I AM taking medication for rheumatoid arthritis and was wondering what else I can do to manage this condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects about one in every 100 Australians and tends to run in families, yet the exact cause is unknown. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure. There are treatments that may reduce damage to joints and lessen the disability and discomfort and practical strategies that will help.
Exercise — helps maintain muscle strength, joint flexibility and manage pain. Low-impact aerobic activities including hydrotherapy, cycling and walking and activities such as strength training and tai chi are also beneficial.
Physiotherapy and occupational therapy — experts can provide advice on activity modification, managing pain, support devices and prescribe an exercise program to keep your joints mobile and strong.
Rest — important when your joints are swollen.
Nutrition — there is no specific diet for people with rheumatoid arthritis but it is important to have a healthy, balanced eating plan to maintain general health and prevent weight gain, which increases the load on joints.
Complementary therapies — massage or acupuncture may be helpful. Supplements such as fish oil, which contains omega-3, and curcumin (turmeric) may be helpful. Consult your doctor or rheumatologist before any treatment.