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
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
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
Learn about your doctors and medicines, and what they can do for
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.
how to use your body to protect stiff areas. This can help you stay active.
Try splints, canes,
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.
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.