Countless people suffer from chronic pain around the world, and one major cause of chronic pain is rheumatoid arthritis. Living with rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult, but by being proactive and taking the right steps, you can improve your quality of life and learn to live with the condition. Here are just a few dos and don'ts to keep in mind for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
DO: Consider physical therapy as a form of rheumatology treatment
Physical therapy is an exceedingly useful form of treatment for a number of conditions that cause chronic pain. A 2015 study published in the journal Health Services Research found that initial treatment with physical therapy results in 72% fewer costs in the year following the episode. The study compared patients who received either an MRI or physical therapy after their primary care visit. Physical therapy centers often employ professionals with specific experience with treating rheumatoid arthritis, and being able to explain your unique situation can help them to identify stretches and exercises that may be most useful to you.
DON'T: Become inactive
It can be understandable to want to lay in bed all day as a result of the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. That being said, it's important to keep your body moving, even if it's in small increments. Multiple studies have shown the benefits of the right kinds of physical activity as a viable form of rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and without this activity, your body and joints can stiffen and exacerbate the pain you're already experiencing.
DO: Frequent heat and cold treatments
Heat and cold treatments are an effective form of arthritis pain, albeit temporary. Consider investing in a heating pad to ease aching joints, but don't use it for more than 20 minutes at a time. Hot showers can also help to relieve pain temporarily. Similarly, ice packs can relieve inflammation and pain after a session of physical activity.
DON'T: Neglect oral hygiene
It may sound surprising, but multiple studies have confirmed a correlation between rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and poor oral hygiene. Brushing after every meal and prior to bedtime minimizes the risk of your oral hygiene being a trigger for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Ultimately, being aware of these dos and don'ts can help you live your best life. Don't hesitate to contact a physical therapist for more information about rheumatology treatments.