5 Ways You Can Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

5 Ways You Can Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) isn’t easy. Chronic inflammation and joint damage often lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility throughout your body — from your feet and ankles to your wrists and hands.

RA is an autoimmune disease, and there’s no cure to stop the progressive joint damage. However, there are strategies to help you manage pain and improve your quality of life.

Working with an arthritis specialist is the best way to get a personalized care plan. If they recommend surgery to treat your RA pain, Walter D. Gracia, MD, PA, is here to help. He specializes in hand surgery for RA in Fort Worth, Texas. 

So, if you’re tired of simply dealing with the pain, here’s more information about five effective ways to manage RA.

1. Medication

One of the most common treatments for RA is taking medications to reduce inflammation and pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen are specifically formulated to relieve pain and inflammation.

Depending on your situation, you might also be a good candidate for disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), like methotrexate and sulfasalazine. These types of drugs can help slow down the progression of RA and prevent further joint damage.

2. Exercise

No matter which type of arthritis, regular exercise helps you manage symptoms and maintain joint flexibility and strength. Your doctor may recommend low-impact exercises, like swimming, cycling, and yoga, to help improve joint function without putting too much strain on your body.

Strength training exercises targeting the muscles around your joints can also help provide support and stability, reducing pain and stiffness in the long run. If you’re particularly affected by hand pain, physical therapy can give you the tools and exercises to improve hand function.

3. Hot and cold therapy

Hot and cold therapy can offer extra relief from RA pain and stiffness on particularly bad days. Your doctor may recommend applying heat to affected joints to help relax your muscles and improve blood flow. Use warm towels, heating pads, or baths to warm sore joints gently.

On the other hand, cold therapy can help numb the pain and reduce inflammation. To alleviate discomfort, you can apply cold packs or ice packs to swollen joints for 15-20 minutes at a time.

4. Dietary changes

Certain dietary changes may help alleviate RA symptoms and improve joint health. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce joint pain and stiffness.

Plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help you maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, shedding extra pounds can reduce strain on your joints and improve arthritis symptoms.

5. Hand surgery

If conservative treatment isn’t enough to relieve your RA pain, you’re not out of options. Hand surgery for RA aims to improve hand function, reduce pain, and correct deformities caused by joint erosion and inflammation — and it could be a good option for you.

As a hand surgery specialist, Dr. Gracia offers a range of procedures, including synovectomy (removal of inflamed synovial tissue), tendon repair, joint fusion, and even joint replacement. He also offers comprehensive consultations, during which he evaluates your condition and develops a treatment plan to help restore mobility and function in your hands.

Are you looking for a more effective way to manage your RA pain? It might be time to consider hand surgery. Call 817-336-9450 to book a consultation with Dr. Gracia and our team or request an appointment online today.

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