Introduction

Rheumatoid arthritis can mean living with long-term (chronic) pain,
fatigue, and joint stiffness. Many people benefit from plans
to help them manage their symptoms. You and your
doctor can create a plan that may include
medicine and other treatments. Early treatment can help you avoid
disabling joint changes and chronic pain.

You also can do things to maintain your
normal life and activities. To start, try to:

  • Learn as much as you can about rheumatoid
    arthritis.
  • Learn ways to cope with your symptoms.
  • Take an active role in managing your arthritis.

How do you manage your rheumatoid arthritis?

Learn about your arthritis

  • Learn about your body and what is happening to
    it.
  • Learn about your doctors and medicines, and what they can do for
    you.
  • Find out what can improve your health, such as losing weight
    or starting an
    exercise program to be more flexible.

Learn how to cope with your symptoms

  • Find out what helps you feel
    better and what feels worse. Some people can write without pain. Others can’t. That’s also true for walking and other tasks and activities.
  • Learn
    how to use your body to protect stiff areas. This can help you stay active.
  • Try splints, canes,
    and other
    assistive devices. These also can help you stay active.

Take an active role in managing your arthritis

  • Learn how to stay active with this type of arthritis.
  • Work with your
    doctors, friends, and family to set up a plan to care for yourself.
  • Set goals to practice your coping skills. These can include learning ways to feel stronger.
  • Follow your self-care plan every day.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD – Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH – Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

Current as ofOctober 10, 2017