improve Your Body
Keeping up with your RA treatment is necessary to give your body the best chance to do well. Attend all appointments with questions and feedback for your doctors. More information from you helps them understand your condition more fully.
In terms of medication, be as consistent as you can to ensure the best efficacy. If you take medication without reliability, it will be challenging to know if it is doing its job. Try taking the same medication at the same time daily to build routines for your body.
Mix Hot and Cold
Listen to what your body is telling you. If you can treat your daily pain before it becomes too overwhelming, you can get more done today and tomorrow. Sometimes you will need the coldest ice pack your freezer can create and other occasions only heat will do.
Experiment and seek feedback from the experts to know which is best for you at a given time. A hot bath or a cool shower may be ways to integrate the hot and cold into your daily routine.
Eat for Health
Focus on lean meats and vegetables while paying attention to what your body is telling you along the way.
If certain foods increase your symptoms, you want to be aware. Try to have fish twice a week for the Omega-3s. Increase the soy, olive oil, citrus, cherries and milk in your daily diet. Focus on foods full of vitamins and nutrients that reduce inflammation and improve bone health.
Before you discount the idea of exercise because your body is not up for the task, consider the range of exercises available to you.
Stretches are simple enough for anyone to learn and people with RA can do these routinely. Running a marathon might be out of the question, but swimming is a great low impact aerobic exercise. Even weight training can strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints to decrease the pain.
Try different types. You have so much to gain.
Improve Your Mind
Chronic pain is highly related to mental health issues. As pain gets worse, so does depression and anxiety. As depression and anxiety increase, so does pain. Want to think and feel better? Here’s how:
Change Your Thinking
Your thoughts have a profound impact on how you feel and how you experience pain. If you are pessimistically thinking that RA has ruined your life and you can never be happy again, you won't be.
Pay attention to the thoughts that feed into depression and spin them around. This is called reframing. In reframing, you take the depressing thought and find some way to turn it into a positive. If you are stumped, ask a trusted friend. Work to use the RA as motivation to work harder to maintain and improve your life.
If you experience more anxious symptoms than depression, relaxation is essential for improvement. Finding new ways to relax your mind will help you relax your body. When your body is tense, you will likely have more pain in your joints.
Research relaxations like autogenic training, guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation to get the calm mind and body you are looking for.
If you tried the above tips and they worked well, you might be a good candidate for therapy. Therapists are helpful professions full of great tools for a variety of symptoms. They can take the above tips and expand them to other parts of your life or zero in with more precision to tackle a tricky thought.
Therapists can also tailor relaxation techniques to your specific needs. Search for a therapist with a holistic approach, meaning that she understands the connection between mind and body. A healthy mind in a healthy body is always the goal. Remember that coping with RA is a lot like the grief and mourning process. A therapist can help move you from shock to acceptance.
Don’t let yourself fall into the hole of negative coping skills. They only cover up your problems in the short-term before creating new and different problems.
By using the positive coping with rheumatoid arthritis skills of reducing the negatives, improving your body and improving your mind, RA will not be the end. It will be the beginning of something great.