Tips on coping with RA

April 10, 2011 at 8:29 am | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 3 Comments
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Someone just posted a request on tips for coping with RA on the NRAS Healthunlocked site that I mentioned previously, so I thought I’d ‘cross-post’ mine here, although I’ll add to them a bit because I didn’t want to hog the post on that site!

Not saying all these will work for everyone, it’s just what works for me!

  • Make sure you take all your tabs and don’t be afraid to use pain relief too! You’re not proving anything by struggling through without paracetamol (or whatever). I also have a wax bath for my hands when I need it, a TENS machine and a front-fastening neck brace. Hardly ever have to use any of them but they’re there if I need them! (So long as I remember I have them!)
  • PACE YOURSELF. It’s not good saying, ‘I’m just going to battle through with my usual routine’ because that’ll just make things worse. On the other hand, to stay positive I definitely don’t get into the thought pattern of ‘I mustn’t plan anything in advance, because RA might get in the way.’ Yes, it might, and it often does, but you still have to make plans and have things to look forward to.
  • ACCEPT HELP! – but at the same time make sure to stay independent as much as you can. So for instance I make sure I get referrals to physio when I need them and go and nag the doc if I need to. And make sure I don’t turn away offers of help from good friends and colleagues. But at the same time I won’t just sit about and let people run around after me when I feel fine – tempting though it might be sometimes!
  • TREAT YOUR FRIENDS RIGHT: I don’t think you can’t spend all the time moaning to your friends or they start thinking, ‘Where’s the Penguin I used to know? I don’t like this one!’ On the other hand, a REAL friend will at least listen when things are really bad, offer to help and MEAN it! If they don’t do that, then perhaps they’re not real friends anyway! They expect the same thing in return of course. If they don’t it then you’re not a real friend either!
  • In my case I’m extremely lucky to have a wonderful hubby who, bizarrely, enjoys housework, so that’s one big burden taken away from me! I’d recommend a house-work loving partner to anyone with RA but I guess they’re pretty rare!
  • SLEEP! Really make sure that you get enough sleep if you possibly can, and if you need to then try a herbal or a prescription sleeping thing, because getting enough sleep makes everything else better!
  • I strongly suspect that one could help oneself by being tidy and having a place for everything and everything in its place. This would negate the need to try to kneel down and search under the bed with bad knees, and then find whatever it is isn’t there anyway … However, as I’m the messiest person I know and was doing just that scrabbling under the bed thing only yesterday, I can’t put that in as a personal recommendation really!

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  1. perfect timing for this post for me…

    my DH says i get an A+ in cooking and a D- in cleaning…. LOL
    I told him it’s a good thing he’s an A+ hubby!!! He too does a lot of the housework “just because”… mainly he likes a clean rug etc..

    Now to my point… i have gained a lot of weight lately… (yes, i’ve been eating more)… but it’s come on so fast and my feet and legs are so swollen.. not something i’m used to…. i’m really new to this RA thing… this is different from the “flare” that diagnosed me.. i guess i’m wondering how i tell the difference between an RA problem and a regular issue.. ie.. just plain arthritis, or stiffness… my hips and feet are giving me problems, but don’t have the “lip biting” pain that i thought was RA…. yes i’m taking my meds as directed..
    So any feedback would be helpful… the things i notice most are not at all in the pain dept… very tired sometimes.. and a bit blue… is this normal… Sorry to by a B ch..but would love to get an opinion from a fellow RA girl… thanks for listening…

    And thank you for all your posts… they really help… be well all.. hugs Barbara

  2. I reckon I’d probably get a B+ in cooking and a D- in cleaning so you’re winning!

    Really swollen feet and legs sounds more like water retention than anything else to me – not that I’m any kind of expert. Weight gain and/or water retention could both be med related so worth mentioning to the docs! Certainly tiredness is a part of it, and being blue is normal to my mind when you’ve been diagnosed with a rotten thing like RA, although I don’t think it’s ‘part of’ RA in the same way that tiredness and pain are. Are you sleeping? Because lack of sleep will make you feel low as well as tired! You really need to see your doc because all sorts of things COULD be part of RA but might be something else entirely, so best to get it checked out!!

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  3. Ooh this is brilliant, excellent advice for many chronic cr*pnesses and easy to lose sight of. I will make sure to learn it off by heart!


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