Covers creating and following a plan to help manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Discusses early treatment with exercise and medicine to limit joint damage. Includes tips for coping with chronic joint pain, fatigue, and stiffness.
Arthritis: Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
Living with rheumatoid arthritis can mean living with chronic pain,
fatigue, and joint stiffness. Thousands of people have benefited from
developing and following plans to help them manage their symptoms. You and your
doctor can create a medical treatment plan that may include
medicine and other therapies. Early medical treatment can help you avoid
disabling joint changes and chronic pain.
Besides following your
medical treatment plan, there are several steps you can take to maintain your
normal life and activities. This is often called self-management. The first
Learning as much as you can about rheumatoid
Learning ways to reduce joint pain, fatigue, and
Taking an active role in managing your rheumatoid
Understand your arthritis
Learn about your body and what is happening to
it with rheumatoid arthritis.
Learn about your doctors, the recommended medicines, and what they can do for
Find out what can improve your health, such as losing weight
or starting a flexibility
Learn how to cope with chronic pain, fatigue, and stiffness
Experiment and learn what can help you feel
better and what makes things worse. Some people can write without pain while
others can't, and the same goes for walking and aerobics and other physical tasks or activities.
basic skills, such as ways to use your body that protect stiff areas, that will
help you continue activities.
Explore the use of splints, canes,
assistive devices that can help you avoid discomfort
while staying active.
Take an active role in managing your arthritis
Gather information about rheumatoid arthritis
and the steps you can take to stay active.
Work with your team of
doctors, friends, and family to set up a self-management
Set goals to practice your coping and strengthening skills
and incorporate these goals into your life.
Follow through with
your self-management plan on a day-to-day basis.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.