Rheumatoid arthritis is lupus' evil twin

Lupus isn't the only autoimmune disorder that attacks its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic inflammatory disorder that effects the small joints in your hands and feet. The immune system generally serves the body by fighting off infection. Those who suffer from autoimmune disorders are at great risk of other infections because the their immune system is attacking itself. RA, like lupus, can cause joint problems and damage to other organs.

Rheumatoid arthritis was once looked upon as a disorder that affected the elderly. According to the Mayo Clinic, RA can occur at any age. Those who are past 40 years of age are at risk, although the disorder is more common in women than men. There are no cures for RA and other autoimmune disorders. However, there are various ways to control symptoms and prevent joint damage.

First and foremost, consult your doctor before starting any pain relief plan. If you are diagnosed with RA, it is more than likely you're prescribed traditional medications to control your pain and symptoms. Some people prefer to take the holistic approach to healing. Even so, you have to take caution using different plant and fish oils as they may interfere with some medicines.

Exercise has been proven to relieve pain. A physical therapist is one who would prescribe what method of exercise is beneficial for you. Yoga and Tai chi are great ways to relieve pain and stress. You have to be careful not to do moves that would cause pain. The Mayo Clinic suggests these lifestyle and home remedies, used in conjunction with medications:

  • Exercise regularly. Gentle exercise can help strengthen the muscles around your joints.
  • Apply heat or cold. Heat can help ease your pain and relax tense and painful muscles. Cold may dull the sensation of pain and has a numbing effect.
  • Relax. Relaxation is the key to reducing pain. It reduces the stress in your life. Not having adequate rest causes tension, leading to pin. Simple breathing exercises relaxes your muscles, decreasing your pain.

If you're like me, relaxing is tough, especially when you're caring for dependent children and running a household. There are 24 hours in a day, so I have to carve out a space and time that works best for me. My most relaxing time is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. These techniques are great for those without RA, for the person who over exert themselves having an injury. Whatever the case, these techniques are the foundation of creating a peaceful atmosphere in your life.

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Filed under: Lupus

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