Did you know that an estimated 91 million US adults have some form of arthritis? Osteoarthritis (OA), also called “wear and tear” arthritis, is the most common. However, many others also live with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Unlike OA that comes with aging, RA is an autoimmune disease that can affect people of any age. Approximately 8 in 100,000 individuals as young as 18 to 34 years old can develop RA.
Just like osteoarthritis, though, rheumatoid arthritis isn’t curable, either. However, several remedies can help you manage RA symptoms.
We rounded up some of the top remedial treatments for RA in this guide, so be sure to read on!
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause severe joint pain and stiffness that hampers mobility. The swelling can get so bad that you may no longer want to move at all, let alone exercise.
However, physical activities can help boost your flexibility and strengthen your muscles. Improved flexibility, in turn, can enhance joint function. Stronger muscles provide more joint support, thus, helping them feel less painful.
Many studies and review analyses back up the effectiveness of exercise for RA. According to researchers, strengthening, aerobic, and water-based exercises are beneficial for RA patients.
Before you start moving, though, make sure you talk to a rheumatologist to get approval first! These are doctors who specialize in all things arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis treatments. They can determine the best types (and duration) of exercises for their RA patients.
Research shows that seven in 10 people with rheumatoid arthritis have sleep problems. They can find it hard to fall or stay asleep and experience daytime sleepiness. They also feel more pain and swelling due to a lack of quality sleep.
However, it’s important to note that your activities can also affect how you sleep.
For example, prolonged or evening screen time can hinder your body’s melatonin production. This hormone regulates sleep cycles, so a lack of it can result in sleep issues. To avoid this, turn off all your blue light-emitting devices an hour before bedtime.
If your sleeping habits don’t improve at all, talk to your doctor about natural sleep aids. Your physician may also have to prescribe sleep medications.
Warm Yourself Up
Heat therapy is one of the most effective treatments for sleep issues and pain caused by RA. For one, heat can enhance your pain tolerance and help unwind tight, taut muscles. A hot shower or bath, in turn, can make you feel more relaxed in time for bed.
Moderate Pressure Massage Therapy
People have been using massages as a natural healing and pain relief therapy for over 5,000 years now. Today, many patients rely on such treatments to help ease the pain and swelling caused by RA. It’s a common treatment mode usually administered by trained therapists.
A 2013 study found evidence that moderate pressure massages can benefit RA patients. Those who received the treatment had pain reductions only after a month of therapy. The patients also had a better range of wrist, elbow, and shoulder range of motion.
As always, be sure to get the green light from your doctor before you get a massage for your RA symptoms. Your physician may also refer you to a licensed physical therapist.
Decompress and Destress With Yoga
Studies suggest that there’s a link between stress and autoimmune diseases like RA. People dealing with stress can even have an increased risk of 41 autoimmune diseases! At the very least, stress can make your immune system go on overdrive, worsening your RA symptoms.
If you’re always stressed out, yoga may help bring your stress levels back under control. It may also help ease RA symptoms as it can help you decompress while boosting your flexibility. Researchers also say that it may aid in alleviating depression in RA patients.
Medications for More Severe RA
Many RA patients take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These OTC medications include ibuprofen and naproxen. Prescription NSAIDs, such as celecoxib, can also alleviate moderate RA pain and swelling.
Sometimes, though, RA flare-ups can be quite severe that you’d need stronger medications. In this case, your doctor might prescribe disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These medicines curb immune responses to help rheumatoid arthritis from worsening.
Leflunomide (Arava) is one of the most commonly prescribed DMARDs. Once you have a valid prescription, you can buy Arava online from a licensed pharmacy.
Your doctor may also prescribe hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) or sulfasalazine (Azulfidine). Both are popular DMARDs that can also help ease RA symptoms.
Scientists say that microorganisms in the gut play a role in RA development. It appears that the gut microbiota of people with RA is different from that of healthy people. Studies found that fixing this difference may help boost the effects of RA treatment.
Taking probiotics is one such way to resolve that difference.
Probiotics are a class of good bacteria that exert beneficial effects on the body. You’ll find them in food products like yogurt, miso, and fermented veggies like kimchi. If you’re not into any of these, you can take probiotic supplements.
Probiotics may help RA patients as these bacteria can boost immune functions. They also seem to help decrease swelling and disease activity. These good bacteria can also be beneficial for other rheumatoid diseases, such as OA.
Give These Rheumatoid Arthritis Remedies a Well-Deserved Shot
As you can see, many remedies can help keep rheumatoid arthritis under control. Exercising, getting better sleep, having a massage, and doing yoga are those you can do right at home. You can also use medications for the pain, but be sure to ask your doctor before you take anything.
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